Saturday, March 3, 2007

Miami: Wheelin' and Dealin'

While Miami has yet to make its first free agent signing, the front office is making it clear that the team will certainly be undergoing an extreme makeover. Thus far, the front office has been content to shed expensive and under-achieving players while not making the mistake of overpaying for mediocre talent in free agency.

Along the offensive line the team has either cut ties with or not re-signed LG Jeno James, LT Damion McIntosh, RG Seth McKinney, G Bennie Anderson, G Kendyl Jacox, and G Toniu Fonoti.

On the defensive line, the team cut ties with DE Kevin Carter and DT Kevin Vickerson, and it has not re-signed DE David Bowens, DT Keith Traylor, or DT Jeff Zgonina. The clearly apparent youth-movement continued along the defensive line when the team traded DT Dan Wilkinson to the Denver Broncos for their 6th-round pick (183rd overall) in April's Draft. I think it's great that the front office was able to get some value for a player that the team was likely to cut. Rebuilding must be conducted through the draft, so this is a good sign that the team is making every effort to stockpile some draft picks.


Miami is trying to acquire another draft pick by placing TE Randy McMichael on the trading block. Miami is asking for a third-round pick in return. While McMichael is the most prolific TE in Miami history, I think it would be a good move to trade him for a third-round pick. He's a good pass-catching TE, but he just seems to disappear at the most important times and he drops an inordinate amount of passes. Add to that the fact that he is sub-par in the blocking department, and it would seem that getting a first-day pick would be a smart move. Cam Cameron uses the TE heavily in his offenses, so if he deems that McMichael is not able to fulfill that role then I trust his decision.

All this being said, Miami would be losing one of its few offensive leaders. Yet, I think McMichael's leadership role says a bit more about the rest of the offense than about Randy. Generally, the QB is expected to be the leader of the offense or maybe a star RB or WR. In a few cases, a guy like Tony Gonzalez is able to step into a leadership role, but Randy is no T-Gon. Unfortunately, with the revolving door at QB, a young RB, and a quiet WR in Chambers, Randy was probably the only one willing to be a leader. That must change. Regardless of whether the team parts ways with Randy, this offense needs a true leader - a guy who doesn't disappear in tight spots and who can influence everyone else on the field.


As a Dolphins fan who lives in New England, this next piece of news is extremely disheartening to me. According to ESPN, the Patriots plan to sign WR Wes Welker to a restricted free agent offer sheet. Once New England makes their offer, Miami will have seven days to match it. If Miami matches the offer sheet, they will pay Welker according to the terms that New England negotiated with him. If they choose not to match the offer, Miami will receive the Patriots' second-round pick in the 2007 draft.

I am a huge fan of Wes. Aside from lacking great physical size, he has everything you could ask for in a team player. He plays with heart on every single down, he has unparalleled toughness, and his versatility is tremendous. Seeing him leave to any team would be disheartening, but realistically a second-round pick is probably more helpful to the team. The fact that it's the Pats who may be getting him is the worst of all situations. They already have two first-round picks, so losing a second-round pick will not hurt them that much. Also, they will be taking away one of Miami's better players, which is addition-by-addition as well as addition-by-subtraction from a division rival. I've seen enough Pats games to know that Welker is exactly the kind of player that would thrive in New England. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done. While not gladly, I would accept a second-round pick from any other team in return for Welker. That second-rounder just doesn't seem to be worth as much when it's coming from the Pats.

And if possibly getting Welker wasn't enough, the Pats also signed RB Sammy Morris. Hopefully, Ricky Williams will be reinstated and able to back-up Ronnie Brown.

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