Blog Entry

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

Posted on: February 5, 2010 2:01 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2010 1:26 pm
Welcome to A-mike's Dolphi-holics Anonymous, the place where Dol-fans come together to celebrate the Miami Dolphins and share our dislike of the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and the Buffalo Bills(of Toronto). A place where we care about you and more importantly, the Miami Dolphins, but still care about you.

As you may or may not know, the Player's Association and the NFL are working on this Collective Bargaining Agreement that is set to expire in May 2011. What you might not know is what this means to everyone who doesn't care about the business side of Football. Basically, if they don't work something out, there will be no NFL in 2011. Also, and more importantly, it means that the lack of a new CBA agreement by this upcoming 2010 free agency could mean that players having 6 or more accumulated seasons played for one team that are becoming a restricted free agent can now become an unrestricted free agent instead. Although, there are certain contracts that have stipulations based on playing time and productivity that ends up equaling out to that 6 or more seasons unrestricted uncapped season rule. This could end up being a huge part of the free agency period. But what does all this business jumbo schmumbo mean to the Miami Dolphins? Well, it could end up meaning everything, even a very realistic Super Bowl push come 2012 in my opinion. But why is that?

Well, if you keep up with the NFL rumors like I do, you would know that Denver Broncos' Right Outside Linebacker, Elvis Dumervil, is likely going to be one of those possible unrestricted free agents based on his playing time and productivity. Dumervil led the NFL with 17 sacks and had a solid 42 tackles. He had the lowest tackles of the 4 starting linebackers for the Broncos last season, but that was only the case as DJ Williams led with 122 tackles and between him, Andra Davis, and Mario Haggan, they averaged 92 tackles each. People question how the Broncos could give up such a "dynamo" as Dumervil, but it might not be as hard as many think. Dumervil is expecting top player money and the Broncos haven't been the kind of team to dish out a lot of money. And definitely not when they have a good replacement ready in the wings. That player is standout Tennessee DE/OLB Robert Ayers in whom they drafted last April. He didn't have that great of a season, but having rookie struggles with the defensive scheme and playing only marginal minutes played into that. That defensive scheme was run by 3-4 guru Mike Nolan. And as of January 19, 2010, Mike Nolan was hired by the Miami Dolphins to become our new Defensive Coordinator. This was arguably Elvis Dumervil's best season and I can bet my left leg that Dumervil personally attributes his success to the new scheme that Nolan put in place when he was hired last season by the Broncos. It is strongly believed that Dumervil will wish to follow Nolan to Miami as long as Miami is willing to pay him to play. The Dolpins have the money and are very willing to have him. They would love to sign him as an unrestricted free agent instead of having to give up picks through a trade or as a restricted free agent. But I will go out on a limb and say that Elvis Dumervil will be a Miami Dolphin next season. But what does that mean for Joey Porter and Jason Taylor?

Well, I don't know about you, but Dumervil is certainly a much better 3-4 OLB than an aging Jason Taylor and an aging, disgruntled, big mouthed Joey Porter. Although, I still like Jason Taylor as a player, I think he can play in our 3-4 and doesn't get taken advantage of as many players his age do while doing so. Now, if the Dolphins release Joey Porter soon(as they definitely are, we'd like to trade him though, I just don't see that happening given his age and off the field comments), I wouldn't mind them keeping Jason Taylor on a 1-year deal while we develop a younger player to replace him. I don't think I would want Taylor playing every down so I would pair him with a great 5th linebacker in Cameron Wake. Wake was a rookie last year, but only a technical rookie since he went to the CFL for a couple seasons and is actually 28 years old. But I think they should have a timeshare set in place between them while they work on some rookie they were to get somewhere in the late 3rd to early 5th rounds of the upcoming draft. Why not just draft a great 3-4 OLB in the 1st two rounds?

Well, to be honest, there's not really any top notch 3-4 OLBs in this upcoming draft. You can argue a case for a few players, but they're not really ideal or they might need some work. Well if you have to work on a player, they don't justify being picked in the 1st two rounds. You can surely acquire a better prototypical 3-4 OLB in one of the later rounds, but they probably won't be able to produce much in their rookie year. With that said, the Dolphins are being projected to draft Alabama's Rolando McClain, also known as the best middle linebacker in the upcoming draft, with this year's 1st round draft pick(12th overall). Even though I hate Nick Saban like many Dolphin fans do, I had to admit that McClain was a great player. He's very intelligent on the field and doesn't ever hurt himself by being out of position and can make a play like no one's business. They say that he's the QB of the defense and they have tape of him aligning other Alabama teammates into position, calling audibles, and setting matchups between teammates and the other teams offensive players. And that's not even adding his great feel for where the ball is and how physical he is at the point of attack. Even if he wasn't so good during the play, the Miami Dolphins had been lacking that kind of intelligence on the defensive side of the ball, so he'd easily be a huge plus. With McClain playing ILB aside current Dolphins ILB, Channing Crowder, the Dolphins will no longer be caught out of position as much as we were last season, mostly due to Crowder's overly-physical play(probably from the lack of another talented ILB). But having Elvis Dumervil(ROLB), Channing Crowder(RILB), Rolando McClain(LILB), and Jason Taylor/Cameron Wake(LOLB) would be quite an impressive and amazing LB core. But what about the rest of the defense?

Now add that LB core with the news that the Miami Dolphins are the preferred destination for soon to be released FS Antrel Rolle(due to the Cardinals not wanting to pay his 6.5 million roster bonus for next year) and you have a great pass coverage free safety teaming with the Dolphins current Pro Bowl run covering strong safety in Yeremiah Bell. Those safeties combined with the improvement of CB's, Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, who are two of the more promising upcoming cornerbacks and you have an impressing secondary as well. With the continued great play of our defensive line and you have the makings of what could be the best defense in the league. But what about the Dolphins' offense and lack of star receivers?

Even if the Dolphins don't go after Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, or even a free agent wide receiver...They will be getting back a healthy Ronnie Brown and will be continuing the development of Chad Henne, which will be a part of an offense that can at least score more than what that projected defense will allow in a game. Analyists and other team's fans say that our offense(outside of the wildcat and our running game) is awful and that our receivers aren't any good at all. I recently found out that's a big lie, for the most part at least. The Dolphins offense is run around, well, the run. Then comes the wildcat. And after that, you have the passing game that, from a lack of top receivers, would be best described as a spread offense. With that said, I think we had a great receiving season as a team. Proof for that? The three TE's we used last year in a timeshare(Anthony Fason, David Martin, and Joey Haynos) combined to have the following stats: 81 receptions, 951 yards, and 7 touchdowns. That's Pro Bowl numbers by the way. Our four receivers(Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Ted Ginn Jr, and Greg Camarillo) combined for: 195 receptions, 2270 yards, and 6 touchdowns. That's not the worst receiving corps in the league, not by far. Davone Bess was our best receiver going for 76 receptions, 758 yards, and 2 touchdowns. What we don't have is a big red zone target. The only receiver that could be that is Patrick Turner, but he didn't make it onto the field at all last season. But he has the build for what we are missing at 6-5 and 220 lbs. I think a good training camp performance from Turner could be what we would gain from an Anquan Boldin or a Brandon Marshall, because we clearly have the receiving necessary to be competitive at a high level. Sure, our current WR corps isn't going to strike fear into teams, but I think not having any particular player be the star WR on the Dolphins against the AFC East is actually going to be a good thing. My big point for that is, "who gets stuck on Revis Island when Darrelle Revis doesn't even know who to cover all game?", and it's a valid point. How can you cover an entire team when all our receivers are capable of producing? There's always going to be someone open, as long as our receivers keep improving and realize that they all need to be on their game come Sundays(and sometimes Thursdays and Mondays).

Now if the CBA isn't decided on by May 2011, then there will be a lockout in the NFL for what would be an entire season at that point. Meaning that there won't be football until 2012. This could be huge for younger teams like the Dolphins and be devastating for teams with older players. The Dolphins would probably lose "Sticky Ricky" Ricky Williams(replaceable), Yeremiah Bell(replaceable), and Jason Ferguson(replaceable). Other teams may be losing much more prolific starters at that point. Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Darren Sharper, Randy Moss, Hines Ward, Terrel Owens, Ed Reed, and MANY offensive and defensive lineman are in their mid 30's or would be players you could see retiring after a lockout year. You don't get any younger after an off-year and you might just like that off-time. These older players very possibly retiring could make way for younger teams to surpass them.

But I'm really excited to see how the next couple months play out. And my sign out for Dolphi-holics Anonymous is, "Thank you for attending Dolphi-holics Anonymous, where we care about you and most importantly, the Miami Dolphins."

Category: NFL

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2010 2:41 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

You may be right about the elite playoff winners having elite receiving talent, but I'm not giving the Dolphins the chance to make the Super Bowl next year. Hopefully the playoffs are a reasonable goal, but I think with the possibility of a lockout looming, the Dolphins are best suited treating this year as an experience gaining, piece building season. Basically, they need to get all the pieces necessary to make a very good run deep into the playoffs come 2012. As for the #1 WR, you're right, the Dolphins don't have that guy and I agreed with you in my original report. The Dolphins have Patrick Turner, but I doubt he has the drive of a Marques Colston to improve his game to an elite level. With that said, I do believe and have always believed that the Dolphins are going after Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin. From all the rumors I have heard, sounds like the Dolphins are the ones pursuing Boldin the strongest. We're currently offering a 3rd round pick for Boldin, which at 9th overall(in the 3rd round) would sound pretty enticing to a team who already has excellent receiving talent with Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet. But should the Cards sway back and forth on giving up Mr. Boldin, I do see the Dolphins giving up that 3rd round pick and possibly one of their three 6th round picks to persuade them into giving him up. The Cardinals definitely need a lot of picks this year with the losses of soon to be released unrestricted free agent FS Antrel Rolle, unrestricted free agent 3-4 MLB Karlos Dansby, retired future Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner, and retired DE Bertrand Berry. That's a lot of holes to fill, so they'll listen to the offer I proposed. But when everything is said and done, I do see the Dolphins getting Anquan Boldin. If they don't, the only two receivers they would consider is Dez Bryant or Arellius Benn(earlier WR selections in the draft). ESPN Draft "gurus" Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. both say the Dolphins will be going after Dexter McCluster with their 2nd round pick. I'll be honest here and say that I'm not big on McCluster, his game play is just a faster version of Davone Bess and Ted Ginn, just from either the RB or WR positions. Drafting McCluster would just continue the "McClusterfuck" receiving corps the Dolphins already have. Hopefully they shy away from McCluster and pursue a NT in the second round, if that even exists at that point, the NT defensive tackles are really thin in this draft. But to address the other rookie receivers you mentioned, Notre Dame's Golden Tate and Texas' Jordan Shipley... Golden Tate projects to be a Laverneus Coles type and Jordan Shipley is simply a bigger Wes Welker slot receiver in the NFL. While they both had outstanding numbers, they both played with two of the 3 best QBs in college football in Jimmy "Small Hands" Clausen and Colt "Coolest Football Name of this Generation" McCoy. Golden Tate would be an okay choice, just not that elite WR you were talking about.

About Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos put a tender offer of around 4 million and a price of a 1st and a 3rd round in order to sign him, thus making him pretty hard to get. This will come down to how much Mike Nolan like Cameron Wake at this point, and from recent reports I've heard, it sounds like Mikey likes it lol. I also like Cameron Wake, he fits the 3-4 OLB bill with his size and use of hands, but he played in the CFL most of his career and will be turning 29 this next season. Now that could simply mean he didn't have what it took before and now he's ready. I'm thinking he's ready and will show that the Dolphins don't need Jason Taylor anymore. Like I said, I'd like to keep Jason Taylor so the Patriots don't sign him, but football is becoming 2 parts business, 1 part football nowadays. With Cameron Wake taking an OLB position, the Dolphins will have to find a starting OLB to put opposite of Wake. From the draft or from a trade, it should be interesting to see what the Dolphins do this Friday and into the summer.

Since: Mar 2, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2010 12:50 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

Wow, excellent excellent report... I loved the in depth analysis, and am happy to say I agree with MOST of what you have said....  I have a few suggestions on the needs area:

WR/TE/Receiving as a whole:  This is the one GLARING weakness in our team tbh.  Frankly put, it's great that we have 3 TEs that get us good numbers... but where's that one GAME CHANGER... Let's take a look at the past 5 years of the Super Bowl Champs shall we?
1)Saints - Jeremy Shockey/Marques Colston - 1 guy who showed up in the playoffs, and one guy who may be one of the least heard of, but best WRs in the league
2)Steelers - Heath Miller/Santurdio Holmes/Hinez Ward - Solid combo, way better then ours...
3)Giants - Plaxico Burress/Amani Toomer/Kevin Boss - 2 greats, and one highly underated TE
4)Colts - If I have to tell you, you shouldn't even like the NFL
5)Steelers - Hines Ward, Hines Ward, Hines Ward - this is the exception to the rule, but 1 guy made that team, and took a rookie QB under his wing to get them all the way.

If the Dolphins don't go after that #1 WR in FA, then be prepared for another season of mediocrity phinphans... We have to make a move, and with so many players INTERESTED in coming to us, then we should make our mark, and get 1-2 franchise guys
Players of interest IMO:  Same WR's you mentioned, but I'll add these Rookies : Dez Bryant, Arellius Benn, Golden Tate, Jordan Shipley.  TE's of mention, and it's a GREAT FA MARKET FOR EM... Owen Daniels, Tony Scheffler, Leonard Pope

Loved your eval of the defence, and really couldn't agree with you more.  Antrel Roller would be HUGE for this team, as would a roleplayer like Elvis Dummervill.  However, don't give up on our guy Cameron Wake.  There's a reasone the staff liked this guy, and with some tweaking, he could be the real deal.

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 4:25 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

Well, there is Bengals Kicker, Shayne Graham, he's too much of a pansy to do anything illegal. And if he did, it would probably just be some lame white collar crime like tax evasion(see Wesley Snipes). Speaking of White Collar crimes, you can check out all new episodes of the hit show White Collar starting Tuesday, February 23rd on USA. "Characters Welcome" lol.

Since: Jul 17, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2010 4:18 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

My team, the Bengals, should be unaffected by this CBA crap. No one wants our players even if they want to leave. Only the Cops have our guys on a wanted list.

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2010 7:58 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

Oh my mistake, I must have mixed it up. That can easily be explained cause all the back and forth on ESPN about this, no one has said it so clearly as you put it. While it's harder for those 8 teams, it won't be as hard for the rest of the league. As the Dolphins are releasing Joey Porter, they have the money to get players(6 million just from releasing Porter). While the restricted status on Dumervil means he will require picks to get, I can't reason that the Broncos would put a high tender offer up on him for other teams to beat. I'm going to assume they'll just try to trade him in order to get some value back. Before Nolan came to Denver, Dumervil was regarded as a bust. I can't imagine that they'll be willing to risk it with a new D-coordinator instead of going with their highly-toted heir Robert Ayers. I just think there's too much playing into a sign and trade or a trade before that, to think that they'll just outright keep him. You know he's going to ask for top-OLB money. And history shows the Broncos aren't as willing as most teams to pay that kind of top money. Between the 4 rumored players that the Dolphins are pursuing, I'd say that Antrel Rolle is the most likely(90%), but Dumervil has to be second(70%). I really doubt they'll get Anquan Boldin OR Brandon Marshall. The Cardinals don't have to trade Boldin and the Broncos don't have to trade Marshall, they could just as easily keep them or wait till they get their 2nd and 1st round picks respectively. The Dolphins aren't willing to offer that high of a pick for either player. We would go for Boldin if he was to be had at a 3rd round value, which is what they offered earlier this week. The Cards are mulling it over, but I think a 2nd will materialize in the upcoming weeks from the Jets possibly. But Dumervil should be a 2nd-3rd round pick if he was to be traded, which I strongly believe the Dolphins would consider given the relationship between Dumervil and Mike Nolan. You don't give up a player you liked when you were the coach of that player's former team, if he's available at a reasonable price. (Rex Ryan: Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, soon to be former Patriots OLB Adalius Thomas.) My strongest point for why he'll be a Dolphin is the Broncos cheap-attitude towards players they aren't completely sure won't be a star(Champ Bailey as opposed to Clinton Portis) and to quote a cereal commerical slogan, "Mikey likes it." lol.

Since: Jul 2, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2010 1:19 pm

CBA's and Free Agencies and Drafts! Oh my!

you have the free agency rules backwards.  players are usually eligible for unrestricted free agency after 3 years of accumulated service time.  The uncapped year would lengthen that time to 6 years.  That means guys like Elvis Dumervil who would have been an unrestricted free agent is now going to be a restricted free agent.  That will make it harder for him to be signed not easier.  The same holds true for guys like Shawne Merriman and Logan Mankins who would have been unrestricted free agents.  Another factor that will likely come into play in this uncapped season (as I don't think a deal is going to get done before this season), is that the top 8 teams the Colts, Saints, Jets, Vikings, Ravens, Bengals, Cardinals, and Cowboys will be limited in what they can spend in free agency.  They can only spend the amount on free agents that equals the value of the contracts signed by players they lose.  In summary, the uncapped year makes it less likely that a guy like Elvis Dumervil would end up on your team not more likely.

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