WR Jarvis Landry
I keep seeing things like “He’s going to cost too much, we shouldn’t pay him more than $10M per year” and many sentiments similar to that. I have to say, I completely disagree. We finally got a draft pick right. Landry performed from the word go. No need for patience with the rookie, give him a few years to develop, he’s still learning, maybe he doesn’t practice well, blah blah blah. Hell no, this kid had it from the start, and never stopped. 400 receptions in 4 years. Is that not production? Some will point to the fact that his YPC average is really low. Ya think!! Is it his fault he catches most of his passes near the LOS? He’s doing what he’s being asked to do. He was targeted 570 times! Is there another player on this team we want to target that much? Is there another player on this team that will be on the field enough to get that many targets? The guy catches just about everything thrown to him, and the biggest knock on the kid is that he doesn’t score TD’s. Well, this year he scored 9 TD’s, which is truly elite. Only WR’s DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams at 13 and 10 respectively, and TE Jimmy Graham TE, who also had 10 TD’s caught more TD’s than Landry.
Landry scoring 9 TD’s is pretty remarkable, because this kid scores TD’s differently than Kenny Stills, who is usually wide open because he blew past the DB. Landry will catch the ball on a screen, or over the middle, and have to tear through, around and over a bunch of defenders most of his trips to the end zone. He’s relentless after the catch, he fights tooth and nail for every yard. Is he perfect? His enthusiasm and competitiveness sometimes get the best of him. You know what? I’ll take a player like that over a guy who just goes through the motions and collects paychecks every day of the week. Like I said, we finally NAILED a draft pick, and it’s hilarious that I hated the pick from the beginning. Chalk that up to my ignorance of what kind of player Landry is. He’s an emotional player, a leader by example, and I love the way he plays the game. Yes, he needs to cut down on penalties, but again, fiery competitors walk that fine line, but possibly as he matures, he can tame his bad decisions. I think we have to sign Landry, it would be a damn shame to let a guy that has actually produced, and produced in spades for our team, when we have so many that haven’t done 1/2 of what Landry has done, and that’s the real problem. It’s not paying a lot of money for the guys who deserve it, it’s paying a lot of money, or maybe even average money for guys who don’t. He’s not the problem, Landry is part of the solution. If you feel like we can’t cut Suh, then you have to feel like we must re-sign Jarvis Landry. Of course, it’s going to come down to $$$, as it always does, and be a combination of how much Miami is willing to allocate to the WR position and a slot receiver, and how much Jarvis Landry is willing to work with Miami and compromise, and how much another team is willing to fork over for one of the most productive WR’s in the game. RE-SIGN
RT Ja’Wuan James
I remember the 2014 NFL draft very well. Dennis Hickey (The Silver Fox) was our GM, and man, we needed help on the O-line, because we always need help on the O-line. This pick I had nailed down right for once in my life. Many experts said Ja’Wuan James was a 2nd RD pick, but I knew when #19 rolled around, we were taking James. His first season in 2014 was pretty impressive. In case you forgot, James was our starting RT from Game 1, until LT Branden Albert went down for the year with a knee injury, and James slid over to the LT spot for the rest of the season, and amazingly, did so with great success. As you all know, it’s not an easy task to ask any player to switch sides on the O-line, especially OT’s, and James was a rookie. The knock on James, and it’s legitimate, is that he has played only 2 full seasons, his rookie season in ’14, and again in ’16, but James missed 9 games in 2015 with a toe injury, and then a hamstring injury this past season forced him to miss 8 games.
To further complicate the issue, the Dolphins had picked up James’ 5th year option last year, and it’s a somewhat hefty price tag. Not outrageous for a quality OT, which I believe James is, but you can’t call him a durable one. James is owed $9.34M next season, but if they cut him before June, they don’t take any cap hit at all. If they cut him past June, Miami would absorb his full salary towards the cap. It won’t be an easy decision, but like Landry, I think we got this one right. James is a good, not great OT, but when he’s healthy, he’s a guy that you set and forget. Personally, I hope they rip up that contract, and sign him to a new deal that’s more cap friendly, because I’d hate to let go of our own players, especially young talented players. You know how Dolphins fans lament that we have no one on the roster for far too many draft classes when Jeff Ireland was here, so why work towards that end? RE-SIGN
OC Mike Pouncey
It’s hard to think of letting a Pro Bowl caliber OL go from a team that is struggling to piece together a solid O-line in what seems like an annual ritual for the last decade or so. In fact, Mike Pouncey, he of the well documented degenerative hip issue, 3 hip surgeries behind him, played a full season, all 16 games in 2017. The level of how he played is a mixed bag of opinions. In general, commentators tend to go by reputation, so whenever Pouncey is referred to during a game, it’s usually garnished with past accolades, and rarely do they shine a negative light on the former Pro Bowler. Fans, however, at least some of them feel like Pouncey is a shell of what he was, and to further elaborate, some felt he was a “soft” player from the start, and a guy who never matched up well with bigger, stronger interior defenders. Then you have Head Coach Adam Gase, who is effusive with praise for Pouncey, and obviously, what he thinks is paramount, especially compared to us know-it-all fans, and know-it-all beat writers.
It seems to me that Gase will be making that decision for us, and it will most likely be not cutting Mike Pouncey, despite the fact that Pouncey is owed $9M next season, and only $2M of it would be the dead cap hit if we cut him. Like our resident O-line expert Randy says, Pouncey will be back, it’s too much to expect a high level of play from a rookie OC, and therefore, he will be back. NO CUT
OLB Lawrence Timmons
Mr. AWOL is almost certainly going to be a FA in 2018, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Timmons goes back to his former team of 10 seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Due to the fact that Timmons was suspended by the club for violating team rules, the guaranteed aspect of the 2nd year of his contract was voided, meaning the $7.25M salary that Timmons would be commanding, and more importantly, the the $8.225M that would have been a dead cap hit if we cut him is now off the books. Timmons had an uneven season, and the youth movement at LB is real, Raekwon McMillan, Stephone Anthony, Chase Allen, and even Kiko Alonso is only 26, so I’m afraid it’s clear The Dolphins will bid adieu to Mr. Timmons. CUT
QB Ryan Tannehill
This is a strange set of circumstances for Tannehill in 2018. Tannehill went down with a knee injury in game 13 of the 2016 season. He elected at the time to not have surgery to repair the partially torn ACL ligament, and sprained MCL in his left knee. He decided rehabbing, and strengthening the muscle surrounding the knee would suffice, and that decision backfired on both he and the Dolphins this season, when Tannehill collapsed in a heap in a non-contact play in a practice on August 3rd, as he scrambled towards the right sideline. This time, the partially torn ligament was now completely torn, and reconstructive surgery was a necessity, not just an option. So on August 17th 2017, Tannehill had the surgery, and the latest reports were that Tannehill is already running (in a straight line). That’s good news, but should the Dolphins be cautious and not put all their eggs into one basket, hoping that Ryan Tannehill will be healthy enough to play similar to the QB that played to 100+ QB rating from game 6 to the game he was injured in in week 13, an 8 game stretch?
That’s the conundrum the Dolphins face. Ryan Tannehill could do what Tom Brady has done for years, help his team “cook the books” and help the Dolphins out of a shortage of cap money, considering he currently will be making $19.8M in 2017, but the Dolphins do have an escape hatch, as he only carries a $4.6M dead cap hit. Will Tannehill be willing to restructure his deal, and will the Dolphins ask him to? Will the Dolphins, who choose at #11 in the 2018 draft find his replacement there, or possibly in RD 2 at pick #42? Let’s say just for fun, the Dolphins take a QB either at #11, or #42, what do we with Ryan Tannehill? Does Tannehill start in ’18, and let the rookie sit and learn for a season, or do we look to trade Tannehill? I think trading Tannehill could only be done after extensive exposure, meaning getting through training camp, and the preseason looking fresh, and athletic, playing well, and not showing any signs of favoring his knee, or looking less nimble. After all, who would trade for a QB coming off an injury without knowing he was healthy and capable?
I think Ryan Tannehill will be our QB in 2018, and if he’s healthy and plays well, for years after that too. I think Gase believes in Ryan, and I think Ryan believes with Gase, he can play his best football. Regardless, if Ryan can help us by redoing his contract to make it more cap friendly, I think he should do it, and I believe he would do it. At least I hope so. RESTRUCTURE
TE Julius Thomas
If you’re a regular reader here, you know well how badly I crave a top talent at the TE position for our team. After watching Julius Thomas toil for one season in 2017 here with Miami, it’s clear he’s not part of that conversation. Thomas is due a hefty $6.5M next season, but Miami can cut him and only suffer a $2M dead cap hit. While he wasn’t exactly awful, he was so far from being an effective receiver that threatened the seam, and terrorized LB’s and safeties. He was as pedestrian as possible, finishing with 41 receptions for 388 yards and 3 TD’s, with 9.46YPR. That’s fine for a 2nd TE, if he could block, but Thomas just can’t do that, so this one is easy enough for me not to waste much time or space on. One caveat, he is one of Gase’s guys, but nonetheless, it’s time to say BYE-BYE. CUT
WR Leonte Carroo
Take a good look at this picture, because I’m sure many of you, like myself, don’t even know what Leonte Carroo looks like, or what number he wears, or whether he can run a concise route tree, or catch a 50/50 ball, because we rarely see this guy on game day. So, Leonte Carroo III (as I call him), not because he’s the 3rd generation Leonte Carroo, but jokingly, like his predecessor, RB Daniel Thomas , otherwise know as DT3, because it took 3 picks to acquire both of these rare, yet seldom used talents. OK, enough of the dripping sarcasm, but really, what’s the deal with this guy? The front office, hopefully along with HC Adam Gase went great guns after him, trading back into the 3rd RD of the 2016 NFL Draft and forfeiting additional picks in the 3rd and 4th RD of the 2017 NFL draft, so they must have felt pretty strong that he would be an impact player for our offense. After 2 seasons, the story tells otherwise, with Carroo reeling in a total of 10 receptions, not yet eclipsing 100 yards, and 1 TD.
Carroo has 2 years remaining on his contract, and because he was a 3rd RD pick, it’s pretty inexpensive at $826K this season, and $916K in 2019, and then he is an URFA in 2020. Logic says he will be on the roster to see if he can be more than he has, but the fact that he was surpassed already by fellow WR Jakeem Grant, who was a 6th RD pick in 2016 doesn’t bode well for Carroo. I do think Carroo will have to make strides in ’18, he’s not going to be kept around here if he doesn’t show any signs that he can be more than what he’s been, which is simply disappointing. NO CUT (At least until after the preseason)
DE William Hayes
William Hayes was stopped in a Turkish Airport with 4 pounds of hashish in 1970. The movie Midnight Express depicts the entire story, although according to Hayes, Director Oliver Stone embellished quite a bit, and much to Hayes dismay, portrayed the Turkish people, and justice system unfairly. Oh, wait, not that William Hayes, I meant the free agent DE who played for the Dolphins! Hayes was excellent in the DL rotation, and as he was in his entire career, with the Titans and the Rams, he was excellent run defender and edge setter. His stats last year don’t jump off the page, but Hayes is a very good player that the Dolphins should bring back.
Hayes played in 10 games for the Dolphins, before being put on IR with a back injury. Hayes is a strong veteran presence that our young DL can learn from. I think the odds are pretty good that we draft a DE somewhere in this draft, and Hayes would be a great mentor, and someone to learn from. Hayes will be 33 next season, so I would expect another 1 YR contract for him if we sign him. Thanks M! RE-SIGN