- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
My prediction: Manning won’t be a Dolphin
We’ve entered Day 2 of the official “Peyton Manning” watch with rampant rumors of which teams are pursuing Manning, where Manning wants to play, etc. The Miami paparazzi are all-out stalking Manning as if he were a party loving starlet who is dating British royalty. Every move, non-move, innuendo is getting hyper-analyzed because let’s face it – Manning is the biggest free agent to be available in the NFL for a long time.
This just in: Jeff Ireland used the restroom in Dolphins Headquarters. Now he’s on his cell phone! Wait – did anyone see if he washed his hands? What does it all mean?!
This frenzy is exactly what Manning and his agent want. Manning is the hottest commodity on the planet right now – and that is going to drive some team/owner to seriously overpay for Manning. Rumor has it that the Kansas City Chiefs have already sent Manning a contract,whiletheirdivisionrival Denver Broncos are desperate to sign the QB (probably because he’s the only passer who couldsupplantTebowwithoutenraging the fans).Not only do multiple teams have interest in Manning, but multiple division rivals do: Seahawks/Cardinals, Chiefs/Broncos, and Dolphins/Jets headline the three rivals widely considered to be interested in Manning. Bidding for Manning’s services goes up not only to get him, but to keep him from your rival. Or, should your rival land him, causing them to lose a big chunk of their cap as the price for securing the prized QB.Enter Jeff Ireland. Jeff has won his share of free agent pursuits such as Karlos Dansby. Hmmm, Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshalls were technically trades. On the other hand Ireland has also missed out on free agents Miami was rumored to be interested in: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, FS Antre Rolle, FS Ryan Clark, etc. Then throw in how coaching candidates have used Stephen Ross’s interest as negotiating leverage to go to other teams – and how can you not get the sense that as often as not people aren’t really interested in joining Miami.While the perception of Miami as an organization may affect Manning’s willingness to join the Dolphins, I think Miami’s limited ability to sign him to a contract will play a bigger role in causing Manning to choose another team. Stephen Ross supposedly won’t be outbid. Unfortunately for Mr. Ross there’s this little thing called the salary cap. Miami’s available salary cap room is far behind many if not most of the other teams pursuing Manning – meaning even if Miami puts an *incredible* offer on the table, other teams will be able to beat it.Here’s where I go back to Jeff Ireland, because Miami has done nothing to restructure contracts and free up cap space, particularly with left tackle Jake Long. If Miami *really* wanted Manning they should have restructured Long’s contract (and others) before this week in order to insure maximum cap room with which to negotiate with Manning. Having failed to do that means Miami enters the fight to sign Manning essentially with one arm tied behind their back. Whether this is (a) lack of foresight or (b) simply revealing their interest in Manning is insincere – either way they aren’t in the best position to sign Manning.
While Manning clearly wants to maximize his paycheck, he surely also wants to maximize his opportunity to win a second championship. While Miami may have some decent pieces to work with, it has one significant disadvantage. Manning knows the path to the playoffs and Super Bowl starts with winning your division. In Miami, Manning would have to overcome the AFC heavyweight Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Compare that to the AFC West and NFC West where there isn’t a dominant offense to challenge Manning should he land there.
Add it all up, and I don’t see Miami among the frontrunners to land Manning.
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