OK, so it looks like the Miami Dolphins are moving on from Jarvis Landry. Salary considerations and such.
You can find other places to detail the complexities and implications of the franchise tag that Miami has placed on Landry, plus the rambling trade talk that goes with it. Our newspaper’s Daily Dolphin blog, as always, is an excellent place to start.
This column, however, provides something else. A gut reaction. A growl. A note of confusion that comes with being required to track the touchdowns and fumbles of math wizards and salary-cap strategists in the front office more than the production of the players themselves.
These are the same guys, remember, who paid too much to keep Kiko Alonso and Andre Branch happy but can’t pay enough to satisfy Landry, the first Dolphins wide receiver since Mark Clayton to appear in three consecutive Pro Bowls.
The same head coach, too, who fought to get Jay Cutler $10 million in a pinch for one year of mediocre quarterback play but isn’t as passionate about making a long-term commitment of something like $14 million annually to the only player in NFL history to catch 400 passes in his first four seasons.
Landry is 25. He’s going to be racking up 10-catch games in the league for a long time, and he’s durable, too. With an average of 100 catches per season, he’s coming close to the numbers Wes Welker put up in New England once the Dolphins let him go, and Landry’s doing it without Tom Brady.
If there’s no room on the roster for a guy like that, go ahead and trade Landry, but don’t stop there.
Cut Ndamukong Suh.
Trade Ryan Tannehill and plug a first-round draftee into his leadership position, restarting the cycle that Tannehill began as a rookie starter in 2012.
Tell Cam Wake that his 10.5 sacks last season, tops on the team, just don’t count for that much because he’s too old. Oh, and be sure to do that while everybody’s making such a big deal about a pending trade to add Rams’ defensive end Robert Quinn, who had 8.5.
Hey, it’s wasted energy trying to tell the Dolphins what to do. They have all the numbers. All the projections. All the medical and financial information. All the answers, or at least enough of them to buy this regime a little more time.
By every reliable indicator, the decision on Landry already has been made. His agent has been given permission to seek a trade, and the Dolphins are busy talking to other teams about what they can get out of it.
While the Dolphins see a slot receiver who wants to get paid like an elite wideout, the Ravens and the Bears and other teams see the nine touchdowns that Landry scored last season. Kenny Stills, Miami’s most reliable deep threat, scored six. Add that to the total number of times that DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo found the end zone in 2017 and you know what you get?
Nine touchdown receptions for Landry. Nine for everybody else in the wide receiver room. Yeah, who needs that guy?
Perhaps this is an unnecessarily crabby outlook for the middle of the offseason. When, though, does the shuffling of veteran players stop and the cementing of a consistent winner begin?
I’m thinking of wide receiver Ernest Wilford, who in addition to a long-term contract with Miami in 2008 got a $6 million signing bonus. That translated to $2 million for every catch he made before being released.
And how about Mario Williams, the great pass rusher who signed with Miami for $17 million over two years? He lasted one season and was cast aside.
Next come Lawrence Timmons and Rey Maualuga, a couple of vets who the Dolphins added last year to solve their linebacking problems. The first of them will be moved as soon as Miami figures out how to do it. The second already is history, and with less than a full season logged.
Tight end Julius Thomas, another one-year Dolphins blunder, and one with ties to Gase from their Denver days, probably needs replacing, too.
April’s NFL draft may bring help at a number of positions, in the same way that linebacker Raekwon McMillan would have helped if he hadn’t been lost for 2017 season in August. There will be other wild swings at free agents, too.
The only sure bet in the bunch, however, is Landry. He is Tannehill’s safety blanket and, if Miami winds up spending a first-round pick on a quarterback, Landry would be the one to save some new kid from some ugly spots in the rookie learning process.
That would be obvious enough if we were picking sides on the playground. Instead, Landry looks to be somebody else’s steal.
It’s a poor use of resources on Miami’s part, and Stephen Ross will come to regret that he trusts his money men more than his own eyes.