Pre-Draft Offseason Recap: Dolphins Make a Splash


Dolphins Make a Splash


When the NFL free agency period began earlier this month, waves of free agents hit the open market. One of the most surprising teams to navigate the free agent waters and make a big splash by signing big-name players was the Miami Dolphins. In case you forgot, the Miami Heat aren’t the only professional sports team in the city, and it looks like the Dolphins are trying to be better than mediocre this year. In the past four NFL seasons, the Dolphins are 27-37. It took the Dolphins four years to amass the same number of wins that the Heat had in 27 consecutive games. Finally, it looks as though Jeff Ireland is trying to turn the team into a winner and perhaps even steal the AFC East crown from Tom Brady and his perfect hair.

If Ireland can create a team that can compete with the Patriots, then the AFC East is up for grabs. The Jets made more noise last season for Tim Tebow, the butt fumble and Rex Ryan’s tattoo of his wife wearing Mark Sanchez’s jersey than they did for their actual play. The Bills just released their starting quarterback, Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick, leaving them with Tavaris Jackson, Aaron Corp and Brad Smith. Call me crazy, but none of those guys will lead the Bills to a winning season. The opportunity for Miami to move up and seize the division is as good as it’s ever going to get, and it looks as though it is trying everything within its power.

It would be an understatement to say that Dolphins blew it during free agency last year.  The Dolphins had a better chance of winning the Super Bowl in 2012 (110:1 odds) than they did in attracting big-name free agents. They entered the Peyton Manning sweepstakes only to get spurned when he headed to Denver. They pursued Matt Flynn, who denied them even though Dolphins’ head coach Joe Philbin was his former offensive coordinator in Green Bay. Why couldn’t Miami sign anyone in a state with low taxes, beautiful weather and women, as well as prominent nightlife? A player is as likely to say no to that, as Ray Lewis is to say no to PEDs. Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark seemed to have the answer when he tweeted that no one wanted to go to Miami because “[there’s] not a good guy [in charge] making decisions.” It’s well understood that he was talking about Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. He’s not so bad if we forget about him asking Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute in a pre-draft interview. And the time he interviewed Jim Harbaugh for head coach while Tony Sparano was still employed as head coach. It seems though that free agents and NFL players have gotten over their dislike for Ireland as he has been able to secure some big-name signings.

The Dolphins opened up free agency by snagging the best available free-agent wide receiver. Ryan Tannehill quietly put up a good rookie season last year and showed a lot of potential, but was eclipsed by fellow rookies Andrew Luck, RGIII and Russell Wilson. Ireland went out and bought his quarterback one of the top wide receivers by signing Mike Wallace. Wallace will immediately make a huge impact on the field and give Miami the deep-ball threat that has evaded it for years. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess don’t exactly take the top off of a defense. Wallace’s speed and big-play threat will open up the entire field and allow the offense to be much more efficient. By resigning Hartline to a five-year, $30 million dollar contract, the Dolphins secured both wideout positions with the slot open to Bess or the recently-signed Brandon Gibson. Wallace’s presence instantly improves the Dolphins passing offense and gives Tannehill the weapons that are necessary to develop his game.

A signing that isn’t making any big headlines but continues to bolster the Phins’ offense is Dustin Keller. The Dolphins got away with signing Keller to a one-year contract worth $4.25 million. Receiving tight ends are a young quarterback’s best friend and Keller fits right into the hole that Anthony Fasano left. Not only that, but whoever ends up being the Jets quarterback can look forward to throwing every ball to Santonio Holmes as the Dolphins snag a division rival’s starter.  Miami risks very little in Keller’s signing and he could prove a very valuable offensive tool provided he can stay healthy.

The Dolphins didn’t just improve on the offensive side of the ball. The Dolphins pulled one of the biggest shockers so far during free agency by signing Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. EllerBEAST was a monster during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run and seemed a lock to re-sign with Baltimore. Ellerbe chose the big payday with Miami, giving the Dolphins a young, versatile linebacker. As if Ellerbe wasn’t enough, the Dolphins signed Oakland’s Phillip Wheeler to a five-year deal. Pair these two signings with the Dolphins decision to cut Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, and the Dolphins managed to save money while getting younger. Wheeler said “I’m aggressive like a shark; but it’s ironic, because now I’m a Dolphin,” but the Dolphins are hoping Ellerbe and Wheeler maintain their aggression and provide the foundation of their defense for years to come. Throw this in with recent signing of cornerback Brent Grimes, and the team just keeps looking better and better. The Dolphins got a steal when signing Grimes to a one year $5.5 million dollar deal. The Dolphins needed a huge upgrade in their secondary after losing Sean Smith, and took little to no risk with the one year deal. They got a team need, one of the best cornerbacks on the market, and a player who was $10 million last year for $5 million. Even if he’s coming back off injury, he’s worth the risk and further bolsters an improving Dolphins defense.

While all of these signings make the Dolphins a better team, the price tag cannot be forgotten. With the new CBA and salary cap restrictions, teams need to be careful about how they allocate their money. (See the Ravens disintegrating a Super Bowl team and giving Joe Flacco a contract so big it literally devalues the dollar.) However, in the age of mega-contracts, if you want elite talent, you have to pay top dollar. Wallace has the biggest contract at five years, $60 million, of which $27 million is fully guaranteed. As long as Wallace plays like a top NFL receiver, it can be considered money well spent. Ellerbe signed for a five-year, $34.75 million contract with $14 million guaranteed and Wheeler got a five-year $26 million contract with $13 million guaranteed. The Dolphins still have money to spend, as they are still more than $10 million under the $128 million salary cap so expect a few more signings to occur.  While Miami’s contracts for its new players are backloaded, meaning the base salaries are highest in the latter years of the contract, contracts can always be restructured and players often do not play out the entirety of their contract in the NFL. The Dolphins want to win now and winning requires talent, which requires money. They’re rolling out a new logo, new offense, new defense and a new attitude. The season doesn’t start for months, but for the first time in a while, Dolphins fans have something about which to be excited.

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Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

There are always comparisons between quarterbacks, ranging from Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning or RG3 to Cam Newton. It is quite popular to compare an incumbent to their contemporaries to paint a picture to the public for the future.

Are we going to do that here?  Nope.  In lieu of comparing current NFL quarterbacks to their predecessors, we are going to compare them to actors.  Yes, actors.

For a little appetizer, think of Jamarcus Russell like Lindsay Lohan with all the potential and tools, but caught up in out-of-work trouble. Purple Drink!

Here we go:

NFC East

Eli Manning – Joaquin Phoenix

Both are extremely eclectic people that find ways to put on great performances in crucial times.  They are recognized as the most important person in their biggest career moments.  In Gladiator, Phoenix supported the role of Russell Crowe, much like Manning managed the Giants to their first Super Bowl win.  Next, each person rose to the starring role with Manning guiding the Giants over the Patriots for a second time and Phoenix presenting a remarkable performance in Walk the Line.

Tony Romo – Mark Wahlberg

Ever see someone begin from nothing but, when given their first shot, show such immense potential? Much like Romo, Wahlberg began great with the Italian Job, and continued to show prominence in Invincible and Shooter, but follows up with Ted and The Other Guys.  It is head scratching as much as Tony Romo, but it is undeniable that both men expose themselves to seriously low moments in their career that make you question them.

Michael Vick & Nick Foles – Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker

We have a flashy stunt man, who really does not know how to hone or master his craft (whether it be either acting or quarterbacking).  Their counterpart is serviceable, by carrying the traditional acting techniques, and although either are unproven or average, both Tucker and Foles show flashes of having potential.  Ultimately, neither actor nor quarterback is taken seriously in their profession.

Robert Griffin III – Justin Timberlake

Each person was successful in the early phase of their career, and transferred that into the next level of exposure and immediately succeeded.  RG3 won the Heisman at Baylor and JT went from the front man of Nsync to a prominent solo music career.  At their transition phases, RG3 led his Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie year, and Justin hit the big screen with a splash in The Social Network.  Great things are still to come from these two.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers – Leonardo DiCaprio

Both of these men are at the top of their respective profession right now and are a must see on the big screen or the football field.  Rodgers continues to get better and better playing the position at such a consistent high level.  Concurrently, Leo manages to remain in elevated form by rolling out Catch Me If You Can, The Departed and Inception just to name a few.

Jay Cutler – Robert Downey Jr.

The overall “I don’t give a $h*!” attitude resemblance between these two is very uncanny.  At the same time, when focused and motivated, Downey and Cutler can put together stretches of absolute brilliance that remind you they are formidable in their respective fields.

Christian Ponder – Josh Hartnett

Essentially, both of these men peaked way too early.  Ponder was drafted well before he should have ever been considered and Hartnett has been on a steady decline since Black Hawk Down.  However, they both have capabilities to present manageable performances with Ponder being efficient and Hartnett with 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Matthew Stafford – Ben Affleck

Affleck and Stafford flourish with talent around them and in the right setting.  Stafford has been fortunate to have Calvin Johnson and numerous weapons to generate his massive yardage seasons.  As much as Affleck has captured us with Good Will Hunting and The Town, he has released some big flops like Gigli and Daredevil, resembling the disgusting sidearm sling Matthew Stafford continually resorts to.

 NFC South


Matt Ryan – Jeremy Renner

Matt Ryan revitalized a struggling franchise with his first NFL pass going for a touchdown and he has not looked back since.  The same can be said for Jeremy Renner, who really hit us with The Hurt Locker and continued to get better with The Town.  Each of these men is on the rise and aimed for greatness with their professions.

Cam Newton – Gerard Butler

Utterly mind-blowing physical specimens from their initial roles from 300 or Cam’s rookie year, but their dropoff cannot be argued.  It seems both get complacent with their initial success, and relies on their physical tools rather than developing their craft.

Drew Brees – Brad Pitt

Brees’ career began very prominent and flashy in San Diego, which is very reminiscent of Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  Although, each of them went through a dry spell or injury span, they both developed their potential into either a Super Bowl winner or hits with Benjamin Button and Inglorious Bastards.

Josh Freeman – Chris Hemsworth

The physical traits of both men naturally set them above the rest from the beginning. Additionally, they have displayed moments of brilliance in key moments.  Hemsworth separated himself from the bottom feeders of the comic remake world, and lined up multiple runs of Thor.  Freeman has shown to be more than clutch in critical moments leading the volatile Bucs to come from behind wins and fourth quarter drives.

 NFC West

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Alex Smith & Colin Kaepernick – Tobey Maguire & Jesse Eisenberg

Smith came in as a number one overall pick with the expectations to revive a franchise, but failed to do so.  The same result can be seen from Tobey Maguire’s attempt at the Spiderman series; an utter disaster.  Maguire was capable of carrying a movie throughout with Pleasantville or Seabiscuit, but failed to present anything spectacular.  Conversely, Colin Kaepernick has come in a thrived as an absolute star much like Eisenberg in The Social Network.  Look for both Kaepernick and Eisenberg to entertain us for the next generation of professionals.

Russell Wilson – Joseph Gordon Levitt

Levitt’s respectable beginning in TV started with 3rd Rock from the Sun and that can be comparable to Wilson’s stint in minor league baseball, but their adaptation to the professional level has better utterly amazing.  Whether it be Inception, Looper, or leading a Seahawks franchise to the playoffs with utter poise and composure; both of these future stars will be around for a long time to come.

Sam Bradford – Chris Pine Can

Chris Pine showed he was capable of supporting Denzel Washington in Unstoppable and left the public wanting more for the recreated Star Trek franchise.  Similar to Pine, when Bradford gets comfortable and gains weapons around him, the Rams will continue their positive direction to a reputable franchise again.

Kevin Kolb & Crew – Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell

Coach put Uncle Rico in and we saw how that went….

 AFC East

Tom Brady – Denzel Washington

Thriving in roles with good looks and masterful performances symbolizes these two dynamic personalities perfectly.  Denzel began his career being acclaimed in a supporting role and prospered into a top leading man for an extended duration from Training Day to recently released Flight.  Brady stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe and never looked back creating a decade of dominance for the New England Patriots.


Ryan Tannehill – Zac Efron

With a limited sample size with one year in college and a rookie NFL year, Ryan Tannehill has shown to have immense potential with absolutely no talent around him.  Looking past Efron’s High School Musical days, he has displayed some notable performances with 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud by showing he can exceed expectations and carry a movie throughout.  It is early, but both Tannehill and Efron have shown glimpses of having a reputable future in their industries.  Plus have you seen their girl friends or wife?  Bonus points!

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn’s natural sarcastic humor resembles the intelligence of a Harvard graduate like Fitzpatrick.  Essentially both are serviceable in their industry with spotty high moments, but won’t produce anything award winning.

Mark Sanchez – Colin Farrell

They try so hard but it does not work.  We can equate SWAT to Sanchez’s early years with nice playoffs runs, but it has been a steep decline ever since.  Sanchez tried to be an efficient manager but failed.  Farrell tried to match Brad Pitt’s Troy with Alexander, but that was a disaster.  They will remain in their industries, but will never prevail to anything special.

 AFC North

JoeJoe Flacco – Matt Damon

Damon’s character in the Ocean’s Eleven series represents Flacco beyond a reasonable doubt.  Damon struggled to be acknowledged as a main contributor, but gradually was given more respect as each movie continued.  At the same time, Damon carried an entertaining Bourne series for almost a decade and, although it wasn’t award winning, it was very entertaining.  Flacco has shown utter moments of brilliance in big moments, much like Damon in Good Will Hunting and The Departed.


Andy Dalton – John Cho

You may know Cho has Harold from the Harold and Kumar series, but he quietly has strung together a few noteworthy performances with American Beauty and Star Trek.  He looks to still be a constant within the revitalized Star Trek series, resembling Dalton’s potential lengthy and serviceable NFL career.  It is hard to tell what each person will ultimately become, but each has shown potential that they can be taken seriously looking forward in their future.

Ben Roethlisberger – Christian Bale

Bale and Big Ben can cause some controversy outside the office, but when focused, they compete to be the best in their fields.  Bale transformed the Batman series and was outstanding in The Fighter, while Roethlisberger led the Steelers to Super Bowl appearances and a victories after years of Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart.

Brandon Weeden – David Caruso

This one may be self explanatory.  Both were given a shot at an older age and it may work out for Weeden, but if it does expect nothing more than a Lieutenant Horatio Caine performance in CSI: Miami.

AFC South

Matt Schaub – Alec Baldwin

Neither was intended to take on a leading role at the highest level.  Baldwin is perfect at 30 Rock and Schaub was an effective back-up for an injury prone Michael Vick in Atlanta.  Schaub has never quite lived up to a franchise starting quarterback, much like Baldwin in the main character role of a major motion picture.  Both have had memorable moments from big games to priceless lines in The Departed.

Andrew Luck – Tom Hardy

Luck and Hardy came in with all of the physical and mental tools to be successful from the beginning, and lived up to the hype.  Luck led a 2-14 Colts team to the playoffs and Hardy thrived inInception, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises.  Future success exudes from both of these professionals in such a short sample size already.

Blaine Gabbert & Jake Locker – Taylor Lautner & Robert Pattinson

Gabbert & Locker have proved they are products of the combine hype and beneficiaries of tremendous arm strength, as their on-field product has not been worthy of first-round draft picks.  Translate the aforementioned sentence to motion pictures, and you have Twilight.  The CFL and ABC Family cannot wait for these guys.

AFC West

Peyton Manning – Tom Hanks

Starting as the number one pick in the NFL draft and winning best actor in a children’s movie just conveys the early success of the methodical and surgical (Trent Dilfer talk) careers for Peyton Manning and Tom Hanks.  Both men bring extremely dedicated and intellectual approaches to their roles transcending generations that made up for any physical deficiencies.

Phillip Rivers – Sam Worthington

Has anyone hit the big screen faster and harder than Sam Worthington?  In the blink of an eye, he starred in Terminator and Avatar, but then dramatically took steps down with Clash of the Titans and Man on a Ledge.  This sounds eerily similar to Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers, with his tremendous start under Marty Schottenheimer to his most recent two season decline.  Both began to enter the “elite” conversation, but have quickly entered the above average.

Carson Palmer – Nicholas Cage

This is one of my favorites.  Cage showed some flashes of brilliance when next to Sean Connery in The Rock similar to Carson Palmer surrounded with weapons in Cincinnati.  Both of them believed themselves to be far more talented than what they really are, but show their true worth either in Oakland or anything Nicholas Cage does.  Cage is veteran garbage like Palmer.

Matt Cassel – Seann William Scott

Do you remember Steve Stiffler from the American Pie series?  He was barely in the first one, but his roles progressively grew in an entertaining fashion.  Unfortunately, Seann William Scott cannot be a lead actor. He was amazing in Role Models because he fed off of Paul Rudd.  The Chiefs gave Cassel the keys to the car and how did that turn out?

 Note from the Chief : I believe this to be one of the coolest and funniest articles I have ever seen. I would appreciate it if you would help us spread the word on this article more-so than others. With the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl upon us, this is a perfect time to bring some excitement to the game. Thank you

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Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

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