Remember going through school and preparing for the dreaded “5-week report card” or your midterm grades? They would come in the mail and you knew that any minute now your parents would call you down from your room and sitting around the dinner table you’d receive a half hour lecture about your focus in school and underachieving grades.
Well Dennis Hickey has no worries at this point. So far he’s passing.
Actually he’s excelling.
The key term here is “so far.”
Hickey isn’t even 48 hours into the 2014 free agent period and so far he’s passing the eye test and impressing while doing so.
He did what most Dolphins fans asked him to do and resigned Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes to a long term deal. The deal was favorable for both parties as Grimes received a 4 year $32 million dollar deal, but according to MiamiHerald.com, the contract actually saves the Dolphins $7 million against the cap this year by avoiding the franchise tag for Grimes.
After locking up Grimes, Hickey and his team – which includes executive Dawn Aponte – knew they had to be aggressive when free agency began on March 11th at 4pm. They immediately went after and landed Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert from the Kansas City Chiefs. Albert was the most sought out tackle by most teams during the bidding process, but Miami backed up the Brinks truck and Albert couldn’t say no.
The deal came out to 5 years and $47 million dollars with $25 million guaranteed. That gives Miami their franchise left tackle and they now have 2 of the 5 spots on their offensive line filled with Mike Pouncey at center and now Ryan Tannehill’s blindside taken care of. Those are the two most important spots on the offensive line and the rest can be filled adequately either via free agency or the draft in May.
Later in the day, Miami announced they had agreed to a 4 year $16 million dollar with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell from the Houston Texans. At 26 years old, the Dolphins got younger at the position after news broke that 30 year old nose tackle Paul Soliai signed with the Atlanta Falcons.
Even after Mitchell signed, Hickey must have felt the Dolphins were still thin at defensive tackle with only Jared Odrick on the roster signed through the 2014 season. So he surprised us all and resigned premier defensive tackle Randy Starks to a 2 year $12 million dollar deal. Starks seemed all but gone after he had been slapped with the franchise tag last season and looked to be landing a big deal.
In the Starks deal, Hickey was able to work out another friendly deal for the Dolphins as well as bolstering the lackluster run defense that plagued Miami in 2013. Whether it’s Hickey’s doing or the behind-the-scenes prowess of Dawn Aponte, the savvy capologist, Miami has gotten it done so far in free agency so far.
Just ask Cover32 editor Daniel Eliesen. His tweet says it all in the job Hickey did resigning Starks.
Starks was hoping for 7.5M + a year per @ArmandoSalguero ,Hickey got him at 6 and didn’t have to commit long term. That’s a job well done
— Daniel Eliesen (@PhinsDaniel) March 12, 2014
Again, Dennis Hickey has impressed as General Manager early on, but this just feels like the first quarter of a football game and there is a lot of game left to be played. Despite the Dolphins being 8-8 and a win away from the playoffs last year, there were a lot of holes throughout Miami’s roster.
The reason there is no grade for Hickey is that his job is not done. There are still roster spots to fill and cap space to hand out. The next few days will determine Hickey’s grade in his first free agency as Dolphins General Manager.