What are the chances that Dennis Hickey, the rookie General Manager of the Dolphins holds the keys to success in navigating the landscape of the NFL. The “Silver Fox” as he is known in some Twitter circles, dominated headlines with his tight knit 53 man roster filled with talent, strength, and speed.
Among these unknown 53 men, some are household names after convincing former teams and or general managers with their play. Among them, defensive end Cameron Wake and Brent Grimes play better than most first round talents and thus have earned their large signing bonuses and long term contracts.
However, looking further down the roster of Dolphins players, 7 undrafted rookies highlight the roster: Damien Williams (RB), Orleans Darkwa (RB), Harold “Gator” Hoskins (TE), Sammy Seamster (CB), Chris McCain (LB), Kamal Johnson (LB), and Anthony Johnson(LB). The fact that there are 7 un-drafted rookies, shows the Dolphins coaching commitment to develop young and unknown talent. These are the type of players that frankly, a more experienced general manager might take a risk on when there is talent and experience at every position.
The Dolphins surely dumped more un-drafted players yesterday in cuts, among them Marcus Thigpen (RB/KR/PR), Damian Williams (whom they signed in the offseason after playing for Tennessee), and Matt Hazel. Luckily the Dolphins managed to secure the future of wide receiver Matt Hazel among others on the practice squad.
So what does this commitment to unknown talent mean for Miami? Well, for one, the Dolphins have a win-now situation after committing to Mike Wallace in 2013, shored up the offensive line with Branden Albert in the offseason, and finally signing Brent Grimes long term for his play in 2013. In reality, the average fan just sees these big names and purchases jerseys blindly only to have buyer’s remorse when Player X gets signed elsewhere. Luckily, the Dolphins beat writers and bloggers/writers know the NFL better than this. There is an elephant in the room at this juncture; that is Miami has only a projected 12 million in cap room for 2015.
Surely, after committing dollars to bring talent to Miami, the powers that be: GM Dennis Hickey, Joe Philbin, and Dawn Aponte truly don’t have a plan beyond 2013. Sure, they could have jobs with a playoff appearance, but there seems to be more questions than answers even if the Dolphins make the playoffs given the fact they will have less to keep their budding stars. 2013 is it and since the Dolphins have players who they pay a lot of money to perform, this influx and gamble on undrafted rookies, becomes that much more important because sadly, their base salaries mean nothing beyond this season or whenever they are cut.
Frankly, this number of 20 un-drafted free-agents, makes up close to half of the team. Is that exactly a good thing for the future of the franchise? It seems the Dolphins lack balance in NFL experience, but have just enough talent to get by.
On Sunday look at the Patriots who are the model of how rosters are built after years of unearthing talent from everywhere. On the other hand, the Dolphins franchise still looks to be able to jump in the pool with the big boys, the question is, can they swim and survive 2014?