Dolphins Truth was hesitating to comment on the release of Brian Hartline, Nate Garner, and Brandon Gibson until the dust had settled. And so here we are.
But first, the really exciting news!!
The Dolphins have hired a new director of sports performance or some meaningless title like that. A team in desperate need of a new coach instead hires a guy who will magically make all ACLs go away, and he will fix concussions with the power of his mind. What a waste of money.
For the people who believe the Stephen Ross conspiracy theories, this hire is intriguing. Lots of rumors out there about Ross wanting to move the Dolphins to London permanently. Dolphins Truth doesn’t believe it, but the clues are starting to pile up. Case in point: this new witch doctor of sports performance is from England, and all his experience is with soccer and rugby teams. Thousands and thousands of the best medical minds in the world live in the USA, but Ross decided to hire a soccer guy from the United Kingdom, who also was a gymnastic trainer and was educated in Africa. A guy who doesn’t know the first thing about professional NFL football. Very interesting. Sadly, this guy is a better NFL head coach than Joe Philbin.
Now onto the release of Hartline, Gibson, and Garner.
I wish I had some reason to argue these releases, and I also wish I had some reasons to say they are great moves. But I find myself neutral on these.
All three men had shining moments as Dolphins, but none of them became true stars. Gibson became a reliable slot receiver in 2013, but was average in 2014. Garner stepped into any role on the line and usually played reliably, but then the injuries started to nick at him, and he became less reliable. Hartline is the one that is most confusing. We want to support him and we want to say that cutting him was a mistake, but the numbers don’t lie. And Hartline’s numbers were down.
He is extremely skilled at making the tough catches. The clutch catches. But in the new offense, he hasn’t been targeted as much. That is not his fault. You have to give credit to Jarvis Landry’s breakout year, and a couple of productive tight ends. The Dolphins still need some reliable pass catchers to make up for the loss of Gibson and Hartline, and it seems that Management’s thoughts were to find such receivers much cheaper.
That being said, the salary cap isn’t as devastating as some think. If you want a player, you find a way to pay him. It happens every year on every team. Someone gets released, and the media says it was a salary cap casualty. Nonsense. The player was let go because the coach or GM didn’t want him. So there must be something in Hartline, Garner, and Gibson that the staff didn’t like, so out they go.
(We still remember when the San Francisco 49ers were way way OVER the salary cap already, but then they somehow found millions and millions of dollars to pay Deion Sanders. It just goes to show you how easy it is to manipulate the cap IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SIGN A PLAYER.) If you don’t really want him, then you get rid of him and tell the fans it was a cap casualty.
Anyway, so the Dolphins need depth at WR, and we await the draft and free agency to see what Dennis Hickey brings us. And that leads us to Mike Wallace.
Some of the rumors about trading Mike Wallace have died down now, and that’s one of the reasons that Dolphins Truth tries not to report on rumors until they are fact. Let’s face it: any old “insider” can claim that the team is in negotiations to ship Wallace, and some media outlet will be stupid enough to print it. Doesn’t make it true.
Listen, we need Mike Wallace. He was out most exciting player last season, with some breathtaking catches toward the end of the year. Landry was all-in-all more consistent, but I can’t recall a single memorable catch he made all year. I do not want to lose Wallace.
We especially can’t afford to lose Wallace just because he mouthed off to the coaches. Who cares, I want a player to yell at Philbin, to teach Philbin about football, to argue with Philbin about strategy. We need more impassioned players on the team, and Wallace is one of them.
We’ll never know the truth about Week 17 and if Wallace was benched or if Wallace ran away all by himself. I don’t believe in benching players for disciplinary reasons. That hurts the entire team more than it hurts the guy you’re trying to punish. It makes no sense to bench Wallace when we needed him to beat the Jets. But since it makes no sense, that means Joe Philbin is behind it.
And finally, the team put the match tag on Charles Clay, so we have the right to match another team’s offer on him. I am glad we diodn’t franchise him, to be honest. I like Clay, but I think he’s a bit overrated. He is essentially a WR who lines up as a TE. That’s not the same as a true tight end, who’s able to level devastating blocks as a 6th lineman. Clay is too small to double as an extra lineman. I love his playmaking ability, but I’d rather see a consistent overall tight end rather than just a WR lined up in that slot.