Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers From Sunday’s Loss to Buffalo

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Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) scores a touchdown as New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler (21) defends during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports


The Miami Dolphins had the inside track on former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh this off-season but instead of luring him to the AFC East billionaire Dolphins owner and University of Michigan alumnus Stephen Ross instead kept Joe Philbin in charge and steered Harbaugh to Michigan. This was despite the Dolphins being in desperate need of a change after consecutive seasons of the team folding in December and missing the playoffs.

The Dolphins have to move forward with a number of question marks: First,they have defensive end Dion Jordan hardly playing (339 snaps last season and 223 snaps this year) after the team traded up in the 2013 draft to take him in the first round number three overall. Jordan had a four-game suspension for PEDs and then was suspended again for substance abuse. The Dolphins invested a high pick when moving up from 12th overall not to get help on the offensive line in either Lane Johnson, Chance Warmack, or D.J. Fluker. Nor did the Dolphins stay at 12th overall and grab Justin Pugh or Kyle Long and instead packaged their first and second round pick for a role player.

The Dolphins also have the quandary of their overpriced receiving corp. Their most talented receiver is arguably rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry while they have more money invested in the position than any other NFL team. They have Mike Wallace with a $12.1 million cap number in 2015 for 67 catches for 862 yards, Brian Hartline with a $7.3 million cap hit next year contributing 39 catches for 474 yards, and Brandon Gibson with a $4.2 million cap number next year and contributing just 29 catches for 295 yards.

Wide receiver is not the only position with a surplus of over-priced free agents. While top cornerback Brent Grimes has a $10 million cap hit next year, disappointing Cortland Finnegan is on the books for $6.4 million next year. At linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has a $9.8 million cap hit, Koa Misi counts $4.4 million against the salary cap and Phillip Wheeler costs $4.4 million against the cap.

The Dolphins are basically being held together for one more year before their younger players such as running back Lamar Miller, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and defensive end Olivier Vernon need to be re-signed for premium cost. The Dolphins can only afford to stick it out with this group of players and coaches another year before the team needs to re-invest or rebuild. The Dolphins may have missed their chance to take the plunge this off-season.