"In the history of NFL general managers, [Miami Dolphins GM Jeff] Ireland is on the coldest streak ever. He needs to do something right. He doesn't even need to hit a home run. A seeing-eye single would do." -- Peter King
Yep. From MMQB to 2 Live Crew, everybody would like to know what the hell is going on with the Miami Dolphins. In the last week, South Florida's former favorite franchise has swung and missed -- mightily -- on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, the two most attractive options in this class of free agents. Manning gave the Dolphins a cursory listen as they pitched him the idea of making him the face of the team, and just as swiftly said, "No, thanks." He's currently deciding between suitors in Denver, Tennessee and San Francisco. (UPDATE: Manning selected Denver.) The Dolphins then met with Flynn on Saturday, hoping that the former Packers backup would relish a reunion with new head coach Joe Philbin, his offensive coordinator in Green Bay.
No dice. After visiting Seattle and flying to Miami, Flynn headed back to the Emerald City and signed a three-year, $26 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Probably in line with what Miami was offering, but Flynn's take on Seattle's modus operandi may have said more about the Dolphins than it did about the Seahawks.
"I really enjoyed everyone there, and I got a chance to sit with [offensive coordinator] Darrell Bevell and felt really good about the offense, like it was something I knew very well,'' Flynn told King after agreeing to terms. "I just felt like it'd be a great fit."
Now, think about that. If the numbers were about equal, Flynn feels more comfortable with a new offensive coordinator than the guy he worked with throughout his NFL career to date? One has to ask -- who ran that Dolphins meeting, anyway?
With their options narrowing by the minute, the Dolphins are now talking terms with Alex Smith, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has made it very clear that he's not happy about Jim Harbaugh's pursuit of Manning. Smith and the 49ers had talked about the framework of a three-year, $24 million deal, but that got put on hold.
So, here's a guy you'd think would want to join a new team with some talent and a good offensive braintrust, right? Not so fast. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Smith would choose San Francisco over Miami if all else was equal. In fact, Salguero reports, the only way Smith will sign with the Dolphins is if Manning winds up in the Bay Area.
That's right, even the jilted 49ers quarterback would prefer to return to the team that jilted him over the Dolphins organization that on Sunday tried to recruit him to Miami. Smith's camp has made this clear to the Dolphins. I suppose that is one reason they are today scheduled to host former Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard -- a quarterback that obviously does not rise to "franchise quarterback" status but is, well, a body.
Wait ... David Garrard? The former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback who didn't even play in 2011? Seriously -- if Philbin, Ireland and owner Stephen Ross ever hold a press conference in which Garrard is hyped as the future of this franchise, I'm buying a plane ticket from Seattle to Miami. Cognitive dissonance at that level would be a historic "Can't-miss" prospect.
The Dolphins are whiffing on more than just quarterbacks. Philbin would not be their head coach now if either Jim Harbaugh or Jeff Fisher had taken Miami up on their offers to lead the team. But Harbaugh turned them down before taking the 49ers job in 2011, and Fisher decided that the St. Louis Rams -- a team that won two games in 2011 and hasn't had a winning season since 2003 -- would be a better career choice.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark included Miami on his list of stops on his free-agency tour last year, and he eventually took less money to re-sign with the Steelers. On Sunday, Clark blasted the Dolphins via his Twitter account, claiming that "no one" wanted to play for them.
"No one! To believe I almost went there but it was easy decision not to. ... It's my honest opinion. Not a good guy making decisions ... Done w talk of the Dolphins. Good luck to their team. Their [sic] are some good men working hard to win games ON the field. ... After having so much interaction w Phins fans today I am even more excited that I was blessed to stay in Pittsburgh. God knew better than me"
It's hard to know what's going on in that front office unless you're in there, and I'm most definitely not. But it's becoming clearer every day that there's something terribly wrong with the Miami Dolphins. They have a ridiculously rich owner willing to spend money, a GM who built up a good name as a Bill Parcells disciple in Dallas and Miami, a respected head coach in Philbin, and enough talent to compete. What they don't have is the respect of the league, or the people who cover it. What they are becoming is a joke.
If Ross is as serious as he says about turning the Dolphins around and stealing back South Florida's sporting market shares from LeBron James and his buddies, he'd better de-mold his investment ... and he'd better do it soon.