The purpose of this post is to give an accurate account of Jeff Irelands time on this team. If any information is missing or incorrect it is not due to sinister motives. For quotes I try and always provide the link, for draft information I used NFL’s draft history page, for trades/free agents/hold outs I used a google search and got various sources. Everything else should be my opinion.
The players that are underlined are those still on this team. The players whose names are bolded are currently free agents or out of the league. Those left alone are on other teams. I will not be doing either of those things for our latest draft class. Almost all of them should be on this team or practice squad. If they are not, it was a completely wasted draft pick.
Keep in mind, this list might be a bit imperfect as it is often difficult to track down players who are simply signed to fill out rosters. As well, I will not differentiate the quality of the players, as that is subjective. Some of who appear to be on teams are on practice squads or have only been signed to fill a roster spot after an injury. Regardless, they are on a team and that is all that is required.
1) (1st) Jake Long. 2) (32nd) Phillip Merling. 3) (57th) Chad Henne. 3) (66th) Kendall Langford. 4) (110th) Shawn Murphy. 6) (176th) Jalen Parmele. 6) (195th) Donald Thomas. 6) (204th) Lex Hilliard. 7) (245th) Lionel Dotson
1) (25th) Vontae Davis. 2) (44th) Pat White. 2) (61st) Sean Smith. 3) (87th) Patrick Turner. 4) (108th) Brian Hartline. 5) (161st) John Nalbone. 5) (165th) Chris Clemons. 6) (181st) Andrew Gardner. 7) (214th) J.D. Folsom
1) (28th) Jared Odrick. 2) (40th) Koa Misi. 3) (73rd) John Jerry. 4) (119th) A.J. Edds. 5) (145th) Nolan Carroll. 5) (163rd) Reshad Jones. 7) (212th) Chris McCoy. 7) (252nd) Austin Spitler
1) (15th) Mike Pouncey. 2) (62nd) Daniel Thomas. 4) (111th) Edmond Gates. 6) (174th) Charles Clay. 7) (231st) Frank Kearse. 7) (235th) Jimmy Wilson
1) (8th) Ryan Tannehill. 2) (42nd) Jonathan Martin. 3) (72nd) Oliver Vernon. 3) (78th) Michael Egnew. 4) (97th) Lamar Miller. 5) (155th) Josh Kaddu. 6) (183rd) B.J. Cunningham. 7) (215th) Kheeston Randall. 7) (227th) Rishard Matthews
Of the 32 players drafted from 2008-2011, only 14 remain on our team. That does not take into account players such as Chris Clemons and Nolan Carroll who are recently struggling or Koa Misi who had to change positions to find any sort of success.
Free Agency and Trades
For this section I am only going to list those that have made noticeable impact or were fairly big or noteworthy signings and trades. Every team regularly rotates players at the bottom of the roster.
Earnest Wilford was signed in 2008 to a 4 year, $13 million contract with a $6 million signing bonus. He caught 3 passes and was released the following offseason after a failed attempt to convert him into a tight end.
Reggie Torbor was signed in 2008 to a 4 year, $14 million contract. He was released in 2010.
Justin Smiley was signed in 2008 to a 5 year, $25 million contract with $9 million guaranteed. He was traded to the Jaguars in 2010 for a conditional 7th round pick.
Randy Starks was signed in 2008 to a 5 year, $21 million contract with $7 million guaranteed. He remains a very productive member of our team.
Chad Pennington was signed in 2008 to a 2 year, $11.5 million contract. He was a productive member of our team the first year before getting injured in his second year. He was resigned to a 1 year, $5.75 million conditional contract. The condition was on if he was starting, it would drop to $2.5 million as a backup. He has since retired.
Vernon Carey was resigned in 2009 to a 6 year, $42 million contract with $15 million guaranteed. He was forced to restructure his contract in 2011 and was released the following offseason.
Yeremiah Bell was resigned in 2009 to a 4 year, $20 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. He was a productive member of our team until being cut before the 2012 season.
Gibril Wilson was signed in 2009 to a 5 year, $27 million contract with $8 million guaranteed. He was released in 2010.
Jake Grove was signed in 2009 to a 5 year, $29 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed. He was cut in 2010.
Cam Wake was signed in 2009 to a 4 year, $4 million contract. He remains a very productive member of our team.
Karlos Dansby was signed in 2010 to a 5 year, $43 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. He remains a productive member of our team.
Richie Incognito was signed in 2010 to a 1 year contract. He was resigned in 2011 to a 3 year contract worth roughly $12 million. He remains on this team.
Kevin Burnett was signed in 2011 to a 4 year, $20 million contract. He remains a productive member of our team.
Marc Colombo was signed in 2011 to a 1 year, $2 million contract. This was a unforgivable sin.
Paul Soliai was resigned in 2012 to a 2 year, $12 million contract.
David Garrard was signed in 2012 to a 1 year, incentive laden contract. He was released before the season began.
Jason Ferguson was acquired from Dallas in 2008 for a 6th round pick. He was a productive member of our team until his retirement in 2010.
Anthony Fasano and Akin Ayodele were acquired in 2008 a 4th round pick. Fasano remains a productive member of our team while Ayodele was cut in 2010.
Jason Taylor was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2008 for a 2nd and 6th round pick.
Tony McDaniel was acquired from Jacksonville in 2009 for a 7th round pick. He is still a member of our team.
Brandon Marshall was acquired from Denver in 2010 for two 2nd round picks. He was given a 4 year, $47.5 million contract extension with $24 million guaranteed. He was traded in 2012 for two 3rd round picks.
Benny Sapp was acquired from the Vikings in 2010 for Greg Camarillo. Sapp was cut during the 2011 season.
Reggie Bush was acquired from the Saints in 2011 for Jonathan Amaya and a swap of 6th round picks. He remains a productive member of our team.
Vontae Davis was traded to the Colts in 2012 for a 2nd and 6th round pick.
Of the 25 signings and trades I listed above 12 could be considered disasters. This list does not include the majority of the signings we made this offseason, which was an almost a complete failure. The only one who has “worked out” is Richard Marshall, who was recently put on Injury Reserve. If anyone was confused about why we didn’t have much cap room this past offseason, merely see the signings we made early in Irelands tenure.
Matt Roth- A very curious episode for our team. To this day, I still haven’t found much information on what exactly happened. As I recall it, Roth had been disappointed about his contract, and then skipped camp because of an illness, only for that illness to turn into a supposed groin injury. He was cut during the season.
Cam Wake- Wake did not attend the start of voluntary workouts this past offseason in protest. He was set to receive 650k for the final year of his contract. On May 6th he received a 4 year, $49 million contract extension.
Ryan Tannehill- Tannehill missed the start of training camp over a contract dispute. The issue revolved around the concept of “offset language”. If Tannehill was cut and signed by another team, Miami did not want to pay the remainder of the original contract. For both sides the real issue revolved around the philosophical differences and not the actual money. Neither side wanted to set a precedent. The holdout lasted 2 days before Tannehill ended it out of a desire to return to practice. Miami successfully included the offset language but made Tannehill’s contract almost completely guaranteed so he would receive the vast majority of the money owed.
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/rumors-scoop-du-jour/dolphins-deciding-between-joe-philbin-mike-mccoy-115159762.htmlMcCoy "reportedly has the support of Ireland, whose opinions carry significant weight with Ross," the Herald reports. However, the word is that it is a very close decision between McCoy and Philbin.
http://www.dolphinstalk.com/2012/01/schefter-ross-wants-philbin-ireland.htmlAdam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that word around the league is that Stephen Ross wants to hire Joe Philbin while Jeff Ireland wants to hire Mike McCoy. It will be interesting to see who wins this battle and if Ireland gets his way then we really know he is here for the long haul and Ross has total belief in him.
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2012/01/at-4-pm-today-the-dolphins-will-introduce-joe-philbin-as-their-new-head-coach-and-one-assumes-theyll-explain-why-they-picke.htmlAnd he was even more confident after flying to New York for a Thursday interview because that went a full eight hours -- nine hours if you count the meal -- and afterward general manager Jeff Ireland told McCoy that if things went as expected, the team would send a plane for McCoy and the family to bring them from Denver back to South Florida on Friday.
Many on this forum stick to a few ill conceived notions. I’ll address a handful of them. Do note that I am not intentionally calling out specific posters, just general themes that currently exist.
-Our plan is to build through the draft.
Every team in the league plans to build through the draft. Every single one of them. Even those teams that hit free agency like a 16 year old teenager with her parents credit card declares it is building through the draft. Every once in awhile a team like the Jets and Eagles will pop up and spend hard, but that lasts for a season or two before the experiment fails and its back to the draft. Even those two examples aren’t particularly apt, the Jets hit free agency fairly hard after years of drafting high in the first round(sometimes multiple times in the first round) and the Eagles stock piled second round picks. I don’t expect people to take my declaration on faith alone, so here are three recent and vastly different examples:
http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/2012/08/25/news-and-notes-eagles-vs-browns/Haslam said on WKYC Ch. 3 during the third quarter. “We’re in this for the long run. We’re not going to knee-jerk. We’re going to hang with it. We’re going to build through the draft.
http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/post/_/id/34645/shanahan-mailbag-skins-a-12-contenderMike Shanahan: “But we talked about, when I came here, that with the salary cap you've got to build through the draft”.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765613351/Panthers-GM-Hurney-fired-after-teams-1-5-start.htmlHurney's philosophy has been to build through the draft and re-sign proven players rather than going after high-priced free agents.
One is a brand new owner. The other just traded away a shocking amount of picks on a single player. The final one is a general manager who had been trading away high future picks for lower present picks. All insisting they were or will be building through the draft.
-You can’t fire a general manager or else you will lose your coach.
I’ve already established that Ireland played, at best, little role in hiring Philbin. Yet, people will undoubtedly go on believing that Ross will fire his handpicked head coach after a single season. So, to that effect, here is a list of General Managers hired after the head coach was hired:
Rick Smith hired June 5, 2006. Gary Kubiak hired January 26, 2006.
Jerry Reese hired 2007. Tom Coughlin hired January 6, 2004.
Kevin Colbert hired 2000. Bill Cowher hired 1992.
Randy Mueller, hired June 6, 2005. Nick Saban hired December 25, 2004
Ozzie Newsome, hired November 22, 2002. Brian Billick hired January 19, 1999.
Ted Thompson, hired 2005. Mike Sherman hired 2000.
As you can see, some of the more talented and respected general managers (…oh and that other guy, Mueller) were hired after their coaches were on the team. Multiple general managers I listed are still on their respective teams and the coaches stayed for numerous years before any changes were made. From that list only Mike Sherman was fired after a single season though this was due to him accumulating one of the worst season records in franchise history. I chose those examples because of the diversity of situations. Every situation is different, which is my point. I find it hard to believe Ross would allow someone to fire his handpicked head coach.
-Picking and choosing which events Ireland is responsible for.
There isn’t much to say about this subject that hasn’t already been said. Many on this board feel the Pat White selection wasn’t Jeff Irelands fault. Many of those same people also make posts praising Ireland for signing Cameron Wake. I’m always amused by this, seeing as how both those events happened in the same offseason.
Jeff Ireland has held the title of General Manager since 2008. He has been paid accordingly for that position. If he can literally cash the checks of a general manager, he should be held accountable as general manager.
-We have to spend high draft picks on glaring holes.
Many feel that our draft picks are justified because we have a glaring hole on the roster. This has been the “logic” used when selecting centers and right tackles in the top two rounds. Like many emotional reactions to devastating news, this notion has flaws.
When Martin Mayhew drafted Ryan Broyles in the second round, many reporters and fans questioned the pick. After all, they had a glaring hole at cornerback and they had talented receivers. His response was merely pointing out that the team was strong at the wideout position today but it won’t be in the future. Nate Burleson is 31 years old and will surely start slowing down soon. In later interviews he and Jim Shwartz pointed out that talent rules their board and they grab what falls regardless of the position. One such interview is linked below. Bottom line is: The Lions successfully filled a hole before it was created.
If another example is needed look no further than the 2011 draft. Going into the draft the Dallas Cowboys desperately needed offensive lineman. They were bleeding at that position and made it clear to everyone they would be addressing it. So, with the 9th overall pick, they selected Tyron Smith. Two picks later the Houston Texans drafted the most talented player on their board: J.J. Watt. Smith has become a pretty good tackle. Watt has become one of the best players in the league. And a year later the Cowboys are now noticing they need defensive ends.
-Ireland killed the Orton trade.
http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=7031691&wjb=Just when the Dolphins were about to trade a fourth-round pick to the Broncos for quarterback Kyle Orton in August, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to pay the three-year, $27 million extension that the quarterback and Miami already had agreed to, league sources said.
-Its Irelands job to get the players Philbin wants.
Jeff Ireland ultimately has a single job: to build a winning team. That’s it. As he isn’t also a coach the only way he can fulfill his job is to build a talented roster.
How he does that is fairly irrelevant. If he does it by spending hard in free agency, so be it. If he does it by trading away all his draft picks for a single talented player, so be it. If he does it by drafting huge lineman, so be it. If he does it by drafting players Philbin wants, so be it. The only thing that matters is building a winning roster. Which is not to say some methods aren’t superior to others, but that’s beside the point.
Coaches in this league have a high turnover rate. Every single season head coaching positions are open. I believe the average time span is now 2 years for head coaches. If your team has not improved during its second season, most don’t get a third. And that is just for head coaches. Position coaches and coordinators turn over even more, as they are often thrown under the bus by embattled head coaches. It’s simply not possible to reinvent our roster every single time we get a new coach. It’s much easier to merely adjust the playbook to the talent we have available to us.
There are only 32 general manager jobs in the league. Only 32 jobs available that allow you to mold a franchise in your image. 32 jobs available that allow you to prove your way of team building is the correct way. 32 jobs available in which you are only answerable to the owner. Less, if you count teams such as Dallas and New England. I’m stressing this point to show that people will climb over each other for a chance to run a franchise. Last year, the Oakland general manager position was as bad as it gets. No cap, no draft picks, and a team filled with bad talent. Yet, even that didn’t scare off candidates. Many people threw their name into the hat including some who had secure jobs and could have waited a year for a better team to open its door.
Regardless, no matter how much this post makes sense, people will ignore it because I didn’t provide any alternatives. As the notion that one shouldn’t criticize without offering a solution is fair, I will indulge this point. Note that this isn’t some final list and if they walk into Ross’ office and start talking about how they need to spend first round picks on offensive lineman, I would have no problem with Ross’ showing them the door. As well, this list will continue to evolve as actions around the league continue to develop. The list is in descending order, from most preferred to most hesitant.
Russ Ball- the current Vice President of Football Administrations for the Green Bay Packers. Russ Ball is also in charge of Player Finance. In his current role he is responsible for negotiating player contracts and managing the salary cap. On top of what he would bring to the team, he also should have an established working relationship with Philbin.
Scot McCoughlan- the former general manager for the 49’ers. He was let go by the 49’ers for “personal reasons” but has been in the running for other general manager jobs since. He is currently working in Seattle’s front office. With the exception of 2 offensive lineman and Aldon Smith, McCoughlan built the majority of the 49’ers team that is enjoying so much recent success.
Brian Gaine- is our current Director of Player Personnel. He interviewed for the St. Louis Rams job last offseason and his name has been linked to various other general manager positions.
Brian Xanders- the former Denver Broncos general manager. He was let go after John Elway felt he had enough experience to handle fulltime general manager duty. Xanders worked for three different coaches while in Denver, counting his year as assistant general manager during Shanahan’s reign, with no apparent problems or conflicts. The only concern is he never had full control of roster moves and draft selections.
It would not be an exaggeration to say this coming offseason is the most important in franchise history. We will have 5 picks in the first three rounds and anywhere from $50-$60 million in cap space available. Given our current record and upcoming schedule it’s also plausible that we will have a top 10 pick in the draft. While it’s obvious to everyone why those things are important, it is also worth mentioning how the rest of the league will be affected by our offseason. Virtually any misstep can help every other team in the league. Every good player we miss is one the other teams do not. Every bad contract we create will lead to less cap money in the future, allowing other teams to sign players we are potentially interested in.
I once read an article concerning the balance of power in the NFL and how it seems to shift every decade. The evidence was compelling. The 70’s and 00’s belonged to the AFC and the 80’s and 90’s belonged to the NFC. Those conferences usually had a higher number of top caliber teams and usually won the Superbowl at the end of the season. After a decade of dominance from the AFC, the balance seems to have shifted back towards the NFC.
I mention this not to depress people, but to inspire. The AFC is wide open. Teams such as Denver and New England will fall back to earth after their quarterbacks retire in the next couple seasons. Teams with an established franchise quarterback such as the Colts will still require another couple of years to fully rebuild. The ammunition we have this coming offseason presents us with an opportunity to take a drastic early lead on rebuilding. And, as we’ve seen time and again, once you get to the Superbowl anything can happen.
I left out a few noticeable subjects. Ireland has landed himself in hot water multiple times “off the field” since he has been here. Some free agents have walked out of his office and refused to sign with us. Ryan Clark identified Ireland as the biggest reason why he resigned with the Steelers. Peyton Manning refused to even step into a room with Ireland. Ireland might or might not have been physically present during the Harbaugh fiasco. Bobby Carpenter. Will Allen’s cutting and subsequent resigning after Benny Sapp was exposed. Some of the illogical beliefs that are just too farfetched.
In the end, I don’t particularly care if you want to fire Jeff Ireland or not. I simply made this list to show exactly what he has done (and not done) since becoming our general manager and how some of the outspoken assumptions are incorrect in the face of evidence. For myself, I believe it’s obvious what we should do with our current situation. Everyone else will have to make their own opinion. Hopefully this post helps.