Here is a very intriguing and important question for the Miami Dolphins: Will the team take a rebuilding or a reloading approach in 2016?
Sure, the Dolphins’ brass will say publicly that they are out to win a championship. But their actions this offseason, especially when it comes to veteran players, will be a much clearer indication of how they view this year and this roster under rookie coach Adam Gase and rookie general manager Chris Grier.
Here is the case for both sides:
Why the Dolphins should reload: This is a roster built to win now. Actually, it was built to win last year, which is why Miami is projected to be over the salary cap. The Dolphins have a lot of high-priced veterans, led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh ($23.5 million), quarterback Ryan Tannehill ($9.34 million) and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey ($9.025), all of whom are in their prime. Miami’s front office would be wasting a lot of money and another year of losing by tearing down the team and completely starting over with younger players. It’s also been seven straight years of missing the playoffs, and owner Stephen Ross is tired of losing. He’s pumping hundreds of millions into stadium renovations and, naturally, wants results.
Why the Dolphins should rebuild: To be blunt, Miami has a baaaaad roster that is not built to win a Super Bowl anytime soon. It is overpaid, doesn’t have enough game-breaking talent and lacks leadership. That’s how you end up with an underachieving, 6-10 season. Look for Miami to make a lot of veteran cuts, which in some ways is an admission of past mistakes with players not living up to their contract. Gase will get time to implement his program. He’s also going to make rookie mistakes along the way, which is expected. Gase needs time to get players who fit his system and his coaching staff. It’s unrealistic to expect everything to come together right away.
What’s my take? I'd take a rebuilding approach. The Dolphins should spend most of their resources building through the draft over the next two or three years. Trying for quick fixes hasn’t worked in Miami. It’s usually led to major strikeouts, like the 2015 season. Sustainable, long-term success should be the goal.