AFC East: Dick Haley
Grant from Mobile, Ala., recently wrote into the AFC East mailbag:
Hey Tim, Enjoy your work. Seeing that Anquan Boldin's relationship continues to be rocky with the Cards (he didn't even celebrate with his team after they advanced to their first Super Bowl in 60+ years), how can the FINS sweep in and get the game-breaker at WR they desperately need? What would it take to get him? The 25th pick?? Am I dreaming here? Thanks.
Thanks for dropping a line, Grant. You're not alone in your curiosity about the dangerous Arizona Cardinals receiver.
Boldin to the Dolphins has been speculated on message boards and sports radio for months.
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has fueled some of the discussions by dropping not-so-subtle hints Boldin would love to play for the Dolphins, but mostly Boldin wants out of Arizona and Miami is a convenient reference because the Dolphins have a need, Boldin is from Pahokee, Fla., and Rosenhaus works out of Miami.
Boldin has groused about his contract (two years left on a $22.75 million deal), blasted his head coach, requested a trade and twice declared he would never re-sign with the Cardinals.
But my NFC West colleague, Mike Sando, has written several times this season it would be unwise for the Cardinals to trade him.
As for Boldin's sideline explosion with Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley, keep this in mind: Whatever Haley really thinks of Boldin already has been absorbed by Dolphins football operations boss Bill Parcells.
Haley considers Parcells his mentor. When Parcells was head coach of the New York Jets, Haley was his wide receivers coach. In Parcells' last two seasons as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Haley was his passing game coordinator (future Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was the running game coordinator).
So Parcells and Haley were forced to cope with diva Terrell Owens together in 2006.
See where I'm going with this?
Parcells had designs on luring Haley from the Cardinals when assembling the coaching staff last year. He did add Haley's father, Dick Haley, to the Dolphins front office as a player personnel analyst. Dick Haley was the Pittsburgh Steelers' player personnel director from 1971 to 1991, winning four Super Bowls.
Parcells certainly would trust whatever Todd Haley thinks, and his opinion of Boldin might not be all that flattering. For all of Boldin's abilities, Haley hasn't been calling his number much in the postseason: Six catches for 106 yards in two games, with 71 of those yards coming on his lone touchdown.
Haley on Monday was saying all the right things about his public blow-up with Boldin. Haley was diplomatic. He chalked it up as two passionate competitors disagreeing in the heat of battle.
But Parcells is not a big fan of drama. Even though the Dolphins won the AFC East, they still are in the rebuilding stages as an organization.
A player like Boldin might not be the best fit from a chemistry standpoint.
But the Dolphins lacked a difference-maker at receiver. Boldin showed a warrior's heart by missing only two games after suffering a facial injury in Week 4 against the Jets. Boldin finished with 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns.
I don't believe a Boldin-to-Miami trade will happen. He's a valuable contributor to a team that just won the NFC title, and the Dolphins might not be interested anyway.
But if Boldin keeps trying to force his way out of Arizona and the discord becomes insurmountable, anything is possible.