Dolphins sending wrong message to vets?

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
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What did the Brandon Marshall trade, cutting Chad Johnson, starting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and trading Vontae Davis all have in common?

It’s a clear indication the Miami Dolphins are sacrificing 2012 to build for the future.

The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode this season. That was further confirmed Sunday when Miami traded perhaps its most physically gifted corner -- Davis -- for a second-round pick and a conditional sixth-rounder in 2013 to the Indianapolis Colts.

The trade, like the other aforementioned moves, does nothing to make the Dolphins a better team right now. But it could help them improve next year and beyond.

Miami's coaching staff and front office have avoided using the "rebuild" word this year. But unless general manager Jeff Ireland has a big trick up his sleeve, the team's actions says the Dolphins are more concerned with winning later than right now.

There was a reason linebacker Karlos Dansby lashed out after Johnson was cut -- Miami released its most capable receiver and Dansby knew it. He practiced against Johnson every day. We now see the result, as Miami’s receivers are struggling mightily to make plays and catch the football.

We could see more poor play in the secondary, as well. Miami's pass defense already was shaky with Davis. The Dolphins were 25th against the pass last year and hasn’t looked much better in the preseason. Maybe a young corner like Nolan Carroll will step up, but Carroll doesn’t have the same level of starting experience and physical gifts as Davis.

Solid veterans like Dansby, Reggie Bush, Kevin Burnett and others in Miami's locker room know they only have so many good years in the NFL. Players want to win now, and every year they feel they have a chance to make the playoffs.

But it's the job of the front office also to be realistic with its roster and come to grips with the fact that Miami is a long way away from contending.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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