- What to make of the Dolphins looking at Jonathan Taylor? Not much. Certainly not as much as made during it. They want a running back a low price. Nothing wrong with that. Taylor, especially, has prime years and less wear on his side compared to another one they looked at, Dalvin Cook. But no one was offering a No. 1 pick for Taylor as Indianapolis wanted. Beyond that, who wants to pay a running back top dollar right now? And beyond that: Did Colts owner Jim Irsay sound like someone wanting to free Taylor and watch him succeed elsewhere? Finally, the idea is to rent running backs — emphasis on running. If they can both run and catch the ball (meaning line up in the slot at times to cause mismatches and defensive shuffling), then they’re the kind of rare weapon this offense wants. Those kind of running backs — Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey come to mind — are fits for what the Dolphins want. Taylor hasn’t shown he’s that kind of back. So, the Dolphins put in a too-low bid to see if Indy would bite and walked away when it didn’t. Evidently, this unknown Team X people are talking about also walked away — if there ever was a Team X. Agents and teams can say anything under the cloak of anonymity. A lot of overdone talk for a player who remains Indianapolis’s headache.
2. Noah Igbinoghene got more chances to prove himself more than any player in Dolphins history. Three seasons and four offseasons for a player who never showed much (a game-saving pick against Pittsburgh was the high-note outlier). That’s the story of the player he was traded for, Kelvin Joseph, in Dallas, too. It’s a nothing-for-nothing trade in the hope something clicks for them. A Change-of-Scenery Special.
3.The Dolphins have some issues on the offensive line? Who doesn’t? The Bills have the best offensive line in the division, and they’re looking for depth at tackle. In fact, every team in the AFC East is either looking for help (Jets, Bills), has traded for moderate help (Patriots) or is crossing their fingers (Dolphins). Here’s the state of so many team’s lines: Dan Feeney, who the Dolphins signed this offseason for depth, showed nothing this summer and was traded to Chicago for a sixth-round pick. The Dolphins have thrown a full draft at the line over the past few years and still needed to sign two free agents. You’d hope it’d be better. But entering the season with questions at offensive line is the story of 80 percent of the NFL.
4. Buffalo was in on the Trey Lance talks, according to reports for a simple reason: Kyle Allen is their backup quarterback. Josh Allen is headed to the Hall of Fame. But behind him? They wanted Lance at a much cheaper price than Dallas paid to kick the tires on his possibilities.
5. With no Tremaine Edmunds at linebacker, no Von Miller at defensive end and questions across the secondary, the Buffalo defense is the easiest of the first four games for the Dolphins’ offense.
6. It’s Mac Jones’s show in New England. There’s no one else besides him at quarterback. Bill Belichick either doesn’t like Bailey Zappe and/or Malik Cunningham or thinks he can squeeze one through waivers to re-sign. The question of the day for them and every other team considering a waived player: Do you want to put him on your 53-man roster?
7. Everyone knows the Dolphins have a window of this year to win before the salary-cap gremlins will need tending. This isn’t a team built for five years but one, maybe two years. Listen to Belichick talk of the salary cap recently on WEEI in Boston:
“Cash spending isn’t really that relevant. It’s cap spending,” Belichick said. “So teams that spend a lot of cash one year probably don’t spend a lot of cash in the next year, because you just can’t sustain that. So we’ve had high years, we’ve had low years, but our cap spending has always been high. And that’s the most competitive position you can be in. So that’s really — the cash spending, there’s no cash cap. There’s a salary cap and we spend to the salary cap, that’s what’s important.”
Belichick said going “all in” with cash spending is not sustainable.
“Temporarily you can,’’ he said. “You can’t sustain it, no. I mean you can’t sustain the 20 years of success that we sustained by overspending every year without having to eventually pay those bills and play with a lesser team.
“So I think if you look at the teams that have done that, that’s kind of where some of them ended up. Jacksonville back in ’14, the Rams are going through it, Tampa’s going through it now. Not saying there’s anything right or wrong with it, it’s just a different way of doing things, and there’s a result for doing that.”
8. Only 13 teams had three quarterbacks after cut-down day. That means a lot of teams will be looking to add quarterbacks.
9. The prime optimism for the Dolphins remains their top-end talent. It’s fragile, but here. The disappointment with the Dolphins is they couldn’t develop much depth. Why? Well, they’ve had few picks the last two years due to trades and missed on too many picks, especially on the offensive line, when they were flush with picks. Simple as that.
10. It’s 12 days to the opener, and I can’t wait. But there’s a conflict to liking football this much knowing the end result is so many crushed bodies and minds, as I wrote in a column this week.