The 2016 Dolphins were built in "win now" mode by two different coaching staffs, both trying to meet the expectations of an aging, impatient owner. The result is that we have built a team that reflects no particular person's values, but that involves a great number of high risk, low reward gambits.
Problem 1: Where we spent the money. No good team in the league spends 30% of its salary on offense and defense on the lines.
Offensive Line: The desperation wrought by bullygate led to a series of high priced linemen (most notably Albert) who are sucking up a massive quantity of cap space. Instead of patiently developing a line, we took the express lane and managed to fix the unit. Express solutions are expensive, however. A big part of this problem will be fixed when Tunsil moves to tackle next year and we cut Albert. We can do what most teams in the league have done and find a journeyman guard.
Defensive Line: The desperation wrought by our porous run defense led to the signing of Suh. Ok- he's great. But it made no sense for a team that was denying that it was in rebuilding mode to commit so much loot to a win-now superstar. All of the other troubling moves we have made as a consequence of this signing (letting Lamar Miller go for cap reasons, for instance) have made this move very, very expensive for Miami. A quick thought is that we traded Olivier Vernon, Rishard Matthews, and Miller straight up for Suh- and chucked in a third round pick (Leonte Caroo) to boot.
Problem 2: Undervaluing crucial positions on the football field because we have a wannabe, trend chasing front office as opposed to visionaries.
Dawn Aponte, Mike Tannenbaum, whatever Tampa castoff comes next- all have been trying to follow blueprints established by other teams rather than thinking about their own needs and vision. The result is that when conventional wisdom in the NFL decided running backs were overvalued, we undervalued ours. When the NFL common wisdom said linebackers didn't matter, we passed on players like Kendricks, Barr, and Jack (to name only players from UCLA) so that we could load up at other positions. We are built incorrectly. Today's great NFL teams have running backs and linebackers. We are out in the cold.
Problem 3: Hiring Joe Philbin. He killed us- for a decade. His "my way or the highway, tie your shoes young man" approach to coaching led to purges of players of tremendous value. How much would Vontae Davis have helped us? This disastrous, fearful hire set us back so far. This staff will be great- but they have to start from too far down to recover this year.
The solution: blow it up and get the contracts right to compete in two years. Get out of the monster contracts in dead end positions like left tackle. Today's NFL offenses throw quickly- they don't need four seconds on the edge. Get rid of Suh- he can't win games against rookie lines, and his salary is killing us. Hang on to young talent, and don't make Miami a retirement community for aging vets.
And maybe don't blitz on every third down against mobile rookie quarterbacks. But that's another story...