They need speed? They got the Usain Bolt of NFL receivers. They need production? They signed a guy with eight touchdowns last year – nearly triple the three touchdowns the Dolphins receivers had combined. They needed a prime target for quarterback Ryan Tannehill? The top name in free agency moved into the Dolphins lineup within the first available moments on Tuesday afternoon. Mike Wallace brings plenty the Dolphins offense lacked last season, plenty Tannehill needs to develop in Year 2 and plenty this franchise needs to bring some excitement to a starved fan base. Wallace gives the Dolphins a home-run hitter, a receiver who'll be just 27 this August and a player whom opposing defenses worry about every play he's on the field. That would have been enough for Dolphins on Tuesday. But General Manager Jeff Ireland also delivered a surprise makeover of the linebacker corps. Karlos Dansby and James Burnett are out. Free agents Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler are in So Ireland had a plan, followed it and this was a big day in reshaping the Dolphins. Big names. Big news. Big hopes. Big headlines. And, if we're being honest, there's big risk, too. Dansby and Burnett, for instance, once were the big hopes and big names at linebacker. They came when Brandon Marshall was the big buy at receiver. Now they're all gone with few wins to show for it, replaced by newer, more expensive names. Will it be better this time? Wallace carried the biggest price tag of anyone in free agency with a whopping five-year, $65-million contract. That's the nature of NFL free agency. You overpay. And you cross your fingers you don't find out why the previous team let the player go. We'll know the Dolphins are back to relevance when days like Tuesday pass silently. Just look at the teams making noise signing players for inflated money. Cleveland. Chicago. Kansas City. St. Louis. The Dolphins. What do they have in common? None of them made the playoffs last year. Or, Chicago aside, for years. Meanwhile, what do teams that dumped expensive players overboard like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Green Bay, New England and the New York Giants have in common? They've all won Super Bowls recently. They're annual contenders. They can afford to let overpriced players leave their roster because they've drafted well enough through the years to have replacements ready.
Wallace brings what Dolphins need
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Mar 13