Let me start of by saying I am one of his biggest supporters and I would not trade our current GM for any other GM in the league, that is how happy I am to have Chris Grier as Miami’s GM. And even thought when you look up his history in Miami he is listed as the Dolphins GM since 2016, I only count him as the complete GM since 2019 when Stephen Ross finally gave Grier full control of the team.
That is why some who want to blame Chris Grier for past draft mistakes and even though our humble GM will not throw anybody under the bus he can only get partial blame for some of the decisions made when Mike Tannabuam was Miami’s decision maker, I called Grier at that time Miami’s De facto GM because Mike Tannenbaum really was the one making the final call as Miami’s VP of operations.
It is no coincidence that since 2019 when GM Chris Grier got full control that this team has been on an upward trend. Starting with what was his biggest test, hiring the next Head Coach after Adam Gase was fired. Who doubts that our GM got that right when he named Brian Flores as our next HC?
When Mike Tannabuam was let go the Dolphins were in a mess!
Miami’s Cap History Since 2019: House Cleaning!
2019 was all about one thing for the Dolphins: clearing out bad contracts that were signed by the previous regime to older players who would not be a part of the team’s long-term forecast. It resulted in the highest figure in the league. (See Full Article)
Ryan Tannehill sits on the top of the dead money column with $18.4 million in dead cap space. Miami traded him to the Titans for a 5th round pick and agreed to take on guarantees in the contract. Tannehill has started five games and has the Titans in position to potentially make the post-season.
Ndamukong Suh is next with $13 million. We know that the trades Miami made were going to take some cap hits, Kenny Stills, Kiko Alonso, Laremy Tunsil, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Kenyan Drake, and Robert Quinn, all carry over $1 million in cap space.
It basically all means that the Dolphins have a total of $62,436,902 million in dead cap space on 27 dead contracts. Some of which are kind of funny. Consider that Isaiah Ford has a dead-money hit of $264K but was re-signed to the practice squad and now is on the active roster.
Grier had to let Dolphins Owner know of the bitter pill he had to swallow in 2019 as the decision to rebuild was the move GM Chris Grier made and as usual Miami’s owner did not blink an eye and allowed Grier to make the moves he did!
2020 Start to Rebuild:
In the latest X’s and O’s Dave Hyde in his cynical ways debated with Omar Kelly about when the rebuild started and I can side with them both as Kelly said that 2019 was about tearing down and he considers the start of rebuilding to be in 2020. Like I said it all depends on how negative one wants to be and for Mr Hyde he is always taking the negative road!
If you want to be technical it can be said that 2019 was the start of the rebuild but I tend to lean with Omar in saying 2019 was all about tearing down or undoing and 2020 was the real start of the rebuild.
So how was Miami’s cap situation in 2020?
2020 was more of the same (like in 2019), only to a lesser degree. Miami, in 2020, still owed dead cap for the past contracts due to safety Reshad Jones ($10.1M), safety Minkah Fitzpatrick ($5M), linebacker Kiko Alonso ($2.2M) and many others — all signings or selections from a past regime under Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and (to a degree that is debated) Grier.
Over the last two seasons, the Dolphins accounted for over $100M in cap space that went to players no longer on the team. So, when you hear the Dolphins talk about attacking building a team with a “sustainable winner” in mind, this is why they operate the way they do. Paying big money up front and then deferring the balance to years down the road and having to foot the bill only part-way through the original financed window can create crippling backlogs of salary cap space that you cannot spend.
These Dolphins do not do that. And now, entering year three of a new era, the team is finally free of the restrictions that bad habits of the past.
The Dolphin after clearing the cap had over 200 million to spend in 2020 and went shopping!
2021 Projected overall cap space: $30,423,032
This was before free agency and they were ranked 8th in the league in cap space even after spending over 200 million last year. Who really can argue with what a great JOB GM Chris Grier and his staff has done?
With all that being said, I do have one burning issue with our GM and his draft strategy.
Miami’s GM believes in drafting the best player available no matter the position ( I would exclude QB at least for this year) I tend to lean towards drafting the best player available with the position in mind. I recall Grier explaining why he draft his way is because he used an example of Houston drafting JJ Watt even though they did not need a DE (I am not exactly sure it was Watt but you get the point)
To me you need to first plug any and every hole by position and then draft BPA.
I will give you two examples of why this is a flawed draft strategy.
Example 1 Leonte Carroo
I still recall scratching my head on that pick for more than just the fact that they drafted a WR when that was the least of our needs but also the fact that they made a trade and gave up quite a bit to get Caroo. Miami traded back in the 3rd round with the Minnesota Vikings (86th pick overall) and gave up their 6th rounder, and our 3rd and 4th round picks in 2017 for WR Leonte Carroo out of Rutgers University. Miami at the time had Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker on their roster so where would Carroo find a spot to play?
Carroo struggled with learning the playbook, weight issues and even being demoted behind undrafted WR Rashawn Scott. He never lived up to expectations and has never been an effective WR in the NFL…a total bust!
Example 2: Noah Igbinoghene
Last year many of us were clamoring for Miami to draft one of the top RB’s with one of their 3 first round picks and we all felt that at pick 30 would be the best time to do so. So, you can imagine how my jaw dropped when the name Noah Igbinoghene was called as Miami’s pick at #30. My desire was for Miami to draft Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor and even after passing him at 30 the Dolphins had pick #39 and once again did not take an RB!
Jonathan Taylor was selected with pick #41 by the Colts and he did not disappoint!
How about Noah Igbinoghene? Well, he struggled last year, I still hope he pans out but when Miami paid so much money in free agency for Byron Jones to play opposite X did they really need to draft Igbinoghene at 30? Noah needs playing time and he would have been better served being drafted by a team that did not have two pro bowl CB’s that are top 5 paid players in the league at their position.
The reason why that happened is because of a philosophy that I find extremely flawed! Taking the BPA, no matter the need. I feel you should fill all needs with the best players of that specific need and then draft BPA over the years.
That is the ONLY ISSUE I have with GM Chris Grier because everything else he has been hitting Home Runs I’m just hoping that last year’s mistake wont’ be repeated at the RB position when Miami is in prime position to draft Alabama RB Najee Harris, but I am already bracing for the letdown…stay tuned!
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