After coming off a 6-10 season, the Miami Dolphins had a lot of questions to answer going into the offseason. Questions like: who would replace Tony Sparano? And will they draft their quarterback of the future?
The Dolphins have had a relatively quiet offseason, but that doesn't mean there haven't been any positives.
There's a new head coach that is looking to bring a winning mentality to South Florida; they drafted Ryan Tannehill to take over the franchise in the near future; and—in the eyes of many—they had a very good draft.
Here's a look at five developments that have the franchise going in the positive direction.
The leader and most intimidating defensive player for the Miami Dolphins, Cameron Wake, was rewarded with a brand new contract this offseason.
Wake, who missed the start of voluntary workouts because he was unhappy with his contract, got his wish. Wake agreed to a four-year, $49 million contract with $20 million guaranteed.
The Dolphins could not afford to lose Wake, as he was the only consistent pass rusher last year. He is a player that always gives his full effort, and teammates will rally around him. Two years ago Wake was voted as a starter in the Pro Bowl, and it wouldn't surprise me if it happened again this year.
The re-signing of Wake will help develop this defense to even bigger heights, and Wake will be a cornerstone for years to come.
When Tony Sparano was let go before last season ended, many wondered who would be willing to take a chance on coaching a franchise that lately hasn't lived up to its name.
Jeff Fisher was probably the most sought after coach this offseason, and Miami was considered among the teams that had the best chance of getting him. When he decided to take the Rams' coaching job, a lot of people figured the Dolphins would go with a rookie head coach, instead of a proven coach.
The hiring of Joe Philbin does a lot of good for this organization. It brings someone in that knows what it's like to play in the Super Bowl, to have one of the top offenses in the league, and who is willing to win at any cost.
Joe Philbin, as of now, appears to be the real deal and may revive the Dolphins into the franchise it once was.
1999. That was the year Dan Marino retired. That was also the beginning of Miami's roller coaster of quarterbacks. Sixteen quarterbacks have come, and 16 quarterbacks have gone.
Miami needed to find a quarterback they could trust in this draft. They hadn't drafted a quarterback in the first round since 1982 when they drafted Marino. Thirty years later, they decided to take a chance on Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill wasn't the most coveted quarterback in this year's draft—far from it. He rose up the draft boards in the weeks leading up to the draft and went from being a possible second-round pick, to being a top-10 pick.
Tannehill is not ready to start right away, but his skill set shows that he has the ability to be a starter in the league and be a cornerstone of the Dolphins' organization for years to come.
Now, Mike Sherman was hired before the Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill, but they must have been pretty sure that Tannehill would be their guy, and were willing to do anything to get him.
With that in mind, the Dolphins figured: What better way to help a quarterback transition to the NFL than to have his former head coach become his offensive coordinator?
Sherman didn't have his best years at A&M, but that doesn't mean he can't coach. He has been a head coach both in the NFL and in college, and will now look to focus all of his attention on the offensive side of the ball.
Sherman's offensive mentality, along with Philbin's, will take the Dolphins from the ground-and-pound game they had with Tony Sparano, to a more dynamic offense that will put more points on the board.
Tannehill's progression will be strongly linked to Sherman, who may help the rookie become acquainted to the NFL game faster.
Will he score 15 touchdowns and catch for over 1,000 yards? Most likely not—but that doesn't mean Ochocinco's signing wasn't a good one.
Miami lacks depth at the wide receiver position; and although in Philbin's offense there's no alpha receiver, it doesn't hurt having someone that has the abilities of a top receiver.
With Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Legedu Nanaee as other top receivers, Ochocinco gives the Dolphins another player that can stretch the field and help open up the middle for the tight ends.
Oh, and Hard Knocks should definitely be more interesting with him.