In the 2010 offseason, the Dolphins acquired former Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall in exchange for two second-round draft picks. Before joining Miami, Marshall had put up some truly "mile-high" statistics in Denver, and was coming off three straight 100-catch, 1,100-yard receiving seasons.
In his following two years in South Beach, the wideout's numbers were a bit closer to sea level, but impressive nonetheless. In '10 and '11, Marshall eclipsed the 80/1,000 mark each season, though he only scored 9 touchdowns in 30 games total.
Clearly, Marshall's inability to find the end zone was a result of his team's offensive struggles, as he was forced to work with the trio of Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, and Matt Moore under center...not exactly the most strong-armed group of quarterbacks out there.
Going into the 2012 season, in which the Dolphins were expected to draft a rookie QB to compete with Matt Moore, Marshall was expected to be heavily relied upon once again.
The hiring of Joe Philbin had many South Beach patrons imagining that a Jordy Nelson-esque season could be in the cards, as the former Green Bay offensive coordinator loved big bodies in the end zone.
That's why the events that followed were so flabbergasting.
In early March, Marshall was traded to the Bears for two third-round picks, just days after he was allegedly involved in a fight at a New York City night club.
Early reports noted that Marshall may have punched a woman in the face, though the wideout's camp emphatically stated "a fight broke out NOT involving Mr. Marshall or his friends."
In the police investigation that followed, law enforcement officials were unable to find any evidence that Marshall assaulted anyone, closing the case in early May.
It appears that Ireland, Philbin, and the rest of the Miami front office overreacted to the incident, and lost their most important offensive player due to a misunderstanding.
Without Marshall, the Dolphins' receiving corps is undoubtedly thin, regardless of how well Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are playing in 2012 thus far.