6 Receivers Miami Dolphins Must Target in 2013 to Help Ryan Tannehill
The Miami Dolphins have spent the last few seasons adding and developing offensive talent on the roster, culminating this past NFL draft when they selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth-overall pick.
Running back Reggie Bush had a career year in 2011, possibly shaking the questions of his ability to be a featured back in this league for good. And youngsters Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller provide depth in Miami's backfield.
However, if the Dolphins want to make a name on the offensive side, they must provide Tannehill with more weapons to spread the ball around in the passing game.
While wide receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess form a solid pair of targets—combining for 91 receptions for 1,277 yards—their inability to find the end zone (only one touchdown between them) will force Miami to search for more help in the receiving corps.
Here are six receivers the Dolphins must target in 2013.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe failed to come to an agreement on a long-term contract this past offseason. Because of that, the wideout is playing this season under the franchise tag.
Former Miami Dolphins Chad Ochocinco and Vontae Davis tried to sway Bowe to South Beach, but to no avail. Coincidentally, neither is still with the team.
However, Bowe would actually fill Miami's void of a red-zone target. His 15 touchdowns led the league in 2010, and his 39 career scores in just his sixth season are nothing to scoff at.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola is a free agent after this season. His 43 receptions for 497 yards and two touchdowns in just six games this season show just what he is capable of in this league.
Though only 5'11" and 185 lbs, Amendola has big-game ability from all over the field. However, his injury history has held him back from full-blown Wes Welker comparisons. The fact they both attended Texas Tech helps fuel that as well.
While Amendola says he would be welcome to the Rams placing the franchise tag him, his presence in the Dolphins offense would help expedite Tannehill's development.
Though Danny Amendola may be the poor man's version of New England Patriots wideout Wes Welker, having the more established target could be worth the investment.
The Patriots have proven that wide receivers in their offensive system are interchangeable. While Welker has been very productive as one of Tom Brady's main targets, New England just doled out top dollar to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Though losing Welker would certainly have an impact on Brady and the offense—and they could place the franchise tag on Welker again this offseason—it is hard to imagine they throw too much money his way in terms of the long-term contract he is looking for.
Miami could step in and pay Welker what he wants, and quite frankly deserves.
The Miami Dolphins lack a consistent downfield threat in the passing game. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace fits that mold.
With a career 17.6 yards per reception average, Wallace has the ability to stretch the field. Ben Roethlisberger has benefited greatly during the wideout's four years in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers opted to sign fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown to a long-term deal over Wallace this past offseason.
While both sides could still come to an agreement—or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on Wallace again—it seems likely Wallace's time in Pittsburgh could end after this season.
Though Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is under contact through next season, the team already doled out top dollar to DeSean Jackson and signing Maclin to a long-term deal seems unlikely.
The Miami Dolphins would have to trade for Maclin. But the Eagles appear to be heading toward changes this offseason, so they could listen to offers.
If the Dolphins feel they could sign Maclin to a long-term contract, why not pick up the phone and give this one a shot?
The first step for the Miami Dolphins in building a solid group of receivers for Ryan Tannehill in 2013 is retaining their productive targets from this season.
Through three seasons, Brian Hartline was a serviceable receiver for the Dolphins. But his breakout 2012 season comes at just the right time, as he is a free agent after this year.
The Dolphins should have no problem retaining Hartline, but at what cost? Assuming he continues at this rate, the price tag will continue to climb.