Miami Dolphins Free Agency 2013: Team Must Now Add Big Target for Ryan Tannehill

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIMarch 14, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 30: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins stands in a huddle with his teammates against the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are set up to be very active this offseason, as the NFL’s new league year kicked off on Tuesday afternoon.  

Whether it was deciding on who to retain from last year’s roster or who to add as replacements, general manager Jeff Ireland has his work cut out for him in advance of the 2013 season.

The Dolphins offense will have a much different look next season, as Reggie Bush signed with the Detroit Lions (via Pro Football Talk) and Anthony Fasano with the Kansas City Chiefs (Pro Football Talk). Jake Long is also close to an agreement with the St. Louis Rams (

With their starting running back, tight end and left tackle not returning, it is apparent Miami will be at the forefront of most of the discussions involving the big names in free agency—especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Tannehill’s rookie season was neither remarkable nor awful, falling somewhere close to expectations for a guy with minimal quarterbacking experience and a suspect supporting cast.

While the Dolphins are off to a solid start in providing him with more tools to succeed, Tannehill’s sophomore campaign will come with much more pressure to deliver, however.

Inking wide receiver Mike Wallace might have been the biggest catch of the offseason; and re-signing Brian Hartline—Tannehill’s top target in 2012—was probably just as crucial. But surrounding their second-year quarterback with as many viable options as possible should remain the team’s top priority—specifically a big target who can help finish off drives near the red zone.

Wallace will take the field as Miami’s No. 1 wide receiver, but with his size comes limitations as the field shrinks up near the end zone. Moving Hartline and Davone Bess into their more natural positions will also help to move the chains, but neither will be much of a scoring threat either (only two combined touchdowns in 2012).

The Dolphins are courting Dustin Keller, who is arguably the top tight end remaining on the free-agent market (via CBS Sport, per The Miami Herald). While that will certainly help, the question is whether or not it will be enough to maintain good balance within Miami’s offense.

With so much money tied up in the Wallace and Hartline deals, the Dolphins are probably out of the running for Greg Jennings or other top wideouts. But the market for wide receivers was deep to begin with—in addition to the draft being just as loaded at the position—so Miami should be able to still be able to find what they are looking for.


Interact with Jeremy on Twitter