While the CBA crisis continues progressing into an ugly publicity battle between players and owners, actual football talk is becoming increasingly sparse. But it is important to remember that at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, there should be some abbreviated period of free agency where the trade market will open up.
The Dolphins will not be able to sufficiently fill all of their needs during the draft, but they could fill out their roster through the trade market. Of course, Miami will have to wait until a new CBA is in place to make trades unless they are made during the draft. If they wait until a new CBA is installed, however, some of the tenders that the players on this list have been slapped with may void.
Regardless, the following five players could all fill gaping holes currently plaguing Miami's roster.
Running back and quarterback headline Miami's off-season needs, but a "burner" wide receiver might be a position of equal need. Miami lacked this dynamic last season, and opposing defenses were able to double team Brandon Marshall without any consequence. But, with a burner, defenses must constantly be aware of where he is, which can give Marshall freedom and favorable match ups.
There are a few burners the Dolphins could target in the draft such as Torrey Smith, Titus Young, and Edmond Gates. Rather than draft one of these players, however, Miami could pursue Houston Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones.
Jones all but defines burner, and although he has not yet reached the potential some have hoped he would, he is yearning to break out. He caught 51 passes in 2010, and Andre Johnson reaped the benefits of Jones' alarming speed. The Texans placed a second round tender on him, but he may be acquirable if the Dolphins can present a convincing deal to Houston.
The possibility of Brad Smith landing in Miami this summer hinges primarily on the team's future usage of the Wildcat. Now that incumbent offensive coordinator Dan Henning is gone, the Brian Daboll might deem the decreasingly prevalent gimmick unnecessary. But considering he implemented the cyclone formation with Josh Cribbs in Cleveland, Daboll might want to revive the Wildcat in Miami.
Smith is a deadly athlete who has specialized as a utility man, returning kicks, playing wide receiver, and running a pseudo-wildcat formation for the Jets. He starred as a quarterback at Missouri, but has found a niche doing odd jobs, and running the Wildcat and returning kicks for the Dolphins would be right up his alley.
The Jets placed a second-round tender on Smith, and while his gimmicky and random roles with New York might decrease his value, he is a player the Dolphins should absolutely look into acquiring.
The Dolphins' need for a receiving-oriented tight end is well documented. Anthony Fasano caught only 39 passes last season, and beyond him, the Dolphins have no other quality tight ends on the roster.
Although there will be plenty of promising tight end prospects on the board when Miami picks in the third and fourth rounds of the draft (D.J. Williams, Luke Stocker, Virgil Green), the 'Fins could try to swing a deal with the Oakland Raiders for Zach Miller. Miller is 6'5", 255 pounds, but still almost doubled Fasano's production in 2010, reeling in 60 passes for 685 yards and five touchdowns.
The Raiders recently put a 1st-and-3rd round draft pick tender on Miller, but if the Dolphins are able to acquire a second round pick prior to or during the draft, it would be interesting to see if Oakland would be willing to swap him for a draft pick.
The Dolphins might (and definitely should) pursue former Chargers running back Darren Sproles in free agency, but they may pursue another San Diego running back via trade. In relief of an injured Ryan Mathews last season, Mike Tolbert had a breakout campaign, rushing for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns.
At 5'9", 243 pounds, Tolbert hails from the "bowling ball" breed of running backs, a family which includes the likes of Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and Michael Turner. The Chargers recently slapped a second-round tender on Tolbert, which seems to be a fair and affordable price for Miami to at least consider.
Of course, the Dolphins would have to first acquire a second round pick, but if they were to do so, they could immediately solve their running back problems by trading for Tolbert.
The one thing that everybody needs to realize concerning the Dolphins quarterback search is that they are not going to find the messiah this summer. Miami is in no position to acquire a player capable of curing this franchise's quarterback woes right now. This summer, they merely need to find a guy who can get the job done for the season.
Miami's best option may be Donovan McNabb. Sure, he's 34 and coming off of the worst season of his career, but keep in mind that he literally had no weapons at his disposal last year. The Redskins offense may have been the worst in the league, and McNabb threw for 3,553 yards and 20 touchdowns just two years ago.
Wasington has made their desire to unload McNabb public. So if he costs, say, a fourth or fifth round pick, the Dolphins should make a move. Bringing in McNabb at a bargain price outweighs trusting Chad Henne or an unprepared rookie.