Miami Dolphins: The 5 Worst Contracts and Free Agency Gaffes in Team History
Although the Miami Dolphins desperately need a free agency period in order to fill the many holes currently plaguing its offense, the lockout may a blessing in disguise.
After all, Miami has made more than its fair share of free agency gaffes over the years. Those gaffes have spawned some of the worst contracts not only in team history, but league history as well. The Dolphins' free agency woes have only diminished the team's ability to pursue replacements and retain their own players.
Maybe it's time to refrain from dishing out gargantuan contracts and start building through the draft.
No. 5 Damion McIntosh
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Looking to provide upgraded blindside protection for Jay Fiedler and extra run support for Ricky Williams, Dave Wannstedt lured in Chargers left tackle Damion McInotsh via free agency in 2004.
The 'Fins inked McIntosh to a six-year, $23 million deal, hoping he would morph into a franchise left tackle. However, never fulfilled such a destiny.
McIntosh spent just three years with the Dolphins, and was released just prior to the 2007 season.
No. 4 Ernest Wilford
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Bill Parcells' tenure as football czar of the Miami Dolphins is starting to look retrospectively worse and worse by the minute. But while everybody is talking about the Jake Long-Matt Ryan debate, nobody remembers his first free agent signee—Ernest Wilford.
Miami signed Wilford to a four-year, $13 million deal with a substantial $6 million signing bonus. The once dominant Virginia Tech Hokies and productive Jaguars tight end figured to add a dynamic blend of size and hands to the Dolphins offense, but he did nothing of the sort.
Wilford spent just one year in Miami. He played in seven games and caught a measly three passes for 25 yards.
No. 3 Jake Grove
After the Baltimore Ravens' defense completely demoralized Dolphins center Samson Satele in the 2008 AFC Wild Card game, Miami's brass made bolstering size and physicality along the offensive line a top priority heading into the offseason.
When the 'Fins lost out on Chris Brown, the most highly-touted free agent center on the market, they geared their attention towards a secondary option—Raiders center Jake Grove. At 6'4", 300 pounds, Grove offered a nice upgrade from Satele's 6'2" frame, and Miami inked him to a four-year, $28 million deal.
Although his first season with the Dolphins went according to plan (Miami had the fourth best rushing attack), Grove began struggling with injuries in the months prior to the 2010 seasons. He eventually lost his job to Joe Berger and was subsequently cut in August.
No. 2 Gibril Wilson
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Anybody noticing the trend here? A depressing majority of this countdown stems from the Trifecta's free agent signings. But even Ernest Wilford and Jake Grove's contracts pale in comparison to the five-year, $27 million ($8 million guaranteed) contract the Dolphins handed safety Gibril Wilson.
Sure, Grove's contract was bigger, but at least he had one productive season. Wilson was flat out awful.
Miami ignored the red flags that surfaced after Wilson's lone, disappointing season with the Oakland Raiders in 2008. Instead, they looked at Wilson as a player just two years removed from a starting role on the 2007 Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Wilson's lasted just one season in Miami, and this photo is pretty indicative of his Dolphins career.
No. 1 Daunte Culpepper
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Sophomore head coach Nick Saban essentially had first dibs on the pair, but his medical staff was left to decide which severely injured quarterback would return to top-form. The Dolphins' staff deemed Culpepper's recently torn ACL looked far better than Drew Brees' surgically repaired throwing shoulder, and the rest is history.
Miami sent a second round pick to the Vikings in exchange for Culpepper's services. The team promptly signed him to a huge, undisclosed contract, which probably payed Culpepper upwards of $6 million per year. After one season, the former Pro Bowler was ousted from South Beach.