SBD/March 13, 2013/Franchises

Dolphins' Aggressiveness In Free Agency Seen As "Drastic Change" In Franchise's Direction

Ireland (l) and Ross make splash in first day of NFL free agency
The Dolphins' front office yesterday landed "its No. 1 priority" in free agent WR Mike Wallace, and "then just kept on going," according to Beasley & Salguero of the MIAMI HERALD. The club added LBs Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler and re-signed S Chris Clemons, a "massive commitment of resources and a drastic change in direction for the franchise." As recently as January, team Owner Stephen Ross said that he "wanted to build through the draft." But in the first four hours of free agency, GM Jeff Ireland "revamped an already stout defense" and gave QB Ryan Tannehill the "downfield threat he needs." The Dolphins yesterday wrote on the team's Twitter feed, "What a day. More to come." Wallace signed a "five-year contract" worth an "estimated" $60M, leaving the team more than $20M of remaining cap space (MIAMI HERALD, 3/13). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes Wallace brings "plenty this franchise needs to bring some excitement to a starved fan base." Hyde: "Big names. Big news. Big Hopes. Big headlines. And, if we're being honest, there's big risk, too" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/13). ESPN’s Linda Cohn said Ireland signed Wallace because there was “a lot of pressure on him to make a splash." Cohn: "He filled one of the biggest needs on that ballclub” (“Mike and Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 3/13).

GOOD TIMES AHEAD? In Miami, Greg Cote writes the Dolphins yesterday were "buying excitement," and "buying hope." They were "nourishing the idea that maybe -- just maybe -- this once-proud club is turning a real corner toward better days at last." The Dolphins were "the talk of the NFL on the first day for free-agent signings" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/13). In Boston, Ron Borges writes Ross "finally figured out that the way to fill the orange grove of empty seats at Sun Life Stadium is not by putting Gloria Estefan, Venus and Serena Williams and Marc Anthony in the stands." It is by "putting million dollar players on the field" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/13).
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