AFC Franchise Notes: Dolphins Enter Team's Most Important Offseason
In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes this is the "biggest offseason" in Dolphins history, as the team "sacrificed" the '19 season to accumulate 14 drafts picks and more than $100M to spend in free agency. Dolphins GM Chris Grier has to "do better than his recent past batting average" at the NFL Draft, where there has been "some good, some bad [and] a lot of meh." Meanwhile, Dolphins CB Xavien Howard was "arrested on domestic violence charges Sunday night." That is "not how to start the biggest offseason in team history" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 12/31). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes Dolphins coach Brian Flores was "non-committal" about whether Howard will remain on the team after his arrest. It would be "surprising if the Dolphins part ways with their highest-paid player," who is due $11.9M next season in the first year of a five-year extension (MIAMI HERALD, 12/31).
NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT: In Cleveland, Dan Labbe writes the Browns' next coaching hire "should be accompanied by a sense of urgency, a realization" that there is "no time to waste." Unlike last season, when the interview list at times "felt like a mere formality, the Browns have hit the ground running in their requests to interview" the likes of Patriots' Josh McDaniels, Ravens' Greg Roman and 49ers' Robert Saleh, among others (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/31). Also in Cleveland, Terry Pluto notes if the Browns had a front office "operating with the full confidence of ownership," GM John Dorsey would be "running the search for a coach and hiring his man." But after the firing of coach Freddie Kitchens after just one season, it is "clear ownership will not be giving Dorsey the same freedom as a year ago." That is why Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta will have a "strong say in the selection of the head coach." Ownership will also be "more involved" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/31).
STOP IN NEVADA: In Las Vegas, Ed Graney noted the Raiders' next home game will take place in Sin City, but it is "unknown when fans can begin purchasing licensed products promoting" the team's new home. The NFL league year begins on March 18, but Raiders President Marc Badain said that it is a "franchise decision on when to unveil such merchandise." He did not provide a timeline for when products could become available (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/30).