The Miami Dolphins have a huge problem that should have been solved by this time last year. Now, that problem is becoming a huge issue. The problem I'm speaking of is, of course, general manager Jeff Ireland.
The Dolphins' GM should have been fired over a year ago, but the team gave him one more chance to turn the ship around. The selection of Ryan Tannehill is paying off, and at the very least, the Dolphins' mild improvement in 2012 over their 2011 campaign kept Ireland in the front office.
Now, the pressure is back on Jeff Ireland to continue to build a winning team in Miami. Instead of developing a long-term plan that would ensure stability and success over the long haul, the Dolphins have seemingly decided to throw money at their problems and hope it sticks. The issue is that doesn't always work, and when it fails, heads roll.
The most concerning contract the Dolphins dished out in the early days of free agency went to Mike Wallace. Wallace was rewarded with a five-year contract worth up to $60 million.
Mike Wallace spent his first four years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, topping 1,000 yards in his second and third season. He's also averaged just over 1,000 yards per season since he's been in the league. Those are great numbers, so why am I so pessimistic about the signing?
For his career, Wallace has averaged 17.2 yards per reception. That number is greater than Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald's yards per reception figure. It means that Mike Wallace is getting open deep, not that he's catching a great deal of passes.
The problem is that Wallace's stats lead me to believe he's the product of the Steelers' solid receiving unit. With other dangerous targets in play, Wallace can use his exceptional speed to get open deep. He won't have that help in Miami, and defenses will be able to key in on him as their number one concern.
Maybe I'm just too down on Jeff Ireland and the Miami Dolphins, but throwing money at problem areas isn't how you win consistently. You build through the draft and supplement through free agency. That's how teams like the Ravens, Patriots, 49ers and Steelers have been able to get good and stay good. Teams that spend huge in free agency to be like shooting stars. One second they're great, the next they're back to square one, and that's where the Dolphins may be headed.