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Are The Miami Dolphins Still 'Tanking?'

Alex Donno
May 08, 2019 - 3:33 pm
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Since the 2018 season ended, the Miami Dolphins have parted ways with their starting quarterback, starting right tackle, leading rusher, and their three top pass rushers. 

Owner Stephen Ross admitted back in January that the team might need to endure a very tough season or two before they can build a winner. 

Reports around that time emerged that the team was 'tanking' in 2019 to ensure the top overall draft pick in 2020, with the plan being to draft Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. 

Of course, the team would never confirm such a report, but many in the fanbase took the idea and ran with it. 

The #TankForTua hashtag went viral. 

Is that really the plan? I have my doubts, and so should you. 

During the second round of the NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins traded a second and fifth round pick to acquire Josh Rosen from Arizona. The Cardinals discarded him for Kyler Murray after just one season, but he's a former top ten pick with loads of potential. 

Would the team really give up assets for Rosen if they were all in on tanking for Tua? What if Rosen turns out to be good but not great, winning too many games to earn the top pick, but not playing well enough to convince you that he's a 'franchise' player? That situation would really undercut the whole tanking narrative. 

My take is this: I think Miami's plan changed. Tanking is no longer the priority. 

Four months ago, they likely did not imagine a scenario where they could get Josh Rosen for a bargain price. They might have been all in on the Tua sweepstakes as recently as a few weeks ago. 

However, when it became increasingly clear that Arizona would draft Murray at number one, and the market for Rosen would not be overly competitive, Miami saw the chance to pounce. 

Suddenly, there's an opportunity to sell more jerseys (with Rosen's name on the back) sell a few more tickets. Success on the field is more of a priority today than it was a few weeks or months ago. Surely, Steve Ross would prefer to win as many games as possible with a new head coach and a new young quarterback in place. 

If the reported tanking plan was about finding a franchise quarterback, Miami needs to bank on the idea that they found him a year early, and start building around Rosen for the future. 

There are still plenty of holes to fill beyond quarterback. The Dolphins possess twelve picks in the 2020 draft, with five of those being in the first three rounds. 

Sure, if Rosen is a serious liability on the field this year, Miami will have the chance to spend a high first round pick on him next April. They have a backup plan. You can call it a safety net. However, finding a quarterback at the top of next year's draft should no longer be the primary objective. 

The primay objective should now be building around Rosen.