Big trade puts Miami Dolphins on equal footing with Jets
By ARMANDO SALGUERO
This changes everything.
We went to bed Tuesday night praying the Dolphins could somehow find a playmaker in the coming draft and awoke Wednesday morning with Brandon Marshall on the roster, proving that Christmas morning also can come in April.
We went to bed wondering if the Dolphins would ever make a bold move that could keep them from fading further in the New York Jets' rearview mirror and awoke racing wheel to wheel with Firemen Fred or Ed or whatever his name is.
The Jets were adding big name after big name the past few weeks while the Dolphins sat frustratingly quiet. But this move changes our outlook.
New York, who's your daddy now?
Instead of going into next season's games against Rex Ryan's
defense wondering if anyone can get open against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the question shifts.
Can either of those guys cover Marshall?
In 2007, when Cromartie was the best cornerback in the NFL, Marshall caught 13 passes in two games against him and the San Diego Chargers. Marshall caught 18 passes for 166 yards against Cromartie and the Chargers in one 2008 game.
The Jets now must worry about more than just Miami's Wildcat offense that they discredit so readily but actually copied during their playoff run. The Jets and everyone else now have to worry about the Dolphins throwing the football.
And completing the passes.
``Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins, huh,'' Revis wrote on his Twitter account. ``That's a good look for them.''
It's a good look because, praise be, the Dolphins finally have a No. 1 wide receiver and they can join the rest of the NFL in the 21st century!
This move updates the Dolphins and promises excitement.
CHANGE OF HEART
Bill Parcells has seemingly abandoned the old Giants template for winning a championship. He obviously recognizes you cannot win with just a good running game and good defense unless you have Lawrence Taylor, too, and the Dolphins have been lacking an LT and shown little alacrity for re-signing JT.
So being able to score points is the next best thing and the Dolphins should do more of that with a wide receiver corps that everyone must respect. For the first time since he has been Miami's coach, Tony Sparano now can say he likes Miami's receivers and we can actually believe him.
This trade, expensive in dollars and draft picks, also changes how we view the Dolphins off the field.
When Parcells arrived, he promised no ``problem children.''
The arrests of three Miami players -- Tony McDaniel, Will Allen and Ronnie Brown -- since January, and the signing of enigmatic guard Richie Incognito tested the limits of that promise.
It gets totally dismissed as lip service now that Marshall is on board.
Forget that Marshall was unhappy in Denver because of his contract. He has a new $50 million deal, and that should make him quite the good soldier in the locker room and on the practice field.
But one cannot dismiss the eight domestic violence incidents he has been involved in dating to 2006 and occurring as recently as May 2009. Those are troubling issues one hopes Marshall will not repeat in South Florida.
Regardless of how it plays out, the Dolphins, known for making relatively safe, logical moves, have climbed out on a limb. The risks are greater out there, but the rewards also are grander.
This move suggests the Dolphins now can go into next week's draft with an eye on defense. Defense is where I thought they were headed in the first round anyway, because at this moment, Miami lacks a starting free safety and starting outside linebacker.
But what if the Dolphins want to become truly radical? What if they pick Dez Bryant if he's available, or select electric running back C.J. Spiller?
Neither fits Miami's prototype. It would be the unexpected, unconventional thing for the Dolphins to do. But so was trading for and signing Brandon Marshall.
That move changed everything.