Chad Ochocinco, Legedu Naanee, Roberto Wallace and Jabar Gaffney — what do these receivers all have in common? At some point, starting in the spring, each of the aforementioned was expected to be a third receiving threat for the Dolphins.
Ochocinco and Wallace were cut prior to the season. Naanee had one catch for 19 yards, and was cut. Gaffney had four catches for 68 yards and, you guessed it, also gone.
After Brian Hartline (74-1,083-1) and Davone Bess (61-778-1), the next-leading Dolphins wide receivers were seventh-round rookie Rishard Matthews (11-151-0) and Marlon Moore (6-116-1).
The inability to improve the WR position has been one of the bigger points of criticism of GM Jeff Ireland, who has had a pair of successful drafts, but after trading No. 1 WR Brandon Marshall, Ireland, along with Joe Philbin, couldn’t come close to filling the void.
The lack of success at the position, combined with Hartline entering free agency moves wide receiver up the team’s to-do list. We heard in the final month of the season that getting a wide receiver was expected to be the Dolphins’ No. 1 priority this offseason, to no one’s surprise.
Hartline is coming off a career year, and his contract situation will come first, then the Dolphins will go from there. In free agency, Greg Jennings will be a name we hear, and The Miami Herald reported the Dolphins would make a strong push for Jennings, who played for Philbin in Green Bay.
In his media availability on Monday, owner Stephen Ross maintained the club will do what it takes to bring top talent to Miami, beginning with wideout. “I’m willing to spend whatever it takes to build it. I think sometimes people look at spending as a way of winning and in business it isn’t money that solves problems. It’s brains that solves problems and using your abilities,” he told reporters. “But certainly all my resources are there and if the right players are there, I don’t care what it costs. We’ll go after them.”
With plenty of salary-cap space to work with and five picks in the first three rounds of April’s draft, the Dolphins certainly could double-dip at receiver. In a crucial year for Ireland, improving the WR position will be crucial, and heavily scrutinized.
Follow Kevin Fishbain on Twitter