First of all, the Miami Dolphins have a principal need this offseason…quarterback. However, drafting the right wide-receiver in round 1 is extremely risky. (See Ted Ginn).
If the Dolphins have a bit of cap space left after their dalliance with Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, it would be in their best interest to add someone who can catch the ball and turn up field.
Here are some potential Free Agent Wide Receivers targets that could fit the Dolphins new offense:
1. Vincent Jackson: Current team: San Diego Chargers
Vincent Jackson would be an incredible addition for the Dolphins giving the incoming QB and offense a shot in the arm. Whether you look at Brandon Marshall as a number one or two, it doesn’t matter with Vincent Jackson in a Miami uniform. He’s big, he’s strong, and he has good game speed. If he’s burned the Dolphins once or twice in his career, that may be a sign that they know his strengths and weaknesses on film. Vincent Jackson is getting older, but he still has at least 5 good years left. If the Dolphins intend to compete with the New England Patriots and New York Jets, it would be a good idea to get another pass catcher that can present matchup headaches. (2011 Stat: 60 REC, 1190 YDS, and 9 TDs).
2. Mario Manningham: Current team: New York Giants
Call me crazy, but Manningham has played with Peyton’s brother Eli and if the Dolphins land the big QB in free agency, then Manningham would be a logical fit. Of course, I am high on Mario Manningham because he’s a Patriot killer and the Dolphins need a ton of killers on their roster filled with guys that hang in there with that AFC East Opponent that keeps winning games. The Dolphins need a true number two threat at receiver and Manningham adds some speed, hands, and ability to make sideline catches when the game is on the line. (2011 Stats: 39 REC, 523 YDS, 4TD).
3. Reggie Wayne: Current team: Indianapolis Colts
While most Dolphin fans in the Miami area are familiar with Reggie Wayne playing his college ball at the U, most Dolphin fans cringe seeing that Reggie Wayne has enjoyed success playing with a winning franchise in Indianapolis. After all, Indy was built on the emergence of one Marvin Harrison and then Reggie Wayne with multiple Tight Ends mixed in. Reggie Wayne had a down year in 2011, but for everything that was negative about the record going 2-14, Reggie Wayne managed to fire up the team and the city showing he could still catch a fade route from a journey man QB named Dan Orlovsky versus the first place Texans. While the Dolphins brass is concentrating on filling the void with Peyton Manning, it should be noted that Reggie Wayne can fill the void of having a relevant offensive threat and one that can pair with Brandon Marshall for the next few years. If Manning is released and then signed, why not bring one of his familiar targets to Miami? (70 REC, 960 YDS, and 4TD).
4. Robert Meacham: Current Team: New Orleans Saints
There is really no telling how good Meacham can be without Drew Brees. Meacham is a big & tall target who can make the most difficult of catches. He is more of a possession receiver who has lived in the shadows behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore. At 40 REC, 620 YDS, and 6 TD, it would be an improvement over most receivers in Miami. However, Meacham is only 27 years old and that in comparison would make him a young and productive receiver.
Some other receivers that I believe might get a look-see from Miami are:
1. Roy Williams: Big, physical receiver that Jeff Ireland looked at while he played at Texas. He’d be an awkward receiver in Miami, because he doesn’t have speed and he is getting older. He’d be a nice goal line receiver making tough catches in traffic.
2. Eddie Royal: He played with Brandon Marshall briefly, but his speed could be useful on kickoffs and he could stretch the field as a receiver.
3. Braylon Edwards: Although he has had his time bouncing from team to team, I would give him a shot because he has talent and ability. He can get down field and make big plays. However, his locker room presence might be too overpowering with other Miami players needing to set him straight right away. Heck, if Jim Harbaugh didn’t want him, what does that tell you?
4. Pierre Garçon: He’s fast, he can catch the ball, and he can impact the game in under 8 seconds. If he’s available, I’d take a chance on Pierre Garçon.