Now that most of the big names are off the market, its safe to say the Miami Dolphins have accomplished their main goal in free agency, to equipt second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill with better options in the passing game. After the Dolphins recieving core combined for only three touchdowns in 2012, it was evident that major changes were coming and that's exactly what took place.
First the Dolphins re-signed Tannehill's favorite weapon last season, Brian Hartline, then they landed the top wide out available in Mike Wallace. Retaining Hartline was a must for the team due to the chemistry that he developed with Tannehill on route to 1,000 yards recieving. Wallace on the other hand adds another dimension to the offense as he can take the top off opposing coverages. The addition of Wallace will also ensure the illusion that the Dolphins are always operating out of the red zone offense is no more.
Jeff Ireland and company weren't done there. Next, they provided Tannehill with a reliable tight end in Dustin Keller. On a team that lacked red zone threats, Keller will prove to be a key contributor in the passing game. With a burner like Wallace causing concern for the opposition down the field, Keller will be able to take advantage of man to man coverages in order to rack up crucial yards after the catch.
Following the addition of a tight end, the Dolphins front office signed wide reciever Brandon Gibson which is sure to create competition between the recieving core once training camp starts. Gibson isn't the fastest target and offers almost nothing after the catch however he can move the chains and is a threat in the red zone. He will be penciled in to his ideal role of a No.3 reciever behind Wallace and Hartline.
Now with the pieces in place, Ryan Tannehill must prove his worth as the eighth overall pick in last year's draft. Tannehill's rookie season was average at best however it is crucial to consider that his supporting cast was one of the worst in the league. The numbers were decieving – 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions – although he did show flashes of brilliance and the skill set needed to be successful in the NFL.
With the diverse options in the passing game, its up to Tannehill to step up both on and off the field. If he is able to do so, the free agent signings made by the Dolphins will pay immediate dividends and allow the team to compete for a playoff spot despite the large contracts handed out. If not, the results won't be pretty and another rebuild will be on the horizon in Miami.
The free agency additions will be judged based on the play of the quarterback. Jeff Ireland did his job and brought players to the Dolphins, now Tannehill must do his and find success with them.