Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Omar Kelly: Connecting superstars is not madness. This is the right strategy for dolphins

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Terron Armstead was walking through the Miami Dolphins’ new state-of-the-art practice facility and saw Dan Marino’s name on an office.

The three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman, who was in South Florida on his one and only free agent trip, didn’t know whether he’d see a Hall of Fame quarterback.

He then attended an offensive meeting during his recruiting trip, where he was being lured by the Dolphins brass and coaching staff, and there was Merino.

“He came over and introduced himself like I don’t know him, which was crazy,” Armstead said.

It didn’t close the five-year, $47 million deal, but it certainly helped considering Armstead sported a retro Marino jersey—accented by orange sneakers—at his introductory press conference on Thursday. during.

Tyreek Hill, for whom the team sent a private plane to Ocala on Thursday to pick up him and his family after Wednesday’s blockbuster business with Kansas City, couldn’t stop himself from being jealous.

“Why didn’t I meet Dan Marino?” The six-time pro bowler later signed on to a record-setting, four-year, $120 million extension, Hill said. “He is mad!”

No, it’s star power, and the Dolphins have more than one (cornerback Xavian Howard) on the roster for the first time in more than a decade.

Hill is such a big star that he goes by “The Cheetah”, a nickname that plays on his reputation for being the fastest player in the NFL.

Hill intends to maintain that reputation by challenging his new partner, Jaylen Waddle, to a race.

“Wherever I go, Cheetah, he always has to prove he’s the fastest on the team,” Hill said.

It’s a superstar mentality, right in third person context.

And it is certainly welcome.

Brandon Marshall, Ricky Williams, Cameron Wake, Jarvis Landry, Brent Grimes and Rashad Jones were all fine, Pro Bowl talents during their tenure with the Dolphins.

But the last time Miami had a superstar—a talent making Hall of Fame resumes—on their roster, was during the Marino years and the Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas era.

Miami did what it took to connect the two this week at Hill and Armstead, and general manager Chris Grier should be praised for closing both deals, which shook up the NFL landscape.

Owner Steve Ross is also entitled to props for approving substantial contracts and writing massive checks made to make both transactions happen.

Not every owner in the NFL can — or more importantly — write a $25 million check to a player who received Hill’s signing bonus.

In fact, if we’re being honest, some owners might have a bonus budget of $25 million for the entire offseason. But Ross has proven that he will do anything, and spend whatever it takes to make a winner.

He has failed many times before, in many different ways. But it is not from lack of trying.

This time he is playing for Star Power. And he is not wrong.

Howard directly impressed the Dolphins last season, leading Miami to two victories in 2021. This is the effect of elite geniuses.

Imagine what Hill and Armstead could do. Maybe they can each lead the dolphins themselves to two victories.

Such is the effect of playwrights. They turn the game on its head, delivering a play in clutch fashion, like Hill scoring in Kansas City’s overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.

This is why NFL teams pay well for them.

The NFL is a superstar-driven league, and without those superstars on your roster, the franchise is just spilling water. So Ross instructed the dolphins to find and add something. As a result, Hill became the sixth player to become the highest-paid person in his respective position during his decade-long tenure as the owner of the NFL.

If that’s not a commitment to winning, I don’t know what is.

The ideal is to build a team around drafted talent that equates to young, promising, cheap labor. But the hope is that one day some of them become draft superstars, and make the kind of impact plays that change the outcome of games.

Games that lead the Dolphins to the playoffs, and possibly more.

We are talking about those players who are remembered 20 years after their retirement, like Merino.

Armstead was 8 and Hill was 5 when Marino took his last NFL snap, but the impact remained. Let’s hope Armstead and Hill make that type of impression on the Dolphins over the next few seasons.


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