We are entering an important off-season for the Miami Dolphins and I would think that they would be looking to upgrade their tight end position, but general manager Jeff Ireland is making it seem like there will not be changes to the position. What we are hearing is that Ireland has plans to re-up with Anthony Fasano, and he is looking for Michael Egnew to get it going in 2013. I do not like the sound of that, and I do think that the majority of Dolfans would not want the tight end position to remain the same going forward.
I like Fasano, but it is worth noting that the veteran is on the decline, especially as a run blocker where he was once awesome but he has deteriorated annually in that area. Overall Fasano was annually in the top 10 (several seasons he was even ranked all the way up in the top 5 for tight ends) but this season he was not even in the top 20. Fasano did have a career high 69 targets with a career high 41 catches, but his 332 yards were his lowest as a Dolphin and his 8.1 yards per catch was a career low for the seven year veteran.
Egnew was a 2012 third round draft pick who only saw action in the final two games of the season where he was in on just a handful of plays, but it sounds like the plan is to work on developing him going forward rather than use one of their many draft picks or spend some of their significant cap space to replace/upgrade him.
The combo of Fasano and Egnew being the Dolphins tight ends going forward seems to be the current company line, but I do wonder if the Dolphins have their sights set on a tight end that is currently under contract and could end up a salary cap casualty. Jermichael Finley for example is a guy who did finish the season in his team’s good books, but the Green Bay Packers have several play-makers on offense that they will be allocating money to and Finley’s $4+ million may be too rich for their blood. Personally I think Finley stays in Green Bay (we will know in March as there is a $3.5 million roster bonus which could be the knockout punch that makes him a free-agent), but he is an example of an upgrade that may exist for the Dolphins tight end spot(s).
Another hopeful possibility is that Ireland is trying to make it look like he does not feel a need to spend money in order to upgrade their tight end position so that free-agents like Fred Davis, Dustin Keller, Dennis Pitta (restricted), and Delanie Walker cannot try to get overpaid to take their talents to South Beach.
I would love to see a scenario play out where Jared Cook does not get the franchise tag applied to him by the Tennessee Titans and the Dolphins pursue him as a free-agent. I am a fan of this player and his upside looks massive.
At the end of the day I am hoping that Miami spends some of their cap space on a tight end and Cook would be a top target for me, Keller knows the AFC East, and Pitta can be had if you make the contract lucrative because the Baltimore Ravens will not have a ton of money to spend this off-season (article on Ravens going forward is RIGHT HERE).