Over the summer, the Miami Dolphins nabbed the hottest name in free agency when they signed Mike Wallace. By following this up with the signing of Brandon Gibson, the fans were given plenty of reasons to believe that the wide receiver woes of the last few years were coming to an end.
Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill would have a stable of targets to throw to, and the Dolphins would win the AFC East.
Then the team released its 53-man roster, and reality kicked in.
The big name signings made it through the cuts of course, as did Brian Hartline and Reshard Mathews, but that is where the list of receivers ends. It seems hard to believe, but the Dolphins enter the first week of the 2013 NFL season with just four wide receivers on their roster.
Considering the Dolphins’ plan for using a three-wide receiver set as much as they can, the roster won’t look like this for long. They will fill the void, but the question is, what type of talent are they going to find at this time of year?
Miami has already brought several receivers in for workouts, including Da’Rick Rodgers, who was recently released from the Buffalo Bills. They were also able to add roster cut victims Brian Tyms and Marvin McNutt to the practice squad, both of whom had great moments during the preseason.
Chad Bumphis is another familiar name that could possibly end up back on the roster. Bumphis had nine catches for 138 yards during the preseason, and was the Dolphins’ only true reserve at the slot position (Hartline could slide over if needed).
The fact that he was cut along with McNutt and Tyms does little to build confidence in the trio’s ability, but roster cuts are not always about what a player can or cannot do, and all three players have something to offer.
Regardless of where the Dolphins turn to find their wide receiver depth, the main concern is that this is the second year of the Joe Philbin regime, and the front office apparently did not learn from last season’s struggles.
The excuse for Tannehill last season was the lack of talented receivers, and with just over $100 million spent on the position this summer, you would think the Dolphins would be entering this season with wideouts to spare.
The talent level is certainly improved, but that is only when those players are on the field; without the proper depth, the Dolphins’ plans for a high-octane offense could be in trouble. The lack of depth could lead to the offense struggling to sustain drives and hinder their ability to keep fresh legs on the field. This could be especially true in the later stages of the game when it matters the most.
As close as their losses were last season, the Dolphins know how important each possession can be, and after all of the money spent in the offseason, lack of receiver depth cannot be what derails the train before it even leaves the station.
They need to get this figured out, and they need to get it done quickly. They begin playing for keeps in just five days.