So it's eight days until Dolphins camp starts and the issue is receiving corps changes that can be summed up like this:
Out with the known and cranky.
In with the new and friendly.
That's pretty much concludes what the Dolphins did at receiver to benefit coach Joe Philbin, quarterback Ryan Tannehill and general team chemistry. Mike Wallace's 10 touchdowns will be missed. I would have kept him. But his issues crystallized with a mid-game benching for the second half of the season finale, which most teammates understood, followed by a bizarre post-game scene where Brandon Gibson answered media questions for Wallace.
Simply put, Wallace, Gibson and Brian Hartline weren't happy and were deemed not worth the trouble anymore.
So they were moved out of town and Kenny Stills (trade from New Orleans), Greg Jennings (free-agent signings) and DeVante Parker (top draft pick) were brought in to join Jarvis Landry and holdover reserves Rishard Mathews and Matt Hazel.
Is this a better unit?
Potentially, especially with what's expected to be better route-running, though the question is if they'll be better to open this season.
No, not really.
Absolutely, but not so much because of the change of receivers. The risk is you created holes at receiver and had to expend resources to fill them rather then use them elsewhere. This is the second time in two years they've had to fill holes they created. A year ago it was the offensive line in the aftermath of Bullygate. This year it was receivers.
A lot comes down to who Stills is and if Parker is ready to have impact as a rookie (and slowed by toe surgery). For as many questions as the outgoing Dolphins receivers had, here's the head-scratcher with Stills: Why did New Orleans dump him?
He's exactly what a pass-happy offense under Drew Brees should want. He's fast. He's young. He's cheap. And yet something wasn't right and the Saints traded him. So either the Dolphins got a good find or will discover why New Orleans didn't want him.
Parker has the size, athleticism and general toughness that suggest he will be a star. The question becomes how much he will be set back with the toe surgery. Rookie receivers are contributing immediately. Three rookies (Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin) had 1,000-yard seasons last year (and a fourth, Sammy Watkins, was 18 yards short). Before that group, only 12 rookies in NFL history had passed 1,000 yards. Was that just a special group or is the college game serving up more NFL-ready receivers?
Landry will be moved around more this season and it will be telling how it works. Last year, he was a rich man's Davone Bess, making a good living in the slot and getting first downs but no big plays. It sounds like that will be afforded him this year.
Jennings, at 31, can still contribute. This group needs a good, solid pro to mentor the younger players. Jennings looks to be that guy.
For Philbin, this will be an easier group to manage. For Tannehill, it's more in line with his skill set (Wallace could stretch the field as well as anyone in the game but needed a good deep ball, which Tannehill couldn't deliver).
But whatever continuity Tannehill gains in being in Bill Lazor's offensive system a second year is somewhat lost as the receivers have to learn the system and a new quarterback. That will take some times. And time isn't something they're going to be afforded much this season.
2. You wake up one day and you're a multi-millionaire. That's what NFL rookies face, and Phillip Buchanon tells of the headaches that come with it - mom wanting a $1 million house, friends demanding money and financial advisers using it to help them, as I wrote in my column today.
3. For someone who doesn't want to talk about the NCAA investigation any more Al Golden sure finds a way to slip it into conversation regarding why the last couple of years didn't work out.
4. Impressive someone paid $44,000 for a Deflategate football. Wonder what the PSI reading was.