Mike Tannenbaum is on a Short Leash in Miami

As the Miami Dolphin 1st round draft mistakes pile up, contract disparities will force the team’s best players into the free agent market. Jarvis Landry is not alone, players like Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller and Rishard Mathews and many others, had to find their way out of Miami to cash in on their talent. The refusal to admit draft mistakes and to make solid first round selections is catching up to the Miami Dolphins.

Jarvis Landry is one of the larger questions looming this offseason. The decision whether to re-sign or let some other team pay his pricey contract demands has ramifications throughout the Dolphin roster. DeVante Parker’s underwhelming performance has again exposed Miami’s complete incompetence in evaluating 1st round talent.

The passing scheme of - Landry as a short yardage monster in the slot; Kenny Stills as the homerun hitter keeping secondary’s honest; Parker as the big target that can win contested throws in critical situations, was a tantalizing thought. Coaching and building off of these players was undoubtedly Adam Gase’s long term vision, but Parker has not developed.

As a first round pick, Miami intended Parker to be a beast. Highly drafted receivers better perform, because as Landry and Mathews have shown, even Miami can draft really good receivers in lower rounds. Mike Tannenbaum certainly does not want to admit he made a mistake with Parker. The Parker Pick came prior to Adam Gase, there’s no telling what Miami would have done differently with Gase’s input.

Many players on the Miami roster have out-performed their draft status, but DeVante Parker is the one making 1st round money. Every team has examples of first round busts, but Miami is in a class by itself. These mistakes are routine and rarely, if ever corrected. Landry should have been signed last year when his price point was much lower. Mike Tannenbaum did nothing and has allowed the situation to simmer to the point where Miami will likely lose one of the team’s best players.

Miami brass decided Jay Cutler was more important than surviving with Matt Moore and paying Jarvis Landry. It turns out they could not have been more wrong. It almost seemed Jay Cutler was Adam Gase’s knee jerk reaction to losing Ryan Tannehill. It was an irrational decision that a good General Manager would have avoided. It will now cost Miami the best wide receiver the team has drafted in years.

It starts with the belief that Parker would finally become the first round beast Tannenbaum thought he drafted. By projecting Parker as a true number one receiver, Jarvis Landry became expendable. It was another poor personnel decision that hasn’t panned out. Miami is still waiting on Parker to develop, while losing Jarvis Landry is a perfect example of managerial ineffectiveness. The Landry situation reeks of Miami’s personnel department being unwilling to admit mistakes.

Ryan Tannehill, 1st round pick, seven years into his career and Miami still does not know whether he’s a true franchise quarterback. DeVante Parker, 1st round pick 4 years into his NFL career and we still don’t know if he’ll ever dominate at the wide receiver position. Ja’Wuan James, 1st round pick 5 years into his NFL career and Miami will likely not pick up his 5th year option and let him go. Dion Jordan, 1st round pick…

Miami drafts pretty good players, such as Landry and Vernon in later rounds, but pays 1st round busts longer than they should and consequently loses these good players. Charles Clay is better than any tight end on the Miami roster, yet the Dolphins let him walk when they should have paid him. These are just examples, and if nothing changes, Miami fans will be looking at mediocrity until Mike Tannenbaum is finally exposed and fired.

Admittedly, there’s still some Jeff Ireland stench in the building, but Tannenbaum has not been able to land a decent first round pick in four tries. How much time does he get Boss Ross? Will Miami fire another coach who is straddled with these inept 1st round busts before the light comes on?

Mediocrity is the worst draft position for a team in the NFL. Bad teams get high draft picks and have a better chance at picking can’t miss players. Great teams draft later, after the talented, but questionable players have been picked by teams like Miami. The Dolphins are constantly picking in the middle of the 1st round where all the busts seem to lurk. Yet in Miami, the mediocrity is blamed on coaches.

The information is available for those who follow the draft. Tannehill had all the tangibles, arm strength, size, great character, athletic, smart, but he was there at the 8th pick because his team lost a lot of close games and he had very limited experience. Truth is, Tannehill would have been there a lot longer had Miami not prematurely pulled the trigger. Tannehill is just good enough to get his coaches fired, unfortunately, the Dolphins are still trying to find a coach that can teach him how to win.

Miami was unprepared for the 3rd pick in the 2013 draft and consequently did not do the diligence needed before picking Dion Jordan. These two picks are on Jeff Ireland and Dion Jordan certainly led to Ireland’s demise in Miami. Tannenbaum is exonerated from these picks and perhaps they were so poor Boss Ross thinks Tannenbaum has done better with his marginal first round picks.

With Tannenbaum as a consultant in 2014, Miami picked Ja’Wuan James at number 19 smack in the middle of the mediocrity zone. James was a right tackle at Tennessee. The pick was suspect immediately because NFL teams don’t pick right tackles in the first round. This is absolutely no fault of James, he is what he is, a right tackle. If he was really good at Tennessee he would have played left tackle.

It’s perplexing that Tannenbaum could not come up with a better option. Miami picked a right tackle from a marginal Tennessee team with the 19th pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Every team in that draft must have chuckled, even Cleveland had to wonder about this ridiculously cautious use of a 1st round pick. This was 2nd round or later talent that Miami paid 1st round money. Since the last collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap floor is 95% league wide. The personnel department is a place with is no salary cap and yet the Dolphins could not evaluate talent any better than this?

The 95% salary floor means Boss Ross is not being generous with free agent money, it means he has to spend this money. If Ross was really interesting in making the Dolphins relevant again he would be spending money paying the best talent evaluators in a department that has no salary cap. Any talk of Ross being generous is bogus, he’s spending money he has to spend on players, while the team is obviously lagging behind in the personnel department.

Now the Landry situation comes full circle back to DeVante Parker… Miami picked Parker 14th, smack in the middle of the mediocrity zone. Parker has one year left on his rookie deal before Miami will have to pick up his 5th year option. It certainly seems Miami is not going to pay Jarvis Landry, leaving a huge void in an already imperfect offense that will now depend on Parker. This is not moving forward, this is moving backward and the reason is simple, horrendous first round picks over the last 6 years.

What is obvious from the outside, is the ego-driven mess going on inside. Landry is better than Tannehill, Jordan, James, Parker, Tunsil and Harris, yet Miami is going to let him walk and keep the first round ineptitude. Do they actually think the locker room does not notice? Is there a separation in the  building? Is Tannenbaum completely disconnected, telling Boss Ross these picks will someday pan out and they should play hard ball with their best player?

The precedent and example Tannenbaum will leave on this locker room by not paying Jarvis Landry will destroy any good Adam Gase will ever do. The players will know, this team is not based on meritocracy, it is based on draft status. Landry is better than the last six first round picks, has been playing much better football for much less money than DeVante Parker. Letting him go will prove Mike Tannenbaum has no clue how to run a football team.

Mike Tannenbaum has one chance to clear the air.

Re-sign Jarvis Landry…