As Thursday wound down at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the saga of Jarvis Landry, his franchise tag from the Dolphins and whether he’s going to get a long term deal from them or another team, heated up.
First, as we wrote earlier in the week, by placing the tag on Landry that guarantees him $16 million for 2018, the Dolphins gave him all the leverage and power. And, it was clear earlier and now even clearer as the week has worn on that Miami is in fact negotiating with themselves.
Next, ESPN reported on Thursday afternoon, that the Dolphins front office, VP Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier, etc. had conversations with Landry’s agent Demarius Bilbo, and that they went well.
I'm told that communication "went extremely well" in the meeting Wednesday evening with WR Jarvis Landry's rep and the #Dolphins.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 1, 2018
Whatever “communication ‘went extremely well’ truly means, no one knows? Example, the communication could have been from the Fins “we’re never giving you a long term deal,” and if he got the message, then it “went extremely well.”
Then Thursday evening, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted from Indy:
Sources: The #Dolphins have given franchise tagged WR Jarvis Landry and his representative permission to seek and facilitate a trade. It will take cooperation from all parties.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 2, 2018
So, that lends credence to the hypothetical we sarcastically made above, that the Dolphins don’t have any intention of giving their best receiver and best offensive weapon a blockbuster deal. Curious strategy after you put a $16 million tag on him.
It’s been reported previously that the Ravens showed trade interest for Landry, but didn’t come close to meeting what the Dolphins were looking for in compensation.
The reality is this: by letting Landry look for the trade partner and talk extension, etc., he and his team are in complete control. They could shop and like a team or not. Ultimately, they can report back to the Dolphins that they would go to one of several teams or tell them they are sitting tight.
Known as, making the Dolphins “negotiate against themselves.”
How could they have handled this differently?
Obviously, they could have shopped Landry privately, and maybe they have been, and when they got a team really interested, work out compensation and then, go to Landry’s side for extension talks.
Instead, they leave the fourth year receiver in control. And Miami may be right where they started, next week or the week after: with Jarvis Landry slated to make $16 million this year and be a free agent, again.
Later on Thursday night, Palm Beach Post Dolphins beat writer Joe Schad tweeted another interesting tidbit to add to his leverage:
Jarvis Landry plans to sign that franchise tag as soon as early next week #MiamiDolphins
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) March 2, 2018
Again, at that point, Landry doesn’t have to agree to a long term contract with anyone. And likely, no team would be willing to trade anything significant to Miami, if Landry won’t agree to rescind the tag and agree long term.
An option that the Dolphins gave him, when all of this started.
We’ll see the next moves, soon.
Jon Gruden’s returns to Florida already in coaching turmoil
It may be premature to say that the “second honeymoon” for Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders is already over, but another defeat Sunday, and it likely is.
The Raiders are clearly struggling after dropping their second straight game last week in heartbreaking fashion against the Broncos in Denver. Oakland controlled most of the game and Derek Carr was outstanding, completing 23 of his first 24 passes on the day.
However, in the end Case Keenum rallied the Broncos and when Brandon McManus’ last-second field goal went through, the smirking critics of “Chucky” were already “sticking their chests out” about his NFL return.
Without question, some of this is self-inflicted, as Gruden clearly did not want to pay and therefore keep, linebacker Khalil Mack for the Raiders. And yes, they got a bounty of draft picks in return, but Mack has been nothing short of sensational as a pass rusher in two games in Chicago, and the Raiders defense is again mediocre-at-best.
So, that brings us to Sunday. And even though Gruden has been living in the Tampa Bay area while doing Monday Night Football for ESPN, this is the first time that he’s back coaching a game in the state since the final regular-season game of 2008. That day, ironically his Buccaneers lost to the Raiders completing a four-game losing collapse and costing his team a playoff spot-ultimately Gruden his job with the Bucs.
Now, the Raiders have come all the way East to Miami to play the 2 – 0 Dolphins. And while Gruden is in absolutely no jeopardy of losing his job, at least not until year 3 or 4 if it’s not working, owner Mark Davis didn’t make this shockwave multimillion-dollar hire to have the Raiders be one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Clearly, there was going to be some learning curve for Gruden with his new staff and new players. However, with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback like Carr the belief was the Raiders would be solid, if not a wild card playoff contender.
It hasn’t shaped up that way as of yet.
The good news for Raider fans is: no one is going to outwork Gruden at trying to get it right.
The bad news is: the Raiders may not have enough overall talent to overcome that above-mentioned learning curve and digging themselves an 0-3 hole start 2018.
And the Fins, may be about to deal “Raider Nation” their latest lost Sunday.
Dolphins got contributions everywhere in Sunday win
There were a lot of questions and plenty of reasons to doubt the Dolphins roster makeup, as 2018 was getting underway.
However, two games in, the Fins have been impressive, and earned their way to an unbeaten start. Their latest effort Sunday at The Meadowlands against AFC East rival Jets saw numerous players new and old step up.
Whether it was TJ McDonald’s early interception of New York rookie QB Sam Darnold, or Kenyan Drake weaving through the Jets front seven for the early score a short time later, Miami set the tone.
And then, when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball free from Jets receiver Robby Anderson and Raekwon McMillan recovered it, it was new free agent receiver Albert Wilson capitalizing here:
Can't catch @iThinkIsee12
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 16, 2018
It went for a 29-yard touchdown from QB Ryan Tannehill and Miami had command at that point at 14-0.
Tannehill spread the ball around to seven different receivers, and even found reserve A.J. Derby for a 19 yard touchdown, as the lead ballooned to 20-0 nothing.
Darnold ended with some decent yardage and a couple of second-half touchdowns, but the Dolphins registered four sacks and had three total takeaways to help put this one away.
Even ageless veteran Frank Gore got into the act. This as, the 35 year old moved into fourth place on NFL all-time rushing list trailing only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.
And late in the game caught a dump off pass from Tannehill and weaved through the Jet defense to pick up 3rd and 19, move the chains and allow Miami to run the clock out.
So the 2018 Dolphins don’t have Jay Cutler, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and some of the others from a team that struggled last year.
However, their new faces stepped in and stepped up Sunday on the road.
And Miami is now 2 – 0 for the first time since 2013, and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
Gameday- Dolphins renew rivalry with Jets in New York
Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)
Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Spread: Jets by 2.5 (Courtesy Vegasinsidercom)
Renewal of the Rivalry
There are no longer names like Shula, Namath and Marino, but the storied rivalry of the Dolphins and the Jets is five decades old. As AFC East Rivals since the early 1970’s, these teams and fan bases are familiar with each other for generations. Yes, grandads, dads and in some cases, great granddads have watched these two play. The Jets hold a 54-50-1 record all time, and that includes a decisive win in the Meadowlands last year. The Fins, however, won the rematch (Cutler at the helm) later in the year at Hard Rock Stadium.
Now, they play right away in 2018 and the winner maintains at least a tie for first in the division.
Tannehill looks to build on week one
It was a bizarre game last Sunday in the opener with Tennessee, as there were two lightning delays that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours. So, it’s tough to judge everything completely. However, QB Ryan Tannehill, off his ACL tear last August, was effective for a lot of the game (despite two picks) finishing 20-28 for 230 yards and two TDs. One was a second half 75 yard bomb to WR Kenny Stills as the Dolphins prevailed 27-20.
Will the Jets 3-4 defense be able to rattle him? Will Tannehill handle the pressure and be accurate. It’s not the only key, but a big one for the Fins.
Finally, will the Jets look like they did Monday night?
In a remarkable win on the road on Monday night, rookie Sam Darnold overcame a pick six TD in the first :20 of his NFL career to play effectively in the blowout win over the Lions. Darnold who was 16-21 with two TDs, will have to be solid in this one for the Jets.
The Dolphins pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Cam Wake will try to fluster him and create those bad throws from the USC rookie.
The Jets defense and special teams came up with big plays also against Detroit, as they pulled away in the second half for a 48-17 win. That included an interception and punt return TD in the second half.
Miami will need to keep the Jets from making the big play Sunday.
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