Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said last week at the Annual League Meeting that he and the organization are all in on the long game.
“I’m looking at it now to do it the way I’ve built every business, and build it from the ground up. I’m prepared to stay with it,” Ross told reporters, per ESPN. “I am committed.”
Since the end of the 2018 season, Miami has rebuilt its coaching staff in the image of rookie skipper Brian Flores, swapped Ryan Tannehill out for journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, traded Robert Quinn away and let Cameron Wake, Frank Gore, Danny Amendola and Ja’Wuan James walk into free agency, among others. What’s left in Miami is a hodgepodge of building blocks and passersby.
The apparent gutting of Miami’s roster might not be over, and it’s further indication that the Dolphins are finally willing to take drastic measures to escape the mediocrity that has defined the franchise’s last decade of existence. Miami has finished between 6-10 and 10-6 every season since it last won the AFC East in 2008.
A philosophical metamorphosis like that, Ross said, likely won’t produce results for some time.
“I would love for it to be two years. But you have to be realistic,” Ross said of the attempted rebuild. “Hopefully, we make the right decisions. We have a good, young nucleus to start with. It’s not like we’re starting all over again. We have great players.
“We are a young team, but there are positions we need to get better at. You’re not going to go buy those positions. You’ve got to draft and build them and grow them.”
First up on the shopping list is a franchise quarterback to replace the traded Tannehill and compete with Fitzpatrick. Miami could select the signal-caller of the future in this year’s draft — the Fins own the 13th overall pick — but it could also wait for 2020’s more enticing haul of Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. The Dolphins also have draft capital to build depth with 18 picks over the next two seasons.
That build-through-the-draft mentality coupled with a patient owner who’s used to building towering achievements from the ground up and a young coach-GM pairing with a long leash is a recipe of success. But it’ll be a slow cook.
“I’m prepared to stay with it. You can call me on it anytime you want, [and say] ‘You know what, you’re abandoning your idea,'” Ross said. “I am committed.”