Recounting Rick Spielman's legacy
But every coin has that other side and, taking a cue from Minnesota's recent hiring of Spielman as their vice president for player personnel, I endeavor today to give you both the heads and tails of the yearlong stint Spielman had as Miami's GM.
The idea here, Dolphinheads, is to leave you with the COMPLETE picture of the Spielman year rather than a tainted, slanted negative view. Now after reading the following, you might still think Spielman was a GM bust, but at least you will think that after weighing both good and bad.
*Yes, he made the A.J. Feeley trade and that was a debacle. That trade was still affecting Miami this offseason because Feeley wasn't even good enough to be Miami's backup. So the Dolphins had to invest a sixth-, and potentially a fifth-round pick, on Joey Harrington to be the backup.
*Spielman also traded away a 2004 fourth round pick to Minnesota to move up one spot and pick Vernon Carey, which was a move of desperation and inexperience. Moreover, he picked Carey ahead of University of Miami nose tackle Vince Wolfork, who was rated higher on the Miami draft board, an example of picking for need rather than talent.
*He also got snuckered on the Lamar Gordon trade, which was also born of desperation because the Dolphins didn't have a running back on the roster good enough to start when Ricky Williams went AWOL before the season.
*He picked Tony Bua in the fifth round. Bua, a better at partier than professional football player, was too slow to play safety and too small to play linebacker. That seemed OK because he was picked to be a special teams wizard. He supposedly reminded Spielman of Larry Izzo. Except Izzo was a Pro Bowl special teams performer and he didn't cost Miami a draft pick, having been signed as an undrafted free agent.
*He signed Reggie Howard and paid him like a starter.
*He drafted Rex Hadnot, who is a starter.
*He signed Jeno James, who is a starter.
*He resisted the tempation to re-sign Todd Wade, who has become something of a bust in Houston.
*He picked Derrick Pope in the seventh round, which was a good pick.
*Finally, and perhaps most controversially, he made the Adawale Ogunleye trade. In hindsight,, this trade has been OK for the Dolphins. Yes, they gave up a young dominant defensive end and those are extremely difficult to come by. Ogunleye led the Bears with 10 sacks last season.
But the Dolphins got serviceable starter Marty Booker in the deal plus a draft pick that turned out to be Channing Crowder. So would you take Booker and Crowder over Ogunleye? It's probably a push right now, but you should also consider that the trade allowed the Dolphins to shift part of their salary cap funding toward the offense, where it was lacking, and away from the defense, which is where Dave Wannstedt and Jimmy Johnson had it so unevenly for such a long time.
The trade also separated Ogunleye from Jason Taylor, who at times in 2003 seemed to have a strained relationship.
So there you have it, both good and bad. Now you decide if Spielman was as awful as you thought, or has hindsight absolved him of a bad legacy?