John Beck agrees to three year-deal
Ted Ginn Jr's contract isn't done yet, but I'm told "progress is being made."
That notwithstanding, you have to wonder about this deadline owner Wayne Huizenga imposed on his front office. No doubt it will be the policy of the team from here on out. And this is why it's a bad idea, or was this year:
The Dolphins rookies and scattered free agents start training camp Tuesday and the rest of the team joins them on the field Saturday and suddenly one feels like High Noon is approaching because of Wayne Huizenga's stance on signing rookies.
The Dolphins owner, who is otherwise a man of great business acumen, has taken the questionable negotiating stance that if rookies are not signed by the start of camp, they might as well sit out the entire season because he's not going to deal with them past that date.
Huizenga makes the case that when rookies are late to camp they don't contribute very much their first year and he uses Ronnie Brown and Jason Allen as the examples for that.
It's a noble stand on principle but it's just not good business.
With only a couple of days before rookies go on the field, the team is still optimistic top two picks Ted Ginn Jr and John Beck will be in uniform although they remain unsigned as of this writing. Beck's agent has been working to get his client in camp while Ginn's agent, Neil Cornrich, has been a little harder to move from his negotiating position.
And that creates these issues: The Dolphins owner has painted himself into a negotiating corner that sets the team up for failure or weakness in negotiations or both. Can you just see how red-faced Huizenga will be if his deadline is not met but the rookies sign late anyway.
That happened last year and Huizenga was embarrassed about it. Can you also how weakened the team is if the deadline approaches and negotiators are giving in so that their boss's deadline is met and he's not upset? Not any part of this strategy makes Miami's position stronger because, for the most part, agents aren't going to believe the team will walk completely away from negotiations for the year -- until the team actually does it once.
The owner also has set a rule that applies to everyone but leaves no wiggle room for individual circumstances.
And this year offers circumstances that beg revue of the policy.
Beck, we understand, is unlikely to be called upon at any time early this season so it is unwise to say if he's not there the first day he might as well start thinking about next year. Beck can easily miss several days, indeed weeks, of camp and still be in the same spot he'll be in come September -- riding the bench as the No. 3 QB with no chance of getting in the game unless something goes terribly wrong.
Would he miss some snaps? Yes. Would that greatly diminish Miami's chances of winning this year? Not likely.
The point is why would Huizenga put such undue pressure on his front office to get the deal done for a player that is valuable for the future but not really a vital cog for success today? Now take the worst case scenario and suppose Beck isn't signed. If that really means he's on the shelf for a year that is a catastrophic blow to a team that needs a young quarterback to start making his mark by the 2008 season.
Looking at Ginn's situation, the argument can again be made that he can miss some time and still be valuable to the team. Like this year. Because the Dolphins plan is to get the most out of Ginn as a returner at first and bring him along slowly as a receiver, I would argue that imposing a deadline on the negotiations is unwise because you threaten to lose your first round pick for the entire season based on him missing a deadline that won't really affect how much he'll contribute.
Huizenga could argue that if he misses that deadline, he won't be as valuable to the team. I would counter that it doesn't take eight weeks to learn the return schemes and the guy isn't going to be pressed at receiver right away anyway.
It would be different if the Dolphins intended to plug their two top picks into the lineup immediately and needed them to be a starting receiver and the quarterback. But that's not the case and that's why this artificial rule that apparently makes no room for fluid scenarios is not good business.
Finally, this contract edict from Huizenga says the rookies must be signed by the start of camp ... Does that mean Tuesday or Saturday for them? I would imagine if a rookie isn't in by Tuesday but gets a deal done by Saturday the owner isn't going to turn his back on that and nix the whole thing.
I would hope this so-called hardline negotiating stance would leave some room for some pragmatism.