Why Even Ndamukong Suh Won't Help The Dolphins Win The AFC East
The official free agency period hasn't even started and the three AFC East teams chasing the New England Patriots have thrown around some big money in what will most likely be a race for second in the division.
The biggest move in the league so far goes to the Miami Dolphins, spending $114 million and, more importantly, $60 million guaranteed to land free agency's big fish Ndamukong Suh.
Giving that kind of money to a non-quarterback is virtually unprecedented.
While the Suh signing is the biggest news of the early offseason period, the most surprising move was made by the Buffalo Bills when they acquired LeSean McCoy.
The majority of the NFL is showing it's devaluing the running back position, but new head coach Rex Ryan's best years have always come when his teams run the ball effectively and play great defense. He should now be able to do both in Buffalo.
In many years, the New York Jets acquiring a number one receiver like Brandon Marshall would've made headlines, but this wild free agency period has pushed that news to the back pages.
All three of these moves unquestionably make these teams better than they were a few days ago. The problem for these teams remains trying to catch the division bully.
The Patriots are not only the defending Super Bowl champions, but also the winner of the AFC East for 11 of the last 12 seasons. The one season they failed to win the division was when Tom Brady tore his ACL in the first game of the season.
This offseason so far has been much of the same for the Patriots. The news has been about who they're losing and who they might lose.
Long-time defensive leader Vince Wilfork is on the way out after the team decided not to pick up his option. The team did step up and resign star safety Devin McCourty, but the future of lockdown cornerback Darrelle Revis is still very much up in the air.
The Patriots will never try to win the offseason because it just isn't in their DNA. They made an exception only once when they acquired both Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2007, but even those weren't slam dunk moves when they happened.
Teams like the Patriots, Seahawks and Packers have all proven championships aren't won in the offseason. The draft is where great teams are built.
Free agency period is a fun time because fans know all the names of the players changing teams, but there is usually a reason these players were allowed to hit the open market.
Suh is the exception to the rule because the Lions already had major money invested at other positions, and he was so good they just couldn't afford to pay him.
The Bills, Dolphins and Jets can make all the splashy moves they want to, but it all comes down to the quarterback position in the NFL and that is what's holding back all of those teams.
The days of the Trent Dilfers and Brad Johnsons winning Super Bowls are over. The changes to the rules and the evolving offenses have made this is a quarterback-driven league.
You don't need Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers to win the Super Bowl, but you at least need a Russell Wilson or Joe Flacco.
None of the AFC East teams have that. The Dolphins come the closest with Ryan Tannehill. He has some upside and is still learning the position after moving from wide receiver in college, but he isn't at the level he needs to be for the Dolphins to take the next step.
Meanwhile, in Buffalo and New York, it's even worse, as they are relying on the likes of Matt Cassel and Geno Smith.
If the Jets are smart, they will do everything possible to draft Marcus Mariota. Taking and developing him is a much smarter play than trading for five Brandon Marshall types.
While these teams and the rest of the league will make many more moves in the days to come, the Patriots will sit quietly and wait for their real season in December and January.c