The Miami Dolphins have the brightest future in Miami sports. Marinate on that for a moment. There is positivity — perhaps with more supporting evidence than in any recent year — that this current regime and crop of players have built a foundation for years to come. This, remember, is a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 2000.
Dolphins fans may feel they're falling into a trap that has ensnared them before. This time, though, things seem so much different.
Alfredo Arteaga, a member of the team that covers the Dolphins for FiveReasonSports and one of a trio that runs the "Three Yards Per Carry" podcast, tells New Times the Dolphins' prospects are hard to ignore.
"They have two picks in every round of the 2020 draft, except the first round, with a possible top-five pick in a draft that could be the best 'franchise QB draft' in a while," Arteaga says. "To go along with $100 million in cap space, [they're] headed by a GM in Chris Grier [who has conservative tendencies] and a coach that was brought up to 'make do' with lesser talent. That's a great combination.
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"I also like the young talent they have accumulated in Xavien Howard, Laremy Tunsil, Kenyan Drake, the exciting speed receivers [Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson] and the sprinkling of intriguing young talent on the defense."
All the cap space, young stars, and future draft picks the Dolphins have stockpiled mean the Phins have the best outlook of any local team. The Heat is a cap-restricted mess for the foreseeable future with zero-to-no chance of contending in a conference and league filled with superior teams. It will take multiple moves and seasons for the club to catch up.
The Marlins have an intriguing farm system in 2019, but those players are a handful of years, at best, away from helping the team in Miami. The franchise is realistically shooting to compete in 2021 or 2022 at the earliest. Even that may be a stretch considering how badly Jeffrey Loria and David Samson left the club's finances and minor league system.
The Dolphins have a trio of things working for them that other teams in this market do not: the money to spend, a group of potential young stars already on the team, and a war chest of draft picks to improve dramatically next off-season.