Miami Dolphins fans deserve better. Or worse. But not this. Not the in-between place.
The latest example of the Dolphins taking one step forward and one and a half steps back came Friday when they traded Jarvis Landry to the Cleveland Browns in return for two draft picks. The deal in a vacuum is fine: The Dolphins didn't think Landry was worth the money he was demanding, so they moved him for assets. The problem is the bigger picture. The trade is just the latest example of the team wasting an opportunity to be relevant.
The Dolphins somehow wasted and overused Landry at the same time. Four years ago, they took him in the second round, found out he was a helluva steal, and proceeded to make sure he was the entire offense on four very average teams. By the time his four seasons were up, he'd caught 400 balls, made two Pro Bowls, and thought of himself as irreplaceable.
But the Fins yet again turned a good thing into a bad thing — well, a below-average thing at least. Bad would be an improvement. At least with bad comes hope in the NFL because it means tanking and eventually top draft picks. The Dolphins' special brand of keeping things exactly in the middle provides nothing exciting on either end of the spectrum.
The Fins are stuck in football purgatory: They're not bad enough in a league that instantly and handsomely rewards being bad with the best and youngest players out of college, yet the team isn't good enough to ever be taken seriously. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since 2000, and in the three seasons when they made the playoffs, they were outscored 77-24. In 12 of the past 17 seasons, Miami finished with between four and nine wins.
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Though it's rare for the Fins to be outright terrible, it's even rarer — like albino-lobster rare — for them to be fantastic. It's as if the they cancel themselves out and fans are left holding a big Sesame Street-size zero. Being a Dolphins fan is like having the same nightmare over and over where you pull down your pants and there's nothing there. You're working with the genitals of a Ken doll.
It's like Dolphins fans are the kids stuck in a divorce that happens every three years between Stephen Ross and his front office.
The harsh truth is this: The Dolphins are never really preparing for the future; they're simply trying to keep their heads above water. Everything is about now, and now is always a long shot. Nothing is about what's best for the franchise; it's about what will keep everyone from getting fired in the short term. This season, coach Adam Gase and president Mike Tannenbaum are trying their hardest to piece together an entirely new football team on the fly, future
Landry was supposed to be a piece of that puzzle. Instead, the team made him the entire puzzle and then wondered why he wanted to be paid accordingly. It's just another chapter in the history of Dolphins ineptitude. The fans deserve so much better.