Before last season, any NFL fan asked to name the Miami Dolphins' biggest star could list at least a few options: Jarvis Landry, Mike Pouncey, Jay Ajayi, Ndamukong Suh, and maybe Ryan Tannehill. Now, after a slew of offseason moves, that list has dwindled to one: Tannehill, who hasn't played football for the Dolphins in 19 months.
It's tough to imagine what kind of merchandise fills out the Dolphins' pro shops these days. Is there a Fins jersey that's safe to buy? You're better off getting a No. 13 Dan Marino, which says a lot about the current state of the franchise. Or you could roll the dice and buy a Danny Amendola jersey. Your call. All in all, the Dolphins have an obvious problem heading into an extremely important season: the lack top-flight talent.
That means the Dolphins are the least intriguing team in the NFL. They're the equivalent of canned soup for dinner. There is nothing redeeming about them. There is nothing exciting. They simply exist.
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The Dolphins say they're more concerned about their locker-room culture and how players fit into their system, which is all fine and dandy in a vacuum. But when your best player is likely Rashad Jones, who is a safety, that's not exactly a fantastic way to create the sort of buzz Stephen Ross claims he wants to make in South Florida. Fans need players they can latch on to and get excited about watching every Sunday. You can count the Dolphins players who fit that description on one hand. Hell, maybe one finger.
Everyone knows that if the Dolphins somehow defy the odds and get out to a 10-0 start, the stadium would be packed, but who is the next star that fans will want to shell out money to see? Will we see a monumental uptick in number 32 Kenyan Drake jerseys in the stands this season? Are you making it a point to buy a ticket to a game to see Jones play safety? Are you confident enough in Tannehill's recovery from knee surgery to invest in season tickets, while the team is reportedly interested in bringing back former Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne as a backup in case Tannehill's career is over?
Buying a Dolphins jersey has been a losing proposition for a long time, but it's never been this bad. The Fins have had only a handful of stars at a time for quite a while, but at least they've had a few. It remains to be seen if the team will be better off without high-profile players, but don't bet on it.