Miami Dolphins Have the Worst Future of Florida's Three NFL Teams

For a long time, Dolphins fans have thought of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars as the Winn-Dixies to the Dolphins' Publix. The Kia to Miami's Lexus. The community college to their University of Miami. 

Well, times are a-changin'. At this moment in history, it sure seems like the Dolphins have the dimmest light bulb in the room. 

The Jaguars and Bucs have been terrible for a long time, but this isn't about the past (even though the Bucs do have the most recent title of the three). This is about the future — and the Dolphins obviously have the worst prospects of Florida's pro football franchises. 

Let's start with the quarterbacks. Despite heading into his fifth season, the Dolphins know less about their QB than the Bucs and Jags know about young gunslingers Jameis Winston and Blake Bortles. And Ryan Tannehill is much more expensive than either of the other two.

Though neither Winston or Bortles has been perfect, they have flashed more of an ability to be great in spite of their teams' shortcomings in their first seasons than Tannehill has in his four. Tannehill has a chance to change the narrative about himself this season under new coach Adam Gase, but if not this season, when? Maybe not with the Dolphins. Maybe never.

Some observers will point to the fact that Tannehill's contract has numerous escape hatches if the light doesn't turn on this season — but if the Dolphins were to capitalize on them and pull the parachute, where does that leave them? There is a lot of pressure on Tannehill to prove he is not only better than the two young quarterbacks flashing big-time talents in state, but also capable of leading a team to a championship at all.

Turning to the overall lineup, it's hard to dispute that the Jaguars have gotten better this off-season, while the Dolphins have gotten worse. Playmakers on both sides of the ball for the Fins have gone out the door, while only injury-plagued question marks have come in.

The Jaguars have lured defensive lineman Malik Jackson away from Denver and running back Chris Ivory away from the Jets and then solidified their secondary when they acquired Cleveland’s Tashaun Gipson and the Giants’ Prince Amukamara, both capable cornerbacks. The Dolphins have underwhelmed thus far in free agency. The new players they have acquired would need to work out perfectly to even match the guys the team has lost this off-season. So far, it seems as if a 6-10 team has gotten worse. 

The Bucs, meanwhile, have retained their franchise running back, added depth to their defensive line in Roberty Ayers, and added a Pro Bowl cornerback you might have heard of, Brent Grimes. With a year under his belt, Winston is primed to expand on his Rookie of the Year season in 2016, and the Bucs seem to be a team with young talents with more room to grow than the Dolphins. 

It might be time to admit the truth: The Miami Dolphin aren't the cream of the crop of Florida NFL teams anymore. 

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