Believe your ears and your eyes:
The days of the Miami Dolphins out-bidding everyone to win free agency truly are over.
For now, at least.
Defensive end Trey Flowers will sign a five-year contract with the Lions, ESPN first reported, meaning the best available player in this year’s class will not be coming to Miami.
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Even though he plays a position the Dolphins desperately need upgraded.
And even though Brian Flores was his coach in New England and they won a Super Bowl together just last month.
So why didn’t Stephen Ross open up the vault to make it happen?
Simply check Chris Grier’s quotes from the day Flores was hired.
“The way I grew up there in New England, I’ve never been (wanting to) spend money — huge money — on a guy to come it, because to me, I’d rather have three really good players than one maybe great player who may or may not impact what you’re doing. I’d rather have three good players at positions that are going to help the team win.”
Flowers — projected to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 million annually as the best free agent in this class — costs as much as three solid players.
The Dolphins need more solid players. A lot more.
They know that great teams are not built in March, but in April.
And they would rather draft, develop and reward their own instead of overspending to land someone else’s.
Even if that player is as good as Flowers, who had 57 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks a year ago.
With Flowers off the board, the list of high-level edge defenders gets pretty lean. Expect teams in need to explore options like Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith (53 tackles, four sacks a year ago) and Ravens edge defender Za’Darius Smith (whose 8 1/2 sacks ranked 29th in football last year.