Is Miami now a playoff team?

Wild-card berth may be within reach, but Dolphins not in Pats' class yet

Originally Published: March 12, 2013
By Rivers McCown | Football Outsiders
Wallace-EllerbeUSA TODAY SportsMike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe help the Miami Dolphins fill two areas of need.

The Dolphins dropped over $100 million in total contracts as NFL free agency opened on Tuesday. The big names were Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe, but the Dolphins also have reportedly signed Philip Wheeler and Chris Clemons. Spending sprees like this come along fairly regularly in free agency, and they tend to fall into two categories: teams that are prepared to take the next step into contention, and teams that are prepared to spend to reach mediocrity. Both groups think they are spending into contention, but the core that's already on the roster is the real determining factor of how far a team can go.

It's a bit too soon to see which group the Dolphins are in, because free agency hasn't fully unfolded yet and they still have plenty of cap space, but the early returns are that the Dolphins haven't retained enough of their core to certifiably think they are in New England's class at the top of the AFC East.

Rivers McCown

Football Outsiders
Rivers McCown is an associate editor for Football Outsiders.