Armando Salguero

Day before the start of NFL free agency: It didn’t stink for the Miami Dolphins

Wide receiver Danny Amendola won’t be catching any more touchdowns from Tom Brady.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola won’t be catching any more touchdowns from Tom Brady. AP

Two for the price of one. That’s one way the Miami Dolphins might sell their acquisition of the two receivers acquired so far to take the place of Jarvis Landry.

Landry’s trade to the Cleveland Browns will become official after 4 p.m. on Wednesday. And that will put a close to the soap opera that has played out between Landry and the Dolphins over the past year .

Then it will be a new day. It will be a new league year around the NFL.

And the Dolphins are hoping to go in a new direction.

And while the addition of Albert Wilson from the Kansas City Chiefs and Danny Amendola from the New England Patriots isn’t exactly going to make Landry an afterthought, they absolutely have the chance to help the Dolphins and their fans make some good, new memories.

I want to tell you everything about Wilson and Amendola for Landry is going to work. That it’s going to be an upgrade. But I can’t say that with certainty because there are some details that bother.

Wilson is only 5-9 and his best season came in 2018 — a contract year — which is a red flag.

Amendola is 5,234 years old — or 32, whichever you want to believe — and has had something of an injury history. He’s also supposedly making the jump from New England and, I caution you, New England people should never be considered totally gone from Foxboro, Mass. until they actually leave. Too many have changed their minds to call any departure a certainty.

These things may matter, at least right now.

Dolphins insider Armando Salguero breaks down NFL free agency during a Facebook Live stream from Miami Herald studios on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

But if the things the Dolphins like about these two guys manifest while the obvious worries fade, the whole of the Dolphins receiver room just got better.

The Amendola addition on a two-year contract is, in a word, satisfying.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase meets with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

For years the New England Patriots have spent offseasons plucking talent off division rivals. The Patriots took Wes Welker, Damon Huard, Larry Izzo and others off the Dolphins. They took Chris Hogan, Stephon Gilmore and Mike Gillislee off the Bills. They stole their head coach from the Jets.

But this time, the Dolphins take one away from the Patriots.

And I get it, Amendola’s not exactly been the straw that stirs the drink in New England. He’s a role player.

But I really like this acquisition anyway because it weakens the Patriots and improves the Dolphins on and off the field.

On the field, Amendola will be a security blanket for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Yeah, assuming both are healthy. Amendola will run precise routes. He won’t make silly mistakes. He’ll want to make the Patriots hurt for letting him walk. And with 13 postseason games, including five starts, the past five seasons, he knows what it takes to win big games.

Does that make Amendola better than Jarvis Landry? Of course not. No one is claiming that.

Amendola is more like Wes Welker...when he left the Patriots and went to the Broncos...coincidentally, also at 32 years old.

He’ll be an example for Miami’s younger receivers of what it takes to compete successfully at a championship level — something no one else on the Miami roster knows how to do.

And, again, Miami’s gain is New England’s loss.

The Patriots may not see it that way but you should because when Miami players were leaving to New England, they saw it as a loss for Miami.

(While I’m on this topic, it would be sweet if the Dolphins also poached running back Dion Lewis from New England.)

Wilson
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson heads for the end zone past Buffalo Bills defensive back Leonard Johnson for a touchdown in the third quarter on Sun., Nov. 26, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. John Sleezer TNS

Even with Amendola aboard, the Dolphins didn’t feel complete in filling the void left by Landry. And so they took another chunk of the $15.9 million they had invested in Landry’s franchise tag and added Wilson.

You know what that means? The Dolphins added Amendola and Wilson for less than $14 million, or about $2 million less than they would have needed to keep Landry.

Wilson was initially billed as a slot receiver addition before the Amendola signing. I’m told he’s more than that.

Although largely unproven after four years in Kansas City, Wilson comes with great potential. He can play both the slot and outside and his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash can stretch defenses from either spot.

No, he’s not a finished product. But that’s almost part of the allure. He’s supposed to be ascending. He’s still learning. He has promise. And the Dolphins love that Wilson is said to be coachable.

These moves along with the team keeping Ja’Wuan James on the one-year $9.3 million option, and re-signing Walt Aikens for two years, means the team locked down its starting right tackle and stopped the special teams bleeding on a day it also lost kicker Cody Parkey to Chicago.

All in all a day that didn’t stink.

Wednesday also promises good things. The Dolphins expect to complete the Robert Quinn trade that improves their defense. They’re still hunting for a good, veteran offensive lineman. The tight end position should also get some attention.

This unfamiliar feeling I’m getting inside? I remember it from years ago.

I think it means I’m encouraged.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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