The weeks-long Jadeveon Clowney chase ended for the Miami Dolphins Saturday morning when their attempt to land the Pro Bowl pass rusher failed because he didn’t want to play for the team.
And all of this tells us something:
The Dolphins could not close with Clowney. They met with him and whoever made that decision should reconsider repeating that in the future because meeting with a player who doesn’t really want to play for you right away is rarely a wise move.
In that meeting the Dolphins got the measure of Clowney and let him get the measure of head coach Brian Flores and others within the organization. And whatever vision of the Dolphins Flores presented was not good enough to convince Clowney to change his mind and sign his franchise tag so he could be traded to Miami.
Clowney wanted nothing to do with playing in Miami before the meeting because he doesn’t want to play for team about to lose a lot of games. He came out of the meeting feeling no different.
He was so adamant that he was prepared to miss pay checks of nearly $1 million per week to stay unsigned and not be traded to Miami.
So add Clowney to the list of prominent players who have shown no desire to be on the Dolphins this season. The list includes San Diego backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and New Orleans backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, both of whom preferred being backups on winning teams to being starters in Miami.
(Bridgewater, by the way, also met with the Dolphins and decided playing for his hometown team wasn’t a good idea).
The list of players not wanting to play for Miami also includes Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso, who has asked the Dolphins to trade him.
Alonso, who was on Miami’s initial roster established Saturday but may not be around throughout the season, is one of a few Dolphins veterans not thrilled with the Dolphins. Released safety T.J. McDonald was part of that group, too, until he was released.
These veterans, almost all on defense, didn’t buy into the idea of playing multiple positions and rotating in and out of games and, most importantly, the coaching staff not being specific about their assignments throughout the season.
All of this goes unsaid publicly by the team or players but their actions speak quite loudly.
The Clowney chase also had the Dolphins making obvious what the team’s brain trust wishes were not available for public consumption.
Top on that list? The Dolphins really like offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. But they don’t love Tunsil so much that he’s untouchable. If that wasn’t obvious when the sides tabled contract talks for the year a couple of weeks ago, it’s clear now that Miami considered including Tunsil in a trade for Clowney.
The Dolphins wanted to add Clowney because they saw him as an extraordinary pass rusher they don’t currently have. That tells you what the Dolphins think, at least in part, about Charles Harris.
Harris, Miami’s 2017 first-round pick, has not been a consistent pass-rusher his first two seasons. If he were that guy, the Dolphins would have had no need to chase Clowney, especially after investing another first-round pick on defensive lineman Christian Wilkins this year.
But the chase happened. And Harris would have had his playing time seriously curtailed if Clowney had come. The Dolphins would have been fine with that because they know Harris simply is not at that level.
The Clowney trade possibility also also said something very interesting about the Miami offense.
Including Tunsil in a potential deal -- yes, as long as the Texans returned multiple high-round draft picks, including at least one first-rounder -- would have decimated the offensive line.
And that would have kept the Dolphins from getting as good a game evaluation as possible on quarterback Josh Rosen because him playing behind an offensive line that is without Tunsil is almost unfair.
Except the Dolphins probably aren’t too concerned about getting a good read on Rosen this year -- at least not to the level of urgency everyone believes.
The team is obviously in no rush to play Rosen immediately, as proven by Flores picking Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter in the regular-season opener against Baltimore on Sept. 8. And the team has already made plans for selecting a quarterback in next year’s draft -- almost certainly in the first round.
So either the Dolphins already think they know what they have (or don’t have) in Rosen. Or they’re really comfortable biding time with Rosen, who is contractually tied to the team through 2021,. Or both.
This isn’t rocket science, folks.
The Miami coaching staff and entire organization, really, works hard to keep its internal workings sealed from public scrutiny. (Maybe they should work harder at presenting their vision to players, which apparently needs work). But this is the NFL and stuff gets out because actions speak quite clearly about a team’s thinking.
And the Dolphins and some players have definitely been saying a lot in recent days.