- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Miami Dolphins fans are pumped for the offseason following a 7-9 record in 2012 and plenty of resources to improve. The Dolphins have 10 draft picks, including five in the first three rounds, and more than $40 million of cap room.
The Dolphins have several well-defined needs, such as wide receiver and the secondary. However, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross threw some cold water on the idea that Miami would go wild during free agency in March.
"Free agency certainly isn't the answer. We've all seen that," Ross explained. "You can talk about the failures in free agency more than you can about the successes."
Does this means Miami will not be major players in free agency? That remains to be seen.
If the Dolphins want to take the next step, they must use the money they have available. Some of that can be used to keep Miami's own in-house free agents and the rest for outside additions. The key is the Dolphins must choose wisely.
Ross is correct that the draft is the lifeblood of any good NFL franchise. Miami must nail that in April, as well. But signing the right free agents in March is the first order of business and can provide an immediate boost to Miami's roster.
The person in charge of these draft and free-agent decisions will be Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who remains a controversial figure. Ireland has had three consecutive losing seasons running the Dolphins and enters a make-or-break year.
Ross, who has been in Ireland's corner, offered another endorsement on Monday.
"I [like] his football intelligence, his knowledge, his hard work," Ross said. "I think he has the respect of his peers. He is one of the youngest general managers around. I like dealing with youth and enthusiasm, and I think he has the knowledge and desire. He is smart and he is committed to building a (winner)."