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Sports Agenda For Thursday (3/14/13)

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DAVIE - Mike Wallace is introduced as a member of the Miami Dolphins. 3/13/12 (Source: CBS4)

DAVIE – Mike Wallace is introduced as a member of the Miami Dolphins. 3/13/12 (Source: CBS4)

Miami Dolphins

Big Story:
Happy Pi Day! A couple of things to get to today including how much the Dolphins have left to spend. When was the last time the Heat lost again? And MLB season is coming, do you actually care if you live in Miami?

Quote of the Day:
“They called us a dead generation. They told us that we wouldn’t survive. They left us alone in the maelstrom. As you can see, we’re all plenty alive. We know where you are and we’re coming.” – Corey Taylor from the song 30/30-150

Miami Dolphins:
Wow, what a first two days in free agency huh?
The Fins have been spending money faster than a Fox affiliate can insert a worthless graphic in a story.
So far, the Fins have signed two linebackers who are both speedy and young. The team re-signed Brian Hartline and tagged Randy Starks.
The big signing was Mike Wallace who the team overpaid for, but had to given the scouting/drafting ability of the team.
Some have compared the spending to the Washington Redskins in the past few years, but it’s not and here’s why.
The Dolphins aren’t targeting guys past their prime, these are all players still in their prime.
Wallace is 27, the linebackers I believe are younger than that, and Hartline is too. Starks is probably the oldest, but if he doesn’t agree to a multi-year deal this year, he’s out the door next year too.
Now the team is talking with Dustin Keller and pursuing Brandon Gibson.
It’s an impressive haul when you consider another thing….
The Fins have a plethora of draft picks including 5 in the first 100 picks.
So the team will continue to go young in the draft.
I have to say this because I have ripped him unmercifully at times, but I like what Jeff Ireland is doing here.
You build through youth, not through patchwork plugs from free agency.
You can use free agency, but don’t go for the old veterans, go for youth and build around them with youth.
All that said, I am concerned with the perceived lack of leadership on the team, but hopefully Tannehill and others will step up, which I think they will.
Here’s the fun part about it.
The Fins still have approximately $20 million in cap space to play with going forward.
That’s some seriously fun structuring of contracts right there. My guess is Wallace’s contract calls for a cap hit of around $20 million in year five and he’ll never get there with the current deal.
See, math does help you out even in sports.
So what are the Fins’ biggest needs going forward?
I see three: Tight End, Cornerback, and Offensive Line
Assuming the Fins sign Keller, which I fully expect today, it leaves tight end and offensive line.
I know some have said Jake Long may be coming back, but if he leaves St. Louis after having a day-long physical without a contract that’s a HUGE red flag on him and I wouldn’t touch him.
Here’s what I would do:
Look for a veteran free agent cornerback to start and another in the second or third round of the draft to build around.
Draft either the top tight end or top guard at number 12 in the draft.
Then take the other one you didn’t get in round one with first pick in second round.
Problem solved and the Fins have the look of a playoff team.
Plus, without Wes Welker…the Patriots passing game is nothing compared to what it used to be against Miami. During his time in New England, Welker had more than 1,000 receiving yards against Miami including his infamous 99-yard touchdown catch from a couple of years ago.
Things are looking up Fins fans and you can thank Jeff Ireland.
Wow, I never thought I’d write that.

Miami Heat: (off Thursday)
Philadelphia made Miami earn that 20th victory in a row last night.
Philly had it tied with about a minute or so to go before Miami pulled away with a key block from Chris Bosh and clutch free throw shooting.
LeBron had a ho-hum 27 points with 7 boards and 8 assists while Wade went for 21 and Bosh had 10 points and 3 blocked shots.
Chris Andersen dropped in 10 points and Ray Allen hit for 12.
This is on a night when the Heat couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean from behind the 3-point line.
When you can win a game like that, it says a lot about how well you’re playing.
It also helps when you shoot 27 free throws to Philly’s 12 and you hit 85 percent of those free throws.
Still, Miami did get mauled on the glass by Thaddeus Young who had 24 points and 15 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
Nevertheless, Miami entered into elite company becoming only the fourth team in NBA history to win at least 20 games in a row in one season.
As I said in the past, the all-time winning streak is 33 straight and given the way the Heat are playing, I would say that’s in reach.
It’ll be tough to get there, but it’s possible.
The biggest hurdles right now are on March 18 against Boston and March 31 @San Antonio.
Course the Spurs may play the cheerleaders if they need to rest players so it might be an easier game than you think.

Panthers: (@ Boston, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Florida)
The Panthers visit Boston to pick up their latest loss of the season tonight.
Really I’d like to write something else about them, but this season is lost for Florida and they need to start emptying the roster to plan for the future.

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