Photo: The Dolphins reportedly are re-signing wide receiver DeVante Parker for two years, $13 million. (Steve Mitchell for USA Today)
This is the week that finally offers insight into what this Dolphins offseason is all about.
Even before NFL’s version of New Year’s Day begins Wednesday at 4 p.m., the blueprint new GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are working with is becoming apparent.
The emphasis is on restocking with younger talent and not overpaying for veteran names.
After seeing their starting right tackle, Ja’Wuan James, depart for Denver and declining to enter a bidding war for former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, who is getting a big deal with Detroit, this is a departure from the recent past.
That may be a sobering reality to Dolphins fans, but let’s face it, the previous approach was a flop.
What did the Dolphins win in throwing big bucks at the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Mike Wallace, Karlos Dansby, Dannell Ellerbe, Lawrence Timmons and Mario Williams (and that’s just a sampling)?
Nothing tangible beyond the reputation as an easy mark for free agents and their representatives seeking bloated contracts.
Grier has made it clear he’d rather invest in three solid players than one big-name star.
Sure, the Dolphins need a pass rusher like Flowers (7.5 sacks last season), who reportedly is getting $16 million to $17 million over five years, but they have more holes to fill to fortify a porous defense.
James will become the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL — four years, $51 million ($32 million guaranteed — despite never making the Pro Bowl.
The preference would have been to keep James, who they drafted in the first round in 2014, but he never reached elite status.
For what it’s worth, CBS Sports graded the Broncos’ signing of James a D+, calling it “great money for a good player.”
Meanwhile, there is not much for Dolfans to get excited about at the onset of the free agent signing period beyond the expected parting with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whose time had clearly passed in Miami.
The move to retain wide receiver DeVante Parker, another polarizing former first-round draft pick, on a two-year contract reported Tuesday by the NFL Network, is somewhat surprising and not necessarily welcomed by the fan base.
Even home-grown Teddy Bridgewater, favored by many as a bridge quarterback, is reportedly staying in New Orleans as a back-up.
Rumors have the Dolphins filling that role with journeyman Tyrod Taylor, who couldn’t hold onto the starting job in Buffalo or Cleveland.
So far the only notable addition for Miami was adding depth at tight end in the low-profile signing of Dwayne Allen.
James won’t be the last of the subtractions. Along with Tannehill, an exodus of secondary players is expected in the coming days. Veteran running back Frank Gore wasn’t retained and is heading to Buffalo.
Turnover happens every year with every team in the league. A lot of it is driven by salary-cap concerns.
This Dolphins offseason is unlike and more enigmatic than most years with different guiding philosophies coming under a new GM and coach along with owner Steve Ross’ decree for a new approach.
One thing that is certain is the upcoming draft will be vital for getting the overhaul on a positive track. Grier and the personnel brain trust are on the spot and must deliver.
They will get a compensatory draft pick for James.
Despite the glaring need for a young quarterback to build around, my expectation is they go for a pass rusher in the first round. The departure of James opens the possibility of addressing the offensive line.
None of that makes for a sexy offseason, nor do the prospects for Sunday afternoons this fall appear bright.
Such is the current landscape in South Florida where every pro team is at different stages of building for the future and none are close to a championship run.
Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns