And now the hard work starts.
Wait, let me re-phrase that, since the Dolphins brass watched their words as carefully as calories on Wednesday. It's not "hard" work. It's watching video, crunching numbers and formulating a plan for a successful offseason. That's not digging a manhole.
But it's hard to get right. It's hard to make the pieces fit, as everyone knows watching the work of those sitting for years where Dolphins coach Adam Gase, general manager Chris Grier and executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum did on Wednesday.
They talked about offseason plans. Actually, they didn't talk about them. Yet everyone knows their first order of business is the hardest: receiver Jarvis Landry, yea or nay?
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Right up to the final game and these opening moments of the offseason, the plan seemed to be to pay Landry – to overpay him, really. Because they would have to pay him like the No. 1 receiver he isn't. Landry is about to set sail for free agency, where he's earned the right to be competitive and selfish about his needs – and he's always competitive and often selfish, anyway.
That's the one concern, of course. There's a reason the Dolphins didn't sign Landry last offseason while throwing unnecessary millions for pedestrian players like Kiko Alonso and Andre Branch. It's that Landry was, in the words of one source, "a handful."
How? Well, he was kicked out of a practice in 2016 for getting on quarterback Ryan Tannehill. That's one example. But the Landry of this season got more with the program, it was repeated and repeated, right up to the final game when his mind went wild, he started a fight and got ejected.
On a day where little else was said, Gase was ready for this question. He called Landry's behavior, "about as embarrassing as I've seen in a long time. That was very frustrating to watch and standing there and not being able to do anything. We need way better control from our best players in the heat of the moment."
Will it affect the decision of whether to bring Landry back?
"I think you can't take one isolated incident and overreact," he said. "But at the same time we have to make sure we look at everything that we've been doing over the last couple of years and really that's where our decisions are made. We look at the body of work and see what direction we want to go in."
Translation: Stay tuned. Landry, they know, is a handful. You know who else was a handful? Jay Ajayi, as we found out when he was traded to Philadelphia.
That's not to say that's the plan for Landry. It's to say we'll have to see what the plan is.
Compounding this is he's the best player on this offense. Or the most exaggerated. Maybe Landry is both. It's hard to figure if he's merely good or really great, if his receiving numbers are indeed historic or artificially amplified by being a dump-off option in an offense forever without a top receiver and tight end.
In some sense, he's Wes Welker. How dumb did it look for the Dolphins to lose Welker? Wouldn't it look dumb for a marginally talented Dolphins team to lose Landry?
"We're going to review everything and make what we consider the best decision," Tannenbaum said about Landry. Or maybe it was about the draft. Or who returns on this roster.
That was the catch-all phrase Wednesday, and let's face it, there are easy decisions ahead. Julius Thomas, Jay Cutler, Lawrence Timmons and Ja'Wuan James won't be back. Of them, James is the big loss. He was a first-round pick in 2014, after all. He costs $9 million right now, but that could be scaled back to something digestible.
The problem is he went out in midseason and wasn't missed. The line actually improved with reserve Sam Young at right tackle. So, no, James isn't a hard decision.
Landry? For months, the idea has been they'd overpay for him, just as they have to do. Gase pumped the brakes on that Wednesday. Stay tuned. The hard decisions have begun.