The Dolphins are worth $2.575 billion, which outranks some other notable franchises such as the Green Bay Packers (2.55), Boston Celtics (2.5), Manchester City (2.474), Arsenal (2.238) and the New York Mets (2.1).
As Forbes notes, the NFL is king in the world of sports.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans picked football as their favorite sport to watch in the latest Gallup Poll, Forbes reports. Basketball, baseball and soccer trail at 11, 9 and 7 percent.
NFL teams each earn $255 million in shared television rights. The most valuable franchises in the world are the: Dallas Cowboys (4.84 billion), Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, New York Yankees, New England Patriots, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Giants and Golden State Warriors.
The NFL lands 29 teams among the 50 most valuable sports franchises for the second straight year, according to Forbes.
Owner Stephen Ross reportedly completed his purchase of 95 percent of the Dolphins for $1 billion in 2009. The year before, Ross bought 50 percent of the franchise, Dolphin Stadium and surrounding land for $550 million.
Ross has spent more than $550 million to turn Hard Rock Stadium into a world-class facility, which also improves the value of the franchise.
DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins wrapped up their 13th scheduled practice on Thursday. And here are some of the highlights from Adam Gase’s final availability until training camp starts near the end of July.
DAVIE — Ja’Wuan James is the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL in 2018, at $9.34 million.
But James doesn’t want to talk about it.
“I am just focused on having a good year here,” James said Thursday, when asked about Miami’s decision to process their fifth-year option. “I am focused on having a good year for this team and that’s it.”
James, 26, signed a 4-year, $8.4 million contract as a rookie. So, presumably he’s happy about earning more than that in one season.
But is James still hopeful a long-term deal can be reached with the club?
“I’m really just focused on the season and getting better,” James said. “I’m focused on this hamstring and getting myself to 100 percent.”
James is generally one of the most affable, cordial, gregarious players in the Dolphins locker room. He is extremely approachable and professional. He just clearly doesn’t want to talk about his contract right now.
James was asked about Pro Football Focus ranking him as the fifth-best pass-blocking tackle in the NFL.
“I feel like I’m just trying to get better every day,” James said. “I’m just focused on coming back from this injury. Being a whole lot better. And finishing this season.”
One interesting thing James alluded to a few times was overcoming his season-ending hamstring injury. James missed the last eight games of last season with a severely pulled and torn hamstring.
“I feel like I’m past it,” James said. “I just feel the first couple of days, it felt different. The game is so fast and stuff. Just from not being out there. But once I started picking it up I was fine.”
James has been working closely with first-year offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn.
“Just using my technique the same every time,” James said. “That’s the hardest part, just doing the same thing, every time. No matter who you’re going against. Silent count. Whatever it is. Maintaining the same consistency in my technique.”
DAVIE — Patrick Surtain was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Miami Dolphins and like rookie Cornell Armstrong, he played at Southern Miss.
So Surtain expressed a desire to connect with Armstrong, and it recently happened.
“He told me to go out there and get as many reps as I can,” Armstrong said Wednesday. “He said, ‘Don’t hide in the back, go out there and just do what I do, do what I did to get here and just play ball.'”
As a sixth-rounder, Armstrong knows there’s know guarantee he’ll make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster. Of course, there was no guarantee former fifth-rounder Bobby McCain was going to make the Dolphins as a rookie and he just earned a $27 million deal.
McCain recently said Armstrong reminds him of himself. And so Armstrong has also connected with McCain.
“One day after practice, I just went up to McCain,” Armstrong said. “I just got out of that shell of just hiding back, so I had to go talk to him. I was like ‘Man, why did you do this? Why did you do that?’ Because I want to be up there where those guys are at one day. I decided to just stop shying around and just go out there and speak to all of those guys and treat them like they’re my brothers.”
In what ways is Armstrong’s style similar to McCain’s?
“Physical,” Armstrong said. “I like the way he plays. He’s a physical guy. He’s not scared to go in there and get rough with you. I like that. That’s just how my game is.”
Armstrong said McCain’s success gives him confidence.
“Man, it gives me a lot of motivation,” he said. “Yes, I look up to (McCain) a lot. Just to see that and where he came from – a fifth-round guy, late-round guy – yes, it means a lot. It does.”
Armstrong, whose focus in the spring has been at outside cornerback, said he’s had a few pass deflections.
“Every day I could say I laid a brick, I laid a foundation, to get better every day,” he said. “I may have a few mistakes but the next day, I’ll build off that. I’ll make sure that I don’t mess up again on the same mistake. Every day I’m just laying a foundation and just stacking bricks.”
DAVIE — Isaiah Ford has added a bit of weight and strength and he knows a lot more about the Dolphins’ offense than he did at this time last year. But having recovered from a torn meniscus in his knee, Ford is still confident in his abilities.
“I think I’m a competitor, first and foremost,” Ford said Wednesday. “I want to win at everything that I do. And I think that starts with my mindset on how I approach everything. I’m a versatile player. I can play inside and out. I can make those contested catches. And I’m a technician. That’s something that I pride myself on, is being really good in and out of my breaks. And running really good routes and things like that.”
Ford has shined at times this spring, one year after Miami made him a seventh-round selection from Virginia Tech. Ford’s path to the Dolphins’ roster is through versatility and consistent production.
“I’ve spent a bunch of time inside,” Ford said. “A bunch of time outside as well. Just being ready for wherever they decide to put me. I’m comfortable playing both, which is good… I think in the slot you have a little more freedom. A little more wiggle room in terms of your releases.”
Ford was injured running a routine slant last summer, against Tony Lippett. Rehabilitating his knee alongside Ryan Tannehill and Raekwon McMillan was a rewarding and competitive experience.
“That helped us push through the dark days,” Ford said. “Where we didn’t really feel like rehabbing or we were down on ourselves. And to have Ryan there as a leader to kind of help us push through was really huge for both of us.”
Ford said the three of them would see who could bike the farthest in 10 minutes while hooked up to a blood flow restrictor.
“Then our trainer stopped it because he got a little scared,” Ford said. “Whoever was up next had to beat it. I think Raekwon was the last to go so he had the record. So nobody else got to go.”
Ford said he appreciates the game more now and realizes how much he missed it. He has a better understanding of the terminology of the offense and what coaches are expecting. He says he’s confident.
“Just be available whenever my number is called,” Ford said. “My job is to compete. To execute. To know my job. To know where I’m supposed to be. And where I’m supposed to be, be there.”
DAVIE — Ryan Tannehill completed most of the 400 catches Jarvis Landry had over the four years of his Miami Dolphins career.
But Landry revealed Wednesday he and Tannehill were actually not close.
“I’m not surprised,” Landry told NFL Network, when asked why he had not heard from Tannehill since his departure. “We didn’t really have a good relationship anyway, so I’m not surprised.”
Tannehill leaned on Landry since the receivers’ arrival as a second-rounder from LSU. Tannehill also at times praised Landry’s competitiveness and toughness.
“I wasn’t trying to look back in the rear view mirror, you know,” Landry said. “I’m focused on here and where we’re taking it here. I wasn’t trying to take a shot at him. I understand how hard every guy in this NFL works, especially at the position, especially at the quarterback position. But at the same time too… I give credit where credit is due.”
Landry is referring to comments he made recently in Cleveland, suggesting the quarterbacks in Cleveland are “a lot better” than what he had in Miami. Landry’s quarterbacks with the Browns are Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield.
DAVIE — Isaiah Ford leaped into the air in the end zone and amid a crowd, came down with the football.
Ford can leap, really leap, especially now that he’s fully healed from that knee surgery last season. Ford celebrated with teammates on Tuesday, hauling in the pass from Bryce Petty.
Mark it down. Ford is a Miami Dolphins sleeper to monitor.
“He’s done a good job,” Miami coach Adam Gase said Tuesday. “He’s made a lot of plays, a lot of catches. I think he’s … We felt so good about him last training camp and it was really tough for him getting hurt because he was making strides. He was starting to break through working him in the slot and he still has ability outside. He had a really good feel for what was going on.”
Ford, a star at Virginia Tech drafted in the seventh round last season, is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He can play inside or out. Ford is actually the third-tallest receiver on the Dolphins, as it is a diminutive group.
Assuming Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant make Miami’s roster, this leaves players like Leonte Carroo, Ford and Rashawn Scott battling for one or two roster spots.
It is very possible that while some veterans are limited this preseason, Ford breaks out as he has in practice.
“He’s been very productive this spring,” Gase said. “Really, for him, it’s going to be about once we get to training camp and preseason games, the live action stuff, because he hasn’t had an opportunity to do that yet.”
Ford is an exciting athlete with a basketball pedigree. He’s showing good burst and route-running. He can both track deep balls as well as gain yards after catch on shorter passes in the middle of the field.
Somewhat off the radar now, Ford may be squarely on the radar by the end of the summer.
DAVIE — @Lastname_Baker (Jerome Baker Jr.): “Please don’t fight my battles I need these scars.” 18 May 2016
Jerome Baker is a speaking about the Twitter post he’s had pinned atop his account for more than two years.
Baker is speaking about scars. And how many he has.
“Quite a bit,” Baker said Tuesday. “Quite a bit.”
Baker is rookie linebacker from Ohio State, a third-rounder. And right now, he’s a second-teamer. And right now, Baker can actually draw upon his freshman season in Columbus, when he questioned why he was struggling.
Then, older teammates like Raekwon McMillan (now a teammate with the Dolphins) pulled him aside. And assured him. We all need scars.
“I don’t need anybody to take it for me,” Baker said. “That pretty much was my whole college career. Coming in as a freshman, being behind some first rounders, Raekwon and all of those guys, they just sat me down and said, ‘You need all the pressure and all the hard times you go through. It’s going to pay off in the end.’ Honestly, it did and I kind of just stick to that. The hard times are going to come, but they’re not going to last.”
Baker has speed and athleticism and an ability to run and cover. But he doesn’t have the experience. It’s why a veteran like Stephone Anthony is ahead of him right now.
“I’m learning the playbook pretty well; but now it’s just the focus on the little details,” Baker said. “The little things I’m pretty much focusing on. The basic things are going well, but the little things is what’s going to separate me.”
Baker can draw a direct parallel to his college experience.
“I’ve been through it before, so I know it’s going to come and it’s going to go,” he said. “So, just take advantage of it and try to learn as much as you can. The faster you learn, the faster it gets over with.”
Baker knows with time, mistakes will become fewer and further between.
“The physical part, I really never really questioned,” he said. “It was more the mental part of, ‘I keep making the same petty mistake.’ And after a while, three mistakes turned into two, those two mistakes turned into one and next thing you know, you’re not making as many mistakes anymore. The mental part is what’s – with any athlete – is what’s the hard part. Once I got that under control, the physical part just took care of itself.”
Ohio State has a tradition of linebacker play that is hard to live up to.
“My freshman year at Ohio State, that was the biggest hard time in my life,” Baker said. “Coming in as a senior in high school and a star player, you think I’m going to come in and pretty much do whatever I want to do, be behind Darron Lee, Christopher Worley, Josh Perry, Raekwon (McMillan). They humble you fast. They try to bring you along, but they understand that it’s a growing process and they definitely helped me.”
Baker’s social media accounts are worth following. At @Lastname_Baker, he’s constantly trying to motivate himself and others.
“Don’t count the day, make the days count.” – 11 June 2018
“I just don’t got time to feel sorry for nobody. Nobody felt sorry for me. #KeepPushing” 5 June 2018
“Sitting in a chair, but in the future it’s a throne.” 29 May 2018
But Baker has elected to keep his post about scars atop his account for some time, now.
DAVIE — Akeem Spence wears 93 for the Miami Dolphins, which is the same number Ndamukong Suh wore here and in Detroit, Spence’s last stop.
“I really didn’t want to be 93,” Spence said Tuesday, in his first comments since a trade brought him to south Florida. “But it was the only number available so I just took it.”
Spence actually began his career in Tampa Bay, where another 93 from Suh’s draft class, Gerald McCoy, was similarly dominant. Spence is not Suh and not McCoy. But he is a very serviceable, professional defensive tackle.
And right now, he’s a Dolphins’ starter.
“I’m not a big flashy guy,” Spence said. “I’m a do-my-job type of guy. Control my gap. Make plays when I can… I’m a quick-twitch guy. I get off the ball. Make plays in the backfield. Hold my gap very well. Just being fundamentally sound.”
Spence was excited to be dealt to Miami, because before this season they hired his former defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek.
“He’s all about ball,” Spence said. “He loves ball. Next to his wife, it’s football. So I tell (my teammates) everything he says he means it. He means well. If he’s not yelling at you or cursing at you then he doesn’t care. He’ just trying to get guys better. He cares so much. He wants guys to get a whole bunch of sacks.”
Many Dolphins players have said this spring that Kocurek and defensive coordinator Matt Burke want less read-and-react in 2018 and more attack. What does that mean, anyway?
“The defensive tackles, next to the ends, should be the first two guys off the ball,” Spence said. “Attacking the guards’ shoulders. Knocking them back. So that way your linebackers can play downhill. Everybody can be downhill. Your ends set hard edges, attacking the tackles at the tip of their pads. Setting edges. So that way we’re gap sound. Defensive tackles playing in the backfield. That should show on the film, guys getting knock back. If not Kris is probably somewhere with his hat off, throwing all kind of obscenities.”
Spence said that sometimes he starts practice alongside Jordan Phillips and sometimes Davon Godchaux. Spence said Suh’s 84 percent snap percentage last season was “ridiculous.” With Vincent Taylor and William Hayes likely taking some inside snaps, too, the goal is for their percentages to all be at or less than 50 percent.
“The idea is to have eight or nine starters and just continue to rotate guys in,” Spence said. “That what (Kocurek) believes in. Get a guy for four or five plays and then get a fresh guy in. Hockey lineup type of deal.”
Spence believes Miami’s entire defensive line will benefit from the bookends of Cam Wake and Robert Quinn. And he believes the waves of defensive linemen Miami plans to play will help fill a void left by Suh.
“It’s just about getting better every day,” Spence said. “We know we have to work hard to make up for some guys that we lost. And that’s a challenge we’re willing to take.”