As if Danny Amendola needed any further reminder of how serious to take school security as he moves to South Florida and joins the Dolphins, he received a stark lesson during a visit last month from former New England Patriots teammate Julian Edelman.
“Dude, there is a kid in your comment section says he s going to shoot up a school, i think you should alert the authority,” it read.
The threat occurred about five weeks after the tragedy in Parkland, where 17 students and faculty members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, so Edelman took it seriously, having his assistant in Boston find the threat that read, “I’m going to shoot my school up watch the news.”
His assistant, Shannen Moen, called 911. Officers traced the threat via email and IP addresses to Port Huron, Mich., where police immediately drove to the house and found a 14-year-old boy who admitted posting the threat.
Two rifles belonging to his mother were found, police told The Times.
Police said the threat was directed at the boy’s middle school. He was charged with making a false report of a threat of terrorism, a felony, and faces up to four years in jail. He’s currently in a juvenile-detention center.
Amendola spent five seasons with New England before joining Miami via free agency three weeks ago.
ORLANDO—After the Dolphins jettisoned several stars this offseason, including arguably the best player one their offense and defense, coach Adam Gase insists this is the roster he wants.
Miami’s frenetic moves this month included sustaining the biggest dead money salary cap hit in NFL history to cut Ndamukong Suh, dealing three-time Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry for late draft picks and dumping longtime center Mike Pouncey. Those seem like financially driven decisions, and perhaps they were, but Gase likes his chances with this group.
“I think this is closer to what we talked about when we first started,” he said this morning at the NFL league meeting. “Sometimes you have to go through a couple years and really figure guys out and who fits and who wants to move on or you want to move on from. I think we’re closer to what we’ve been looking for.”
The Dolphins can still make some cheap additions in this phase of free agency and they have eight picks in the upcoming draft.
While Gase’s defiance always rises in step with the amount of criticism he faces, he had conviction in defending a roster that has his fingerprints all over it.
Nine of the players who were starters at the end of last season were guys Gase inherited when he took the job in January 2016. That includes Suh and his scheduled $26.1 million cap hit for 2018, as well as Landry and Pouncey.
“The way I see it right now is we’ve added the pieces that really go with the group we already have,” Gase said. “Obviously when you have the players that have left, the caliber of players and guys that have had the production that they’ve had, we know you’re not going to replace one guy with one guy. We understand that.
“We just are trying to get the best fit for our locker room right now. That’s what we’re looking for anytime we bring anybody else in.”
While he admired Suh and spoke glowingly of his performance, it’s clear Gase doesn’t value the defensive tackle position as much as vice president Mike Tannenbaum did when signing him to that massive contract in 2015.
The Dolphins move on with veteran Jordan Phillips in the final year of his rookie deal, as well as Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor, players Gase helped select last year.
The priority has shifted to defensive ends, a position where Miami has a surplus. The team already had Cameron Wake and Andre Branch under contract for a combined $18.6 million for this season, plus 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris. There was already a question of whether there were enough snaps to go around for those three before the team traded a fourth-round pick to get Robert Quinn from the Rams.
“We’ll figure it out,” Gase said. “I’d rather have more than not enough.”
At receiver, it won’t be easy to fill the 100 catches and 1,000 yards Landry chipped in on an annual basis. He had a knack for bailing Miami quarterbacks out of emergencies and he stepped up as the team’s best red zone option last season.
The Dolphins plan to patch that with Kansas City’s Albert Wilson and New England slot receiver Danny Amendola. Wilson has high potential and Amendola has some impressive seasons on his record, but both were available for a reason.
Miami landed Wilson with a three-year, $24 million deal that averages out yearly to half of what it would’ve paid Landry on the franchise tag this year. He’s 25, has great speed, can play inside or outside and is coming off a career year of 42 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns. It could very well turn out that the Dolphins are buying on him at exactly the right time, as they did with Kenny Stills.
However, the Chiefs seemed content to let him go as they revamped their receiver corps and there will certainly be some skepticism about making a 5-foot-9 receiver one of the focal points of the offense.
“Hey, he towers over Jakeem,” Gase smirked, referring to 5-foot-7 Jakeem Grant already on the roster.
Amendola is 32, but he’s durable and consistent. Last season’s numbers of 61 catches, 659 yards and two touchdowns fit among some of the best years of his career. Gase also likes the idea of adding a 10-year veteran with two Super Bowl rings to a receiver group that had no one over 25 last season.
He kept hitting on that topic throughout his hour-long chat with reporters. Whether or not it’s the real reason behind what the Dolphins have done recently and whether it’ll actually make any difference on the field, Gase’s message going forward is that he wants a more serious, unified locker room.
He talked about the new players being guys who “are not going to accept a lot of the (nonsense) that’s gone on in the past.” He conveyed that this is the group he would’ve built regardless of the Dolphins’ bleak salary cap outlook going into this offseason.
“I feel like we’ve added more guys than we’ve lost,” Gase said, counting the return of injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill as part of that math. “I know free agency, a lot of guys are taken away there, and whether we released guys or traded guys—We’re adding good pieces to the puzzle here.”
We in South Florida track every move the Dolphins make — Ndamukong Suh is gone! Josh Sitton arrives! — so sometimes it’s interesting to take a step back and look at the big picture of this team, especially from a national perspective.
It’s interesting, but ugly.
NFL.com’s Elliot Harrrison, for example, does not think the Dolphins are the worst team in the league, which is about the best thing he says about them. Harrison pegs the Dolphins as No. 30 in the NFL, just ahead of Jarvis Landry’s Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts.
Harrison points out that only “remnants” remain from the Dolphins team that made the playoffs in 2016 and that Jay Ajayi, Mike Pouncey, Suh and Landry are history and that a big unknown is QB Ryan Tannehill.
“While no one misses Jay Cutler, what to anticipate from Tannehill is another matter,” he wrote. “He hasn’t played meaningful football since two Decembers ago. That, as much as the team makeover, accounts for this placeholder not too far from the bottom.”
As you’re about to see, his take on the Dolphins is not an anomaly.
“Signing Danny Amendola gives Tannehill a slight upgrade at the slot receiver position, but there’s little reason to think that 2018 will be much more than a transition year for the Dolphins,” he wrote.
Iyer gives the Dolphins a C for each of three transactions: signing Wilson and Amendola and trading for Rams end Robert Quinn.
On Wilson’s three-year, $24 million deal: “He’s getting paid quite a bit for limited production and, contrary to popular belief, he isn’t a ‘cheaper version of Landry.’ ”
Iyer says Quinn’s best years “are in the rearview mirror” and the Dolphins are “taking a big chance and hoping he can find his way in its defense.” Quinn last had double-digit sacks in 2014 and averaged 5.8 sacks the past three seasons.
Finally, Iyer says Amendola “won’t do the same things in Miami” that he did in New England.
* Question regarding Lombardo’s take: Amendola is a “slight upgrade” over Landry?
* At the opposite end of the spectrum, SBNation ranks the Browns’ moves thus far as the best in the league. Harrison’s top three teams are the Eagles, Patriots and Jaguars. I lean more toward Lombardo’s trio of Eagles-Rams-Jaguars based in part on the talent departing New England and definitely if Suh chooses the Rams, where he’d team with Aaron Donald.
* Wiseguy retort to Tomlinson’s assertion that the Dolphins are building a team for 2013: They might wish for 2013. They were 8-8 then, which might look spectacular come this December.
* Better buckle your seatbelts if Harrison is correct. Last year’s team to finish No. 30 was the Colts, who were an ugly 4-12, which led to an uglier offseason. Coach Chuck Pagano was fired, Josh McDaniels was hired, Josh McDaniels woke up and asked himself, “What was I thinking?” and returned to New England, and now it’s up to Frank Reich to clean up on aisle 30.
The Dolphins’ first two acquisitions in free agency this year are slot receivers Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. They needed at least one of those guys to replace Jarvis Landry, but perhaps not both.
“Maybe we’ll be sitting here in 12 months remarking on how the Dolphins changed their culture, mustered up most of an offensive line out of thin air, and managed to overcome giving away their best offensive and defensive player to add Robert Quinn and a bunch of wide receivers,” Barnwell wrote. “It’s more likely we’ll be sitting here watching them burn through another pile of money.”
Wilson, 25, is a high-potential player coming off the best season of his career with 42 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns for Kansas City. The Dolphins will sign him to a three-year, $24 million contract.
Barnwell panned that deal, citing a drops issue and calling him a generally inefficient receiver. He also said Miami’s contract “truly seems beyond any possible expectations of what Wilson might have been offered elsewhere.” One of his main objections was that the team could’ve better spent that money to bolster the offensive line.
While adding Wilson, or someone like him, was certainly logical for the Dolphins after losing Landry, it was a little surprising to see them go after Amendola as well.
Miami typically plays with three receivers, and Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker are the clear options on the outside. Maybe Adam Gase is planning to go with more four-receiver sets in 2018.
If he is, was Amendola the best choice?
He turns 33 during the upcoming season, which will be his 10th in the league, but hasn’t shown signs of decline. His 61 catches and 659 yards both ranked among the top four single-season marks of his career, and he was on the field for 49.9 percent of New England’s offensive snaps.
The issue here could be the contract. Amendola reportedly is signing for two years, $12 million with $8.3 million of that guaranteed.
“Good organizations establish their own culture and draft and develop solutions at positions like slot receiver… Bad organizations are unable to trust their development abilities and pay premiums to go after players on the downside of their careers out of the hope that they can bring some magic success dust from their old homes,” Barnwell wrote.
“In reality, the Dolphins should be looking at what the Patriots do instead of who they are. How often do the Patriots pay $6 million to the fourth wideout on their depth chart? How often do you hear New England leaking stories to the media about how their culture’s a mess to justify bad financial decisions?”
To read the full breakdown of Miami’s free agency moves, and everyone else’s, click here.
The Dolphins are bringing in longtime Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola as a free agent signing.
Amendola, 32, will be the second receiver acquisition for Miami this offseason after agreeing to a three-year deal with former Chief Albert Wilson. Those two are coming in as the Dolphins try to replace the production of Jarvis Landry, whom they traded to Cleveland last week.
Like Wilson, he is primarily a slot receiver.
Say it ain’t so!!! my boy, my brother @DannyAmendola will finally be teammates after watching him to now getting to play along side you brother. If this is TRUE, I’m LIT🔥🔥🔥
The fact that Amendola was actually available was a bit of a surprise considering he’s twice taken less money to stay with New England. NFL Network reported that he will sign for two years, $12 million with $8.25 million guaranteed.
He caught 61 passes for 659 yards and two touchdowns with the Patriots last year.
One of his more memorable moments of the season, to Dolphins fans, was an altercation with Miami cornerback Bobby McCain when the teams met in November. McCain was ejected for appearing to throw a punch at Amendola after what he described as a lot of “extra stuff” by Amendola like grabbing his neck and facemask.
Amendola is a nine-year veteran who broke into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2008. After a year-plus on practice squads in Dallas and Philadelphia, he got his chance with the Rams in ’09.
He’s had five seasons of at least 630 passing yards and four of 60-plus catches. He was part of New England’s Super Bowl champion teams in 2014 and ’16.
The Dolphins now have a clear top four of Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Wilson and Amendola at receiver. That leaves little room for backups Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo and Rashawn Scott to carve out playing time.
Grant still has value as a return man and showed flashes of potential as a receiver late last season with 10 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns over the final four games.
Carroo’s roster spot is far more tenuous at the moment. The Dolphins traded up to get him in the third round of the 2016 draft, but he has 10 catches in 28 games.
The question for the Dolphins isn’t whether they’ll miss Jarvis Landry if he leaves in free agency. They absolutely would.
The issue, really, is how they would replace one of the most productive receivers in franchise history. It’s hard to pull 100 catches and 1,000 yards out of thin air.
On the current roster, the next in line at slot receiver would be Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo or Rashawn Scott. Grant is the only one of that trio to show flashes in games and he’s still viewed firstly as a return man and gadget player.
The good news for Miami is that there are decent contingency plans available via free agency and the draft. None of them are as wise as retaining Landry, who set an NFL record with 400 catches in his first four seasons plus 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns, but there are options.
The first four months of the offseason are devoted mainly to the draft, but free agency comes first. The Dolphins will have a delegation at the NFL Combine next week, and the free agent market opens March 12, about a week after the staff returns from Indianapolis.
One name that will certainly be on Miami’s list is Kendall Wright, a 28-year-old coming off a solid season for the Bears.
Wright had the best year of his career—94 receptions, 1,079 yards and two touchdowns—in 2013 when he played for the Titans under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. When the Bears needed a stopgap at slot receiver last season, when Loggains was their offensive coordinator, they signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal.
Wright rewarded that faith by putting up 614 yards and a touchdown on 59 catches. That might not sound like much, but it was significant considering Chicago had a dreadful passing offense with rookie Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback and Wright’s numbers were the best on the roster. Pro Football Focus ranked him the 40th-best receiver in the league.
With Loggains now the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator and Wright a free agent again, he’s a logical choice if the team needs to fill Landry’s spot. Whatever Wright costs, it will be far less than Spotrac’s projected market value for Landry of a five-year, $69 million contract.
Any free agent slot receiver Miami considers likely won’t be expected to play as prominent a role in the offense as Landry has. Letting him walk would theoretically be based, in part, on a belief that Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker will up their production. Stills is in the prime of his career and has been good the last two seasons, but banking on Parker’s breakout is risky. More than anything, he’s had trouble staying healthy.
Wright and Kansas City’s Albert Wilson make the most sense on paper. Beyond those two, the Dolphins would have to see if they can lure Danny Amendola away from New England (high unlikely), look at Buffalo’s Jordan Matthews or sift through a bargain bin that includes Michael Campanaro, De’Anthony Thomas, Bruce Ellington and Harry Douglas.
Wilson, 25, was a terrific quarterback at Port St. Lucie High School and clawed his way into the NFL as an undrafted receiver out of Georgia State. He’s 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, which would make him the team’s smallest offensive player after Grant at 5-foot-7, 169.
He averaged a little over $800,000 per year in four modest seasons with the Chiefs and is looking at his first real chance at an impressive contract.
He won’t be one of the top receivers in free agency, but he will draw interest after catching 42 passes for 544 yards and three touchdowns last season. PFF had him 33rd among receivers.
The alternative for the Dolphins is to look for a slot receiver in the draft, but executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum is averse to any plan that hinges on a rookie being an immediate starter. His general philosophy is to have a solid starting 22 in place before the draft.
Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk is someone who looks like he could thrive at slot receiver in the pros, but it’s possible he’ll be picked late in the first round. Barring a trade, he’d have to slide to No. 42 overall for Miami to have a chance. The Dolphins could also consider Memphis’ Anthony Miller as a mid-round pick.
Again, though, none of those moves seems smarter than sticking with Landry. The Dolphins can franchise or transition tag him beginning Tuesday and they still have three weeks to work out a new deal that would keep him in South Florida long term.
DAVIE—Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain learned a hard lesson last time he faced the Patriots. While he’s generally known as one of the headiest players on Miami’s defense, he does struggle to keep his temper at times.
That flared up in the 35-17 loss at New England two weeks ago, when McCain was ejected in the second half for appearing to throw a punch at receiver Danny Amendola. He was having a good game until that series, when he finally lost patience with Amendola grabbing his facemask and neck.
Because of that incident, McCain expects the Patriots will try to bait him into another foolish incident Monday.
“I know better,” he said after today’s practice. “I know I want to be there for my team and I want to be there for my brothers. I don’t expect (to get into) any extracurricular activities. I’m just gonna go out and play my game, do my job and do my responsibilities. If extra stuff happens, I’m gonna let the referees handle it. I need to be in this one.
“They’re known for a little extra blocking after the play here or there, but at the end of the day, we have to keep our composure and just do our job.”
Funny he should bring that up.
New England tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t be playing Monday because of a one-game NFL suspension after an egregious cheap shot on Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White. White was face down on the turf after the play when Gronkowski lunged to knock him in the head, sending him into the concussion protocol.
The fact that all of the Bills players let Rob Gronkowski slowly trot away after that brutal late hit that put White in concussion protocol is sad. They didn’t even try to stand up for him, simply pointed fingers. Couldn’t have been one of my teammates. pic.twitter.com/pTb7MSiaT3
McCain doesn’t have any personal beef with Gronkowski, but thought he got what he deserved.
“That’s a bad play,” he said. “It’s a bad look for him. I’m not gonna sit here and point fingers and say he’s a bad player or he’s a dirty player. He was frustrated with whatever happened, but that wasn’t a good decision. That was a bad decision. That was a bad look on him and a bad look on the team.
“I don’t like to see anybody’s money taken away, but at the end of the day, you have to be responsible for your actions. That’s what the league does. They suspended him for a game, and unfortunately it’s our game. That’s one less player we’ve gotta worry about. But yeah, you can’t do that. You can’t lose your cool and lose your composure. I know that and I’m sure he does.”
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—One of the most common things said about cornerback Bobby McCain around the Dolphins’ organization is that he does everything right. McCain is the last guy the staff expects to blow a coverage or make a technique error. He’s as reliable as it gets.
In Sunday’s 35-17 loss to the Patriots, though, he made a major misstep.
McCain got into a scuffle with New England receiver Danny Amendola with 10:33 left in the third quarter and Miami down 21-10, and the officials ejected him for appearing to throw a punch.
“I apologized to the team,” McCain said afterward, showing no reluctance to taking questions about the incident. “The guys are with me. I let the team down. At the end of the day, not being on the field is letting your team down. I talked to the guys, and they’re all with me.
“It sucks, man. It sucks sitting in the locker room watching your brothers play. It’s not even fun at all.”
McCain and Amendola hadn’t had issues during the game until that series, which was a 77-yard touchdown drive for the Patriots.
He said Amendola took cheap shots after three straight plays leading up to the one that got McCain thrown out. He was frustrated that the officials didn’t see Amendola grabbing his facemask and getting him by the neck.
“Just a lot of extra stuff—extra by the both of us,” he said. “We were both in the wrong, I’ll be honest. Unfortunately, I was the one to get ejected.”
Dolphins coach Adam Gase said after the game he didn’t get a good look at the play.
The dismissal ended an otherwise strong game by McCain, who became just the third player this season to intercept Tom Brady. McCain picked him off the in the middle of the field as New England was moving into scoring range late in the first half.