The fate of Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores may have been sealed before he ever coaches a regular-season game.
That’s because the Dolphins are all into the strategy of dumping veterans to stockpile draft picks for the future.
Or as it is commonly called, tanking.
That means a lot of short-term pain with no promise of long-term gain.
And even if it does work, there is no guarantee that he and general manager Chris Grier will survive long enough to enjoy the fruits of the strategy.
After trading Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans for two firsts and a second, they now have four firsts and four seconds and two thirds the next two years.
Flores defended the Tunsil trade, saying they couldn’t pass up the deal. And Houston did overpay for a tackle who hasn’t made the Pro Bowl. Flores also said he respects the game too much to tank and that they will try to win every game.
Sure, they will try — but are the players left good enough to win many games?
And there is no guarantee they will hit on enough picks to turn it around.
It almost guarantees three years of losing, and will Flores and Grier survive that?
Cleveland seems to have turned it around with a similar strategy, but the GM who was the architect of that strategy, Sashi Brown, was fired along with two head coaches before the team seemingly turned the corner.
In the era of free agency, long rebuilding programs are no longer in vogue.
Back in the day, Tom Landry didn’t make the playoffs until his seventh season. Chuck Noll had three losing seasons in Pittsburgh. In his third one he had a losing season with four future Hall of Famers on the roster before he turned it around in the fourth year and eventually won four Super Bowls.
Their owners gave them time. Both got contract extensions before they posted a winning season.
These days, fans become impatient. And so do owners.
Will the strategy work? And will owner Stephen Ross give the plan enough time to make it work.
I won’t be surprised if the answer to both questions is “no.”