They come. They go. Some stay. That about sums up free agency in its simplest form, doesn't it?
But it's really not that simple. Tough decisions accompany just about every move. One leads to another. So many emotions come into play. So many different pieces have to fit just right. You eagerly welcome a player or players, as the Dolphins did on Thursday with some important signings, and at the same time you have to say farewell to someone like Mike Pouncey.
Nobody said change would be easy. Nobody said it would be painless. But when you're 6-10 you have to make some gut-wrenching choices for the betterment of the entire roster and that's what the Dolphins are currently going through. You don't make those choices, you don't recognize the problems and adjust, you don't be bold and aggressive in your thinking, and you could very well be sitting with the same kind of record a year from now.
The Dolphins are trying to make sure that doesn't happen.
o On Thursday, the second day of free agency, numerous reports indicated that the Dolphins will soon sign Pro Bowl offensive guard Josh Sitton who, based on everything I've heard, is so physical and relentless, he may best be described as a people mover. Perspective: Sitton was ranked last season by Pro Football Focus as the fifth best guard in the league. He's a major upgrade and has the DNA to quickly become one of the leaders of this team.
o The Dolphins pulled off a trade with the 49ers, acquiring seven-year veteran center Daniel Kilgore who has started 39 of the past 41 games including all 16 last season. Perspective: He will step in for Pouncey as the starting center and certainly softens the blow of losing a player of Pouncey's caliber. The new look offensive line? At this point, my best guess is Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, Sitton at left guard, Kilgore at center, Jesse Davis or Ted Larsen at right guard and Ja'Wuan James at right tackle. Looks pretty good to me.
o The expected signings of wide receivers Danny Amendola (Patriots) and Robert Wilson (Chiefs) became official. Perspective: Both should fit in nicely in this offense. Amendola is one of the league's top slot receivers - he's called "Danny Playoffs" for a reason - and Wilson is an intriguing prospect with excellent speed and a promising upside. What's this offense going to look like? My best guess is that the ball will be spread round far more than in recent seasons.
o This is where Pouncey comes in. It's never easy parting with a player that has meant so much to this franchise and I truthfully didn't see this coming. Perspective: This was strictly a football decision. The Dolphins were able to land Kilgore and had to keep the big picture in mind. So many factors go into it; it's never just one thing. Beginning with Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson, the Dolphins have had some great centers over the years. Pouncey, in his seven seasons here, certainly continued that legacy. I know I'll miss him.
o Walt Aikens: A valuable player both on special teams and as a reserve safety, Aikens will be back for his fourth season with the team. He doesn't often make headlines, but he is one of the core special teams players and a great locker room presence. Perspective: A smart signing.
o John Denney: Almost as much a part of this franchise as the logo, Denney returns for his 14th season and you simply won't find a more efficient long-snapper in the league. I asked him last season if he can remember the last time he botched a snap and he simply smiled and said: "Shhhhhh." Perspective: I couldn't imagine the Dolphins without him.
o William Hayes: One of the team's best run defenders a season ago, the 10-year veteran, based on numerous reports, is expected to re-sign soon and will certainly be an important part of a deep, talented defensive end rotation that got an additional boost with the recent acquisition of Robert Quinn from the Rams. Perspective: Check the tape. He was a factor in every game he played. As good a technique run defender as you'll find.