Tuesday sparked the free agency rush and the trading season and the Miami Dolphins' first plan of action was shipping offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional draft pick. The deal reunites Martin with Jim Harbaugh, his HC at Stanford, and officially closes the book on one of the most embarrassing sagas in Miami Dolphins history.
Miami and owner Stephen Ross are hoping they can now refocus on the future of his franchise and his stadium modernization, improving on Miami’s 8-8 record and spreading some good will among the loyal and faithful fans of the Miami-Dade and Southern Florida area.
"This privately funded project will create more than 4,000 local jobs,” Ross said in a statement on miamidolphins.com . “We can bring back the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff Championship and world-class soccer matches -- and all the revenue those big events generate for the local community. I am going to make the commitment and provide the resources because Miami deserves the economic benefits of a modernized stadium."
They also need something positive to build on for the future and a sign that the franchise is headed in a classy direction, because the past six months have been unkind to Dolphins Nation. They have been smeared and seared in the press.
Martin, who signed a four-year rookie contract with Miami in 2012 worth $4.8 million, turned the NFL world upside down and sparked a national debate on bullying by quitting the Dolphins after almost two years of verbal abuse directed at him by Richie Incognito and a few other of his teammates.
Incognito was suspended and reinstated but his career is in limbo since the damning revelations in investigator Ted Wells' report. The stress has caused him to lose his marbles after becoming the target of every anti-bullying group in America and labeled a racist and overall foul dude by any person with a microphone and an opinion.
According to the report released in February by investigator Ted Wells, Martin was subjected to "a pattern of harassment" by Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey that included racial slurs and vicious sexual taunts about his mother and sister.
After assassinating Miami’s locker room culture, it was a safe bet that Martin wasn’t going to re-enter a cipher that had no love for him and considers him the worst kind of snitch. Martin’s departure won’t hurt Miami’s chemistry on the field either. It’s not as if Martin was an All-Pro caliber lineman. He’s the beneficiary of what has become a recurring theme in sports; an athlete whose off-the-field drama is rewarded with someone throwing him a life-preserver job. I won’t mention any names in fear of incriminating myself.
Trading Martin was a no-brainer for Miami and the 49ers locker room is not a bad environment for him to enter. Unlike Miami, which was in cultural chaos, and the HC and front office were clueless as to what was going on, be assured that the micro-manager Harbaugh and veteran cats like Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman are a different caliber of dude than Incognito. If it is coddling that Martin needs or a jar of “man-up”—whatever – they are the type of class acts to provide him with support without degrading him to the levels Incognito and the Fin’s fellas apparently did.