Center Of Attention

NFL football comes with some pretty exciting dates, even more if you follow college, high-school, and any other form of American football.  In the NFL, there is of course the Hall of Fame game, the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies which together signal the true start of a new season.  There is the opening weekend and the Thursday night game to kick-off the regular schedule.  The Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Free Agency, and if all of that weren’t enough, you have the Combine, Pro-Days, and a myriad of other NFL “key dates”.  

Now, NFL fans can embrace the impending arrival of the NFL league new year and the start of free agency.  It’s less that two weeks away.

For the Miami Dolphins, free agency was supposed to be the next roster turnover.  What would Bill and Co. find this season?  Is there another flurry of deals to be made on the opening weekend?  The opening hour?  While all of that speculation will surely become more and more talked about in the coming two weeks, the real center of attention seems to have shifted to the Center position and the future of Samson Satele.

With each passing day, week, and month, it is beginning to appear more and more like the 2007 draft conducted by then HC Cam Cameron and GM Randy Mueller is looking like a total waste of time…almost as much as the season itself.

Already much scrutinized is first round pick Ted Ginn and third string 28 year old second round pick John Beck.  Factor in the Wes Welker trade that netted Samson Satele in the late second and the rumors of Satele’s future with the team in doubt, and all of a sudden, that draft class is more than poor.  Consider that 3rd round pick Lorenzo Booker has been traded, Reagan Mauia, Kelvin Smith, and Abraham Wright have all been cut, and Paul Soliai is a big question mark to continue as well, the entire draft leaves only one viable starter that contributes consistently.  7th rounder Brandon Fields.  The punter.

For Satele, who has started every game the last two seasons, it’s not about being a bust.  Samson just isn’t big enough to run the kind of offense that Bill Parcells and Co. want to run.  They prefer large bulldozing interior lineman and Samson Satele doesn’t fit that mold which may give the Phins an opportunity to trade the 2 year veteran for a draft pick.

There are some NFL teams who utilize a quicker offense which employs quick lineman, something that Satele is very good at.  His moves off the line are often too quick for a hard nosed offense and that usually means that he gets hammered by larger defenders who cut down on him.

Satele is one of the few Dolphins players that actually has decent trade value.  He could bring in a 2nd round pick to the right team, but for those fans who are expecting a trade at the start of the new year it should be noted that most teams will wait until after they see what they need following free agency.  This puts a more accurate timetable around the draft.  It also means that should the Dolphins not find a suitable replacement for Satele, that the incumbent center may not go anywhere.

The talk of Satele being moved out of Miami will only intensify with the start of free agency.  If the Phins find their new center during those weeks, Satele will be the hot rumor to be traded while you can expect the Phins to simply say he is moving to guard, which could be a possibility as well with the injury last year to rookie Donald Thomas.

For now, there isn’t much more than speculation, but know this, Samson Satele’s future with the Dolphins is not guaranteed and in fact may be quite slim providing the right pieces fall into place during free agency and possibly even the draft.  

The Dolphins are expected to be around 24 million dollars under the cap and that does not include any cuts that may be made or trades that may occur to reduce that cap number.  The NFL cap number is expected to be around 126 Million.  2010, as it stands now, is uncapped.

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Tags: 2009 NFL Free Agency Bill Parcells Miami Dolphins NFL Free Agency Samson Satele

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