So it begins. The off-season is full of side notes and mini-soap operas that play out from the time a team finishes their final game to the countdown to the start of free agency…such as it is this year. From contract talks to back door deals to restaurant winks and nods at the NFL Combine. It’s as much a game as the game itself. Regardless of the CBA status, this year will be no different. Just ask J-Peezy.
I am going to do something that I rarely do here on PP, take some info from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. According to him, VIA an Email, VIA a radio show in Bakersfield, CA., Joey Porter “does not want to return to the Dolphins in 2010″. To which I say…GOOD!
Joey Porter had one solid season in his 3 years in Miami that started when Cam Cameron brought him here as a high-priced, high-profile, free agent. He of course rewarded the Miami Dolphins by flying out to Las Vegas and punching a Bengal lineman in the face. Porter, if nothing else, has always been “that” Joey Porter. Like his nickname implies “J-Peezy” is a punk.
According to the report, Joey and Sparano met after the season. It’s called an exit interview and all coaches in the NFL do it when the season is over. It’s a simple one on one with the players in private about off-season expectations and a year end review. Consider it a “Review” without a raise attached. For Sparano and Porter…it was more of a complaint fest.
Porter apparently told the radio show host Romeo, on air, that he informed Sparano that he was not happy this year, didn’t like his playing time being reduced, didn’t like the suspension, didn’t like being asked to come out of games, didn’t like the way he felt he was being used, and I’m sure there was much more to it than that.
Porter was suspended for the Tampa Bay Buc’s game for an apparent verbal confrontation with Sparano. I learned of the suspension while in the Dolphins locker-room during a tour on the Saturday before that game. Joey previously had a more publicized and verbalized fit with Cameron in the final week of that season. Sparano and company decided to sit Porter one game but had discussed benching Sparano the entire season.
So does all this point to the Dolphins shedding Porter and his 2.4 million dollar guaranteed contract this off-season? Probably but a lot of that will have to do with new DC Mike Nolan who may look at Porter as someone he can get some use out of. With no salary cap likely this year, Porter’s contract will not be on the books for the team, just on the Stephen Ross checkbook balance sheet.
Joey Porter is an aging LB that can’t cover something as simple as the flats from the OLB position. He still has some move up-field to attack the QB but his legs aren’t as fast and the ball is usually gone before he can get there if there is even a mediocre blocker in front of him. The Dolphins don’t have anyone on the roster at this time that is more of a pain in the ass. In fact, take away Porter and the rest of the team start to resemble a church congregation.
That’s not to say that Porter doesn’t have value. He does, as a 3rd down specialist that can be kept fresh all game, but he won’t accept that role and frankly, he isn’t valued outside of that role anymore. At least not to an outsider looking in. Porter will never be a monumental free agent mistake that he appeared on the verge of becoming following the 2007 season, but that is not an endorsement to keep Porter around another year.
The one thing that Joey-P has going for him in terms of the Dolphins wanting to keep him, or against him if he truly wants to leave, is that the Phins lack depth at the OLB spot. The Dolphins don’t have a youngster in the wings that will step up day one with someone else pushing from behind. Still, the Dolphins may be able to find a cheaper resource on the limited free agent market.
Joey Porter may be looking at days and weeks as a Miami Dolphin and that would be fine with me, regardless of the depth situation the team has at the moment. Time to move forward and in order to do that, you need to start making changes that matter. Joey Porter is both liked and disliked by his teammates. He is a leader that takes some accountability while also placing some blame elsewhere. He also splits the team when he refuses to come off the field and sends his replacements away. Rumor had it that he and Jason Taylor exchanged a few words as well.
This all leads to Joey’s exit. He says he wants to play closer to home. The Raiders are close. He is not asking, nor does he warrant a pay raise so there is no negotiations or hope for a big free agent deal, he will not make more anywhere else. Joey Porter is being Joey Porter and his usefulness has worn out. Joey says he doesn’t want to play for the Miami Dolphins anymore…fine. I say, let him go.
On a quick side note, if Joey Porter is released prior to the March 1st 1 million dollar roster bonus that is due to him, look for the Dolphins to work out a deal with Jason Taylor to keep him around. Jason will accept a reduced load to stay in Miami and new DC Mike Nolan will need his valued leadership. In fact, look for Taylor to likely stick around Miami regardless of what the Phins do with Porter.