While the NFL is still in off-season mode, it’s next years off-season that some wonder about. At least in the Miami Dolphins area of interest. Specifically LT Jake Long, who according to the Miami Herald will be tagged if a new contract is not reached by the end of next season.
I say wait it out.
There is a lot to be concerned about with Long. First, his obvious contract demands which should push towards the 95 million mark making him the highest paid LT in the league. Currently that is held by Joe Thomas of the Browns if I am not mistaken who signed a 92 million dollar deal over 8 years. Long has been to as many Pro-Bowls and some would argue is a better all around player than Thomas.
The Dolphins however should take a wait and see approach if they are set on using next years franchise tag. For one, Long is beginning to have health concerns. Whether his past injuries, specifically his shoulder, are behind him or something that will linger over his career is a big question. Especially if we are talking a northern deal close to the 100 mill mark. The Dolphins and the rest of the NFL do not know what the salary cap bump will be next season either so doing a deal now, may become cap prohibitive.
The Dolphins really do hold the key to Jake Long and it’s likely going to be a business decision unless Long decides to simply hold out which is very unlikely.
The next factor is that of 2nd round rookie Jonathon Martin. A natural LT who covered the blindside for Stanford’s Andrew Luck, the Dolphins may find that Jake Long is not as hard to replace as some believe. Martin will make a move to the right side of the line this year and anchor that edge. With so little going on now, it’s almost comical to talk about a future that is a year away. Still, the Dolphins will likely begin working on some of their FA contracts earlier rather than later. The team currently has Brandon Fields, Anthony Fasano, Brian Hartline, Sean Smith, Randy Starks, Karlos Dansby, Reggie Bush, Chris Clemons, Tony McDaniel, and Richie Incognito all scheduled to hit the open market next season.
It will almost be unfathomable for the team to keep all of them if not half of them. Either by age or production, some of these players will be in other cities come this time next season. The question is of course which ones and how dependent that is on what the team decides to do with Jake Long. A huge contract to Long will surely make that list smaller of who is retained.
In other news, and some might argue far more interesting, the wife of Dolphins rookie Ryan Tannehill may be appearing in the men’s magazine “Maxim”. Lauren Tannehill was recently seen shooting images for a Maxim spread but it is unknown if she will be a cover model or part of a broader feature.