Miami Dolphins Free Agent Needs
By Brian Miller
The official start of free agency begins tonight at 6:00 pm. That is when restricted free agents such as Kory Sheets can enter the team facilities and sign new deals. It will also be the first time that any NFL team can have a face to face with a free agent. So any team who has agreed to terms with a free agent already, hasn’t so much as talked to that person…only their agents.
That changes tonight.
The Miami Dolphins have made a few roster moves, fans likely expected more. They traded for Reggie Bush, making a loud splash yesterday. They added their own free agent Tony McDaniel the day before and have signed four of their six draft picks. They also have, according to reports, addressed their QB situation by agreeing to terms with former Panther QB Matt Moore. Add in LB Justin Truslik from the Browns and the Dolphins have made some moves.
They still have a lot to do and they still have money to spend. It’s very likely that we haven’t seen anything just yet.
To me, the Dolphins have some pressing needs that they need to fill and with the recent signings, some of the priorities have obviously changed.
My first thought is that the team needs to secure the right side of their offensive line. Two names come to mind and I see no reason why both shouldn’t be on the Dolphins radar. Leonard Davis and Marc Columbo of the Dallas Cowboys. Both were cap casualties and both excelled in Dallas with Tony Sparano as their Oline coach. In my opinion, both are upgrades over the current starters, one of which is RT Vernon Carey who Columbo would replace.
Carey is carrying one of the higher cap numbers on the team and to be honest, I simply do not see his production warranting that kind of money. Replacing him with a more bruising style of blocker like Columbo could help shore up the right side. Leonard Davis is a beast when his head is in the game. He was a pro-bowler under Sparano and like the rest of the Dallas line, suffered after he left. Truth be told, two guys who are not only familiar with the head coach but are familiar with each other and played next to each other is a great benefit.
From the line I would move to the defensive side of the ball and immediately start working on my LB’ing corp. Channing Crowder talks a great game but he can’t back it up from the sidelines where he has spent the late part of the seasons recently. He simply is too fragile late in the year. When he is healthy, he only have moderate success and while his tackle total is good, it’s where those tackles seem to occur that is the problem. Not behind their line of scrimmage.
My first thought and option would be Tully Banta-Cain. Cain is coming off an injury and may not be ready to go in week 1, but will shortly after. He comes from a very disciplined Bill Belichick coached team and in two years as a starter combined for 15 sacks. Something Crowder can’t do. Cain is an immediate upgrade and would bring far more production out of Karlos Dansby as well. Allowing Dansby to be that dominant player Miami thought they were after. Instead, Dansby has been trying to pick Crowders’ slack.
Cain would also allow the Dolphins to really fold in A.J. Edds who is returning after missing his entire rookie year with an ACL tear.
At the OLB spot, I’m not sure if there is a guy that would really be worth the money to bring in to simply assist Koa Misi or add something opposite Cameron Wake. But as it pains me to say, Jason Taylor may be a late training camp option. It would allow JT to smooth over the issues he has had with Miami fans of late, and allow him to retire a Dolphin.
The Dolphins have saved themselves money with the signing of Matt Moore over Kyle Orton. If they released or traded Crowder and Carey, they could use that money to add a big time pass catching TE like Zach Miller. Prior to today, I said that Miami’s list of priorities was such that they simply couldn’t afford to make TE one of them. That is no longer the case with the money they have saved so far. A big time TE would really take the offense to another level and give Henne more of a chance to succeed.
Finally, addressing the safety position would be nice. If they don’t throw money at a LB or TE, they could use that money for a center fielder.
Jeff Ireland needs to make this team better in 2011 or he may not have a job in 2012. If Tony Sparnao plans on having a job in 2012, then he needs to win this year. Stephen Ross said as much earlier in a meeting with the media. The time is now, well it will be in another 4 and half hours. What Ireland does over the next week will have as much impact on his teams roster and success as it will his legacy and his job.