DOLPHINS: Free Agent Pursuits
Randy.Salas at startribune.com
Wed Jan 14 16:05:26 GMT 2009
Great stuff from the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, who always seems to have the most interesting Dolphins info. An excerpt of the Dolphins stuff from his catch-all column:
An early look at potential unrestricted free agent options for the Dolphins, whose cap space should end up topping $25 million:
* Receiver: Though Miami wants to add another playmaker, the market drops off after Antonio Bryant (Tampa might use its franchise tag on him) and Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 31. Others include New England's Jabar Gaffney, the Giants' Amani Toomer, Tampa's Michael Clayton, the Saints' Devery Henderson, Detroit's Shaun McDonald, Pittsburgh's Nate Washington and the 49ers' Bryant Johnson.
* Offensive line: There's speculation Miami might pursue well-regarded Baltimore center Jason Brown, 25, if he hits the market -- at 320, he's 20 to 25 pounds heavier than Samson Satele. Buffalo's Duke Preston (326 pounds) would be a lesser option. Minnesota's Matt Birk, 32, is likely too old for Miami's preference. . . .
Carolina's Jordan Gross, Cincinnati'sStacy Andrews, Miami's Vernon Carey, Pittsburgh's Max Starks and New Orleans' Jon Stinchcomb are the top tackles potentially available, and if the Dolphins cannot re-sign Carey, they could make a run at Starks (UF); sign a stopgap such as Green Bay starter Mark Tauscher (coming off a knee injury) and then draft a long-term answer; or sign an emerging backup ready to start full time (Seattle's Ray Willis fits that mold).
* Defensive line: Miami needs another pass rusher in its front seven, but Carolina's Julius Peppers (14.5 sacks) is the only free agent defensive end with more than five sacks this season. Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs (eight sacks) also can play defensive end but might get the franchise tag.
Other potential free agent starters include Dallas' Chris Canty (drafted by this Dolphins' regime but only 10 sacks in four years); San Diego's Igor Olshansky (two sacks) and Arizona's Antonio Smith (3.5 sacks). Options are limited at tackle beyond Tennessee's elite Albert Haynesworth, and the Dolphins are expected to go another year with Jason Ferguson.
* Linebacker: The Dolphins and Channing Crowder don't see eye to eye on money, and Miami is expected to consider Ravens inside linebacker Bart Scott, whom Baltimore might not be able to afford because Suggs and Ray Lewis are free agents. If Miami signs neither Scott nor Crowder, options fitting Miami's size preference include Cleveland's Andra Davis and the Jets' Eric Barton, with the NFL Draft offering a longer-term answer. . . .
Other than Suggs and Arizona's Karlos Dansby, the market has few pass-rushing outside linebackers who are below age 30 and fit Miami's size preference. With Joey Porter coming off a 17.5-sack season and Matt Roth (five sacks) strong against the run, the hope would be to find a better version of third-down pass-rusher Charlie Anderson, who's due $1.7 million in 2009 unless he's cut. 49ers backup Roderick Green, who showed pass-rush skills in a 3-4 defense, is one option.
* Cornerback: Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha and Houston's Dunta Robinson are the top free agent cornerbacks. The Dolphins want to re-sign Andre' Goodman, but if they can't, other starting options include Buffalo's Jabari Greer, the Colts' Kelvin Hayden, Pittsburgh's BryantMcFadden, New England's Deltha O'Neal and St. Louis' Fakhir Brown and Ron Bartell.
* Safety: The Dolphins want to re-sign Yeremiah Bell and have shown some interest in re-signing Renaldo Hill. If Miami keeps only one (Bell is obviously the priority), intriguing free agent options include St. Louis' O.J. Atogwe, the Giants' James Butler or Baltimore's Jim Leonhard. Miami is expected to look for players younger than accomplished free agents Brian Dawkins and Darren Sharper.
* Since the season ended, the Dolphins conveyed interest in re-signing Carey (haven't talked numbers), but haven't contacted Crowder's agent. (Crowder rejected an earlier offer.) Talks with Bell are ongoing.
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