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Coles good but not at $6 million a year

The AFC East Division rival New York Jets should have a much improved defense by the time the weekend is over.

The Jets have already signed versatile inside linebacker Bart Scott for $48 million. They're completing a trade for Philly cornerback Lito Sheppard by sending the Eagles a fifth-round draft pick. They're trying to sign strong safety Jim Leonhard and cornerback Cory Ivy from the Ravens.

So what does this all mean? The Jets will likely be better on defense next season. And the Dolphins have to get better on offense to match the moves.

But does adding receiver Laveranues Coles do the trick? I don't think so. Not at his current price, anyway.

The local infatuation with Coles is good radio talk fodder. It's good blog escape. And it's one more thing: Ridiculous.

If this was 2004 instead of 2009, I would understand the longing for Coles. But it is, indeed, 2009 and I predict Coles is shortly about to find out he is very much over-estimating his worth on the open market. Coles is reportedly looking for a contract that pays him at least $6 million per season.

The problem for him is most NFL teams will not pay a No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver that kind of money this offseason. I think Coles got the first taste of that reality Friday when the Bills let him walk from their facility without a contract.

Coles, 31, used to run consistent 4.3s and sometimes break into the stunning 4.2 range when he was young. But he no longer has that explosive speed and that has shown for a while. Look at the tape of him against San Francisco last season when he simply could not get open.

Coles averaged about 14 yards per catch early in his career. Now he's an 11-12 yards per catch guy. That's what Greg Camarillo averaged last season. Coles is a possession guy now ...

... and one that is not ascending.

Is he tough? Yes. Is he courageous on the field and in staying out of the training room? Yes. Does he have good balance and athletic ability? Yes. Is he a willing blocker? Yes.

But none of that makes him a No. 1 receiver. And that makes his asking price absurd.

The Dolphins know this -- I hope. And so they are staying away. Reports of Coles being in Miami Thursday were wrong. He has not visited the team and, in fact, could not do so as an unrestricted free agent until Friday. And again, he was in Buffalo Friday.

But the Dolphins are watching and waiting, believing the price for Coles will drop and drop and drop. When he's in the more modest $3 million per year range, Miami's interest may, and I stress it is only may, become legitimate, assuming another team doesn't commit to the crazy money first.

But as long as Coles continues to think he commands $6 million per season, the Dolphins should not touch him regardless of how tight he is with quarterback Chad Pennington and despite the fact he was drafted by Bill Parcells nine years ago.

Coles's former team, meanwhile, is making some interesting moves on D.

The signing of Bart Scott will pair him with David Harris on the inside. New coach Rex Ryan believes that is a recipe for confusing defenses because both players can play the SILB spot and both can play the WILB spot. (S denotes strong side and W denotes weak side.)

"I think the flexibility we have with David Harris and Bart Scott is just going to be difficult to identify who the mike is," Ryan said Friday night in a conference call with reporters. "It doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but, trust me, it is. The offense is setting protections against a mike linebacker. If they can't find him, that's going to give them some problems, and I think those two guys right there are going to be quite a pair.

"When you look at our linebacking corps overall, we probably have as good of a linebacking corps as there is in this league, probably right up there with Baltimore and really anybody else."

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