The agent for Channing Crowder, a good man named Joel Segal, was practically certain a few weeks ago his client was going to be playing elsewhere in 2009. He hadn't talked to the team in three weeks and the last time he had, he had turned down an offer that would have paid Crowder about $3.7 million per season, according to a source.
That was only slightly more than the team was paying Reggie Torbor on average. Torbor is a backup who signed a four-year deal worth $14 million last offseason.
It came as no surprise Segal turned down the offer as his client plays ahead of Torbor and was second on the Dolphins in tackles while Torbor plays primarily on special teams. Segal had no intentions of talking to the Dolphins again until the start of free agency.
Except that something happened on Crowder's path to unrestricted free agency. He legitimately wanted to stay and the Dolphins legitimately wanted to keep him -- perhaps understanding that Bart Scott is very likely going to return to Baltimore and not hit free agency.
So the sides got together again.
"We started talking again during the scouting Combine," Segal told me this afternoon.
One thing led to another and then another and by around 5 p.m. the sides agreed to a three-year deal. Segal declined to discuss the deal's worth as the Dolphins have sworn him to secrecy. But it's likely the deal is probably in the neighborhood of $4-$5 million per year over three years.
Torbor got $4 million in guaranteed money. Crowder almost certainly got more, perhaps $5 million, although that is an estimate.
"In talking to Channing, he made it very clear he was not interested in leaving the Dolphins,'' Segal told me. ``So now he is going to get his wish and stay with the team he wanted to be with.''
Crowder, meanwhile, is apparently quite happy with the deal, although he wishes it was a longer-term deal.
The reason Crowder would have preferred a longer deal is it would have provided more money, particularly on the guaranteed end. The reason he's happy about the deal is the Dolphins moved toward him to get him signed.
The Dolphins don't feel like they overspent even though they improved their offers. But they don't get the long-term solution a five- or six-year deal might have offered. And, the Dolphins are not finished.
The team continues to talk with agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents both safeties Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill. "Still talking on both players," Rosenhaus texted me earlier today. "Anything can happen between now and the start of free agency."