The Dolphins have apparently resolved their void at strong safety, but it's not how you think.
Even as the team was speaking with Yeremiah Bell -- as his agent Drew Rosenhaus spent several days recently negotiating with Miami -- there was something of a surprise move late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning when former Oakland Raider strong safety Gibril Wilson entered the picture.
This morning agent Alvin Keels confirmed that Wilson has agreed to a five-year deal with the Dolphins. At around 11:30 the Dolphins confirmed Wilson has signed "a multi-year contract."
Another league source tells me the deal can be worth up to $27.5 million and has $8 million in guaranteed money. That $5.5 mil average per year, the contract's length, Wilson's history as a starter, his age, and the fact Bell remains unsigned, paints one picture:
That Bell's days with the Dolphins may be over. This is not certain but it obviously gives pause. Bell agent Drew Rosenhaus has not yet returned a message left for him.
Wilson was a street free agent and not one of the group of unrestricted free agents that must wait until midnight tonight to work a deal. He was released by the Raiders recently after starting 15 games and finishing second in tackles with 129.
Wilson's career in a nutshell shows him to be a good player with solid credentials. He has a Super Bowl ring as he was on the New York Giants team that beat New England in Super Bowl XLII (42 for you normal folks).
After starting 51 of 52 games with the Giants, Wilson last year signed a six-year, $39 million deal. But his stay in Oakland ended Feb. 20 when the Raiders cut him in a salary-cutting move. Wilson was due to collect a $4.5 million roster bonus in March.
Although Wilson and Bell are built similarly, Wilson is said to run slightly better. He is also 27 years old compared to Bell's 30. Bell is believed by some pro personnel people to be a more explosive hitter.
It is possible the Dolphins might want to move Wilson to free safety and still re-sign Bell although that is not highly probable. Dolphins free safety Renaldo Hill is also unsigned.
[Update 2: Wilson played free safety for the Giants during his stint there. But ultimately they deemed him expendable. The Raiders wanted him as a strong safety and didn't think he could make the move to free safety, so that and the salary cap situation got him cut there. The 49'ers were interested for a second but they need a free safety and decided Wilson is not suited for that position. So while it is possible Wilson can be moved to the free safety spot in Miami, there are doubters around the NFL that think that's not his better position.]
[BLOG NOTE: IT'S GOING TO BE A BUSY 24-48 HOURS SO CHECK BACK FREQUENTLY FOR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE UPDATES. THE HERALD TEAM OF JEFF DARLINGTON, DAVID J. NEAL AND WHATSHISNAME WILL TRY TO KEEP YOU UPDATED WELL PAST MIDNIGHT WITH NEW POSTS.]