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Another important side to the Indy Combine

The part of the Indianapolis Combine that often goes unnoticed and therefore unreported by the media -- particularly the younger, inexperienced reporters -- is what happens between agents and club personnel people in hotel lobbies, or restaurants, or in the stadium and convention center hallways.

Yes, the incoming class of rookies is working out and being interviewed.

But agents also are in Indianapolis for meetings and they use the trip to conduct face-to-face business with teams. Agents go to Indy to pitch their clients who are soon to become free agents. In some cases they go to Indy to try and bridge a gap in talks between their clients scheduled to become free agents and their current teams. Agents also go to Indy to get an idea what players they represent might be on the radar for certain teams -- as a way of testing the market before it opens.

As you know free agency begins Feb. 27 and agents and teams aren't supposed to discuss players that are not yet free agents until midnight on that date.

But the worst kept secret in the NFL is that agents and teams do discuss players prior to that time and, in extreme cases, even set up contract parameters prior to free agency's official start. Does anyone remember Justin Smiley agreed to his free agent contract with Miami about 20 minutes after midnight when free agency began last year?

Do you seriously believe that entire deal got negotiated and agreed to in 20 minutes? I remember years ago the Dolphins had safety Gene Atkins in town and signed the first day of free agency. You think Atkins just happened to be around?

Some of those talks and exchanges of information between teams and agents start in Indianapolis.

Now that you understand the situation on the ground, here are a couple of things the Dolphins will likely discuss and run into in the coming days.

The defensive end spot is likely to become a big point of interest for Miami in the coming days and weeks. In the coming days, agents Cary Fabrikant and Brian Levy and the Dolphins will discuss the future of defensive end Vonnie Holliday.

Those talks are necessary because, as I reported weeks ago, Holliday is due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 3. And his cap number for 2009 is currently scheduled to be $5.75 million. So that's a lot of cap room to use on a player.

The Dolphins may be interested in reworking the deal to make it more cap friendly, despite the fact they have a whopping $28 million in cap space at their disposal already. Holliday is open to restructuring but probably not too keen about taking a pay cut. So the sides have to discuss the matter and those talks are likely to happen in Indianapolis.

But that is not where the defensive end spot's Indianapolis flavor ends. You see, two potential unrestricted free agent defensive ends are expected to approach the Dolphins, through their agents, to gauge Miami interest. They are San Diego's Igor Olshansky and Chris Canty of the Dallas Cowboys.

The connection between Canty and the Dolphins is obvious as he was drafted by Bill Parcells out of Virginia. Canty has started 48 consecutive games for the Cowboys and talked on Sirius NFL Radio a couple of weeks ago about his relationship with Parcells.

“He did draft me. He did draft me," Canty said. "You know, I like Bill. And I’ve always said, there’s a part of me that’s always [going to] be a Parcells guy. I’ve played under Al Groh in college and then coming in as a rookie under Bill. What they instill in the brand of football that they play, it’s been with me so that would be a place that would be a good fit. But, you know, we have to wait and see.”

Canty's agent, Bradley Blank, will likely soon have a pretty good idea exactly what Miami's interest will be. If that interest is not legitimate with Canty or if the Dolphins don't somehow retain Holliday, the Dolphins will almost certainly will be involved, at least initially, in the Olshansky sweepstakes.

Olshansky can opt out of his contract with the Chargers based on the fact he's met certain performance levels. The San Diego Union-Tribune has reported Olshansky will use his opt-out. The fact he has an opt-out alone means he's likeminded with Parcells. Couldn't resist.

In truth, the fact Olshansky is 6-6 and 309 pounds and productive and 26 years old will be tempting to the Dolphins because Holliday, who was as productive if not more productive than those other two players, is hindered by the fact he's 33 and will be 34 in December.

So keep these veteran defensive ends in mind even as you're thinking about the rookies and the vertical leap and the short shuttle times in Indianapolis.

Also, keep in mind Drew Rosenhaus will be approaching the Dolphins about Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill. Keep in mind the Dolphins will be telling agent Ben Dogra whether they will put the franchise tag on his client Vernon Carey. Keep in mind agents will be pitching GM Jeff Ireland their free-agents-to-be.

It'll be a busy few days.


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Now that is a worthwhile post! Hard to get news from Japan from the local media.

I'll take, young up and comers, over old and ill fitted 3-4 DE's anyday !!! Bye Vonnie !!

Great stuff Mando! Got anything on Miami's interest on Ravens C Brown?

I'd like to trade for Julius Peppers. I'd be willing to send Vonnie Holliday to Carolina even though I like Vonnie and appreciate his leadership.

Awesome post (Mando Rocks!) I couldn't agree with you more. I added your rss feed, please keep posting more like this! Thanks.

ARMANDO , with merling , langford , starks, an improved l. dotson ,holliday for his leadership ( while reworking his deal } and even soliai , I don't see miami wasting good money ( they both are going to get a pretty good pay day } on another de . WE have to many holes at ilb , nt, db , c { ol depth} and wr

Way to take a swipe at Omar and Darlington! Those pups don't know anything. I know stuff because I'm old, but I'm just too lazy to work.

Did someone just post that we don't need Chris Canty or Igor Olshansky because we have an improving LDotson?

Some people are so stupid!

Julius Peppers, I believe is out of the question. It doesn't make any sense. He wants to play OLB not DE in a 3-4. It would be a huge deal for a player that apparently can turn it on or off anytime he wants. We need some DE's bc one huge problem with the line was they did not get pressure on qbs time and time again. I agree we need ILB help bc Crowder is not the answer as the solid ILB. And yes I am comparing him to Zach Thomas bc he wants to be paid like Zach Thomas. Bart Scott would be a good short term answer and draft a beast in the draft. We also need atleast one shut down corner and we do not have that in what we have now. We need a corner that can cover a Randy Moss and bigger receivers bc our secondary was exsposed all season long with big receivers. Cant wait for the 27th for FA to begin.

I would trade Chris Canty for Vonnie in a heartbeat. But with $28 million the Dolphins don't have to make the choice. They can have both and get rid of Dotson and Rod Wright that are dead weight anyway.

Excellent breakdown, Mando. Props.

I googled Oshitzky and he's crazy. Comes from great stock. I love him already. Sign him up.

It's unlikely the Dolphins sign any defensive end in free agency, let alone a high-priced one. They already have Starks, Langford and Merling, who are all 25 or younger and are locked up long-term. Holliday or no, Miami isn't looking to add a big-name end, or even an end at all outside of undrafted free agent rookies.

I think it makes sense if the Dolphins are cutting Holliday, they absolutely will add a starting-caliber end to take his place. You improve your team anywhere and any way you can. If there are upgrades available at DE and they don't break our HUGE bank that Mando quotes at $28 million, how can you not do it?

Makes perfect sense.

hi all
im a fan on the west coast, orshanski is a tackling machine, but not a great sacker...

Mando, any news on the ravens S Jim Leonard? He is a FA, and destroyed us in the playoffs, what is your thought on him... would Miami try to make a play here??

I will be back in a little while. I have to go spend the next hour on an American Idol blog. I hope Ryan Seacrest is wearing a sweater tonight.

Jeff Ireland,

If you are reading this, please sign Vernon Carey if you want to run the ball next year.


Great stuff the last few days. I am genuinely surprised you are getting inside info considering how tight lipped this regime is.

Please cut (or trade) the following players:


W. Allen
J. Allen
N. Jones

Thank you!

Life is like a box of chocolates, thats all I got to say about that...durrrrr

all the fish need to do is sign bell and carey those 2 or the most important to hell with the others especially crowder i think hes great and all but he sure as hell wont get zach thomas money from the tuna helper, if he doesnt get signed im pretty sure they might take luaranitis if hes available the dude is a beat....and i would like to see hakeem nicks or sean smith with the first 2nd round pick we have and then try to get delmas or chung at saftey not bad right?

*beast i meant beast

FINHAVANBLOWS , nobody said not to sign canty because we have dotson you f'n idiot !!! Dotson was named among starks , merling ,langford ,holliday.The point was we have enough depth at de ,that we don't have to spend money that we can use elsewhere. Miami can maybe draft a de if need be (cheaper).Next time get your facts straight,MORON!!!

Some dummy on NFL has FSU's sack artistvEverette Brown falling all the way to us. NO way that happens, but wouldnt that be a treat.

Look NJ Phin Fart, just because you say we have enough doesn't mean it is true. You are obviously a retard with no sense of what $28 million in cap space means. It means the Dolphins can upgrade SIGNIFICANTLY by replacing Rod Wright or Dotson for Canty or Olshansky. If you can't see that, try graduating kindergarten and then get back to me.

By the way, stop eating turds, you hsit face.

finheavanblows, you azzwipe . 28 mil in cap space isn't that much money , when you have as many holes as we have you shythead .Don't forget some of our own free agents we might resign and all of our draft picks , you idiotic moron. Now go blow yourself!!! ( finheavanblows .lol )

I thought the war room went overboard with drafting DE's last year. Don't tell me they're going to do it again. If they do, then this group is no better than the Wanny group that had hard ons for corners all the time. Like someone else said, we don't need another DE. We need ILB, DT, C, G, and WR.

Now if we release v.holliday, that's a different story.

Everett Brown wouldnt be a DE for us.. He'd be an OLB

I wouldnt over spend at DE Merling is in line, and you people write off Holiday like hes applying for social security. He still has gas in the tank. I like starks he didnt do bad. If we can get a great upgrade cheap then by all means make it happen, but holliday isnt only a good leader he can still play. Restructure or not he should stay.
resign Carey, Bell, and Goodman

Draft- WR,NT,Secondary,G,...but draft value i dont care what position if a blue chip falls on our laps draft him.

Address the LB's through free agency

If you could some how move Wilford for a 7th round pick in the 2020 draft do it.

I dont know what Crowder is standing inline to get in free agency. to me hes a good player, but not great.

NJ phin fan sounds strangely like a little man from Orlando named m@@c, but i degrees, canty is definitely a upgrade..

cRUZ, Make sure you make it out to C.B Smith park this weekend, We'll be releasing ted(feet of clay) Ginn and his clipboard holding daddy back into the wild along with randy crowder, they'll be a petting zoo so bring the little ones, mark magell from the metro zoo will be there and i hear that a certain little weasel 's from Orlando's mom will be there too for the kid's to pet...

I Strongly Believe We need a MLB, CB, DT, and WR. We also need an explosive DE. I think we need to break the bank on at least on highly ranked UFA. I do believe TJ would be a perfect match for Chad Penningtion. TJ would bring so much to the offense. TJ is known for receptions and not some much as a downfield threat. I think chad a tj would have a good chemistry with chad. they are both mature and knowledgeble players. I know everyone would do things differenly but are defense we need to hit the free agency hard. Resign Bell. He is a animal! We need to get a good mlb which there isnt to many but bart scott would be nice and haynesworth? I dont want to get my hopes up on him every one is after him. For cb Dunta robinson would be reasonable. Well we wont know what happens till it happens. Harrison Is soon to be release by indy. He will be cheap to get due to his injury problems and law troubles. Scenarios will build up day by day. FYI trade away Pennington....lol come on he is one of the reason we went to playoffs. He at least deserves to stay here for another year. We been fishing for quarterbacks and now we got them. dont fix it unless its broken moron.

n.j phin fan, Please cut down on your roid usage before you blog, You sound like a Nazi gestapo major...


I trust in the Tuna and the Tuna Helper would be a great t shirt. They will do the right thing.
I want a bigger nose tackle and a bigger centre.
I want a OLB, pass rushing animal that eats qb's for breakfast and craps out the remains on Monday.
I want a CB that covers receivers like a canvas tarp.
I want a free safety that hits receivers all over the field. The buck stops here kinda guy.
And I want a receiver that goes up for the ball and comes down with it. That is what we lack, vertical.
Last but not least, I want these guys to fit with what we have right now. I don't like the TO type players. They cost games because that showboating gets the other team revved up.

At 33, does Vonnie have any years left to restructure with? I think we have him signed until he's 35... what are we supposed to do, guarantee more of the money and extend him until he's 37?

I want Vonnie to stay because he's a class act who brings nothing but good things to this team. But he needs to take a pay cut, or we have to let him go. He's older, he's undersized, and he's expensive. Not a great formula from a purely objective standpoint.

Crowder wants $5 million a year. We offered $4 million. He won't budge, and I think the FO is sick of him by now. Farrior is on the chopping block in Pittsburgh - they have cap concerns and a young guy behind him. I'd love to see him come in and replace Crowder. An experienced, true 3-4 MLB who can get us from now to when we have our own youngster to replace him with.

Unless someone like Britt, Nicks, or Robiskie falls to someplace they shouldn't be, WR will be a focus for next year.

And Peppers and Haynesworth are simply out of the question. Speilman isn't here any more, guys. Albert is about to become the highest paid defensive player in history and he's never played NT in his life, so he's a no-no. Peppers wants to move to linebacker and get paid $9 million a year for the privilege of finding out if he can make the transition. And if he can't, we couldn't even use him at DE. Let the Cowboys take them both.


Mando, I think either Canty or the russian guy whose name I cannot spell would be an upgrade over Vonnie. But I would rather get rid of rod wright and dotson, keep vonnie for leadership and add canty to start. Now THAT would be an upgrade.

Meanwhile, I went on kelly's blog and he had the nerve to steal your tuna helper line. I called him out but I'm sure he's embarrassed about getting caught stealing (it's what I do) and probably deleted my comment. What a loser.

FLPD , what happens to merling ( who we invested the 32 overall pick) and randy starks ( who we invested good money in) ? . Canty is not going to come cheap you Know . So langford, holliday, merling, starks and now you want to pay canty ? That's alot of money for 1 position , when you have many holes. If holliday gets realesed ,then yes on canty.

are Canty and Olshansky unrestricted free agents? and is Julius peppers out of the question if he is franchised and only avail through trading a number 1+?

CUBAN, I was responding to that azzwipe finheavenblows name calling over a harmless debate about the dolphins de situation and canty ( who i do like). One Question , is your friend MONKEY going to be at the picnic ?

O yea and is 12 million too much money for Albert Haynesworth? who is your favorite big name player becoming a free agent with regard to miami's needs?

$12 million is way too much. He has an injury history, a history of character issues, and he's never played nosetackle before.

I like that comment from David about it being hard to get Dolphins news from Japanese sources. LOL.

I don't know what they're going to do with Vonnie. I would suspect they will say, 'take a pay cut, or be cut. We love you but this is business.'


Tinshaker, you are a pathetic loser and your site sucks ass. How pathetic is it to go on someone else's sports blog and posts links to your own moronic one? Very pathetic.

Tin , stop posting your lousy blog site . Nobody goes on it except for your 5 fan club members ( lol } from the sun- sentinel . Your blog SUCKS !!!

Fan, you can't talk to Tin like that. You are not part of the exclusive club. Only me, finfanrob, Walker, Phinatic, etc. can talk like that. We own these blogs and spend 24 hours a day here.

Oh yeah ,your right. God forbid you talk to the no life , 24/7 blogger , exclusive loser club like that!!

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