Maybe it's not the splash you wanted, but the Dolphins have addressed two desires along the offensive line with the signing of Joe Berger today.
Berger's visit with the Dolphins today, first reported here, culminated in the former Dallas Cowboys signing a three-year deal with the team this afternoon, also first reported here.
So what is so special about a career backup signing with Miami?
Berger was brought in to compete with starter Samson Satele for the starting center job. At 6-5 and 310 pounds, he more closely fits the mold of what the Dolphins want anchoring the middle of their offensive line. The Dolphins will likely add a draft pick to that center competition as well.
Berger also will provide competition at right guard for Donald Thomas, the rookie who won the job last year but was injured in the season-opener and went on injured reserve.
Even if Berger does not win either job, he will provide the Dolphins with quality depth. The team last year was not pleased with the depth at either left or right guard and suffered for it, particularly in the playoff loss to Baltimore.
A little perspective here: Berger had earned the starting job with the Dolphins in 2005 when he suffered a foot injury that basically cost him the job. The following year the Dolphins needed to make a roster move and cut Berger to put him on the practice squad but he was claimed by the Cowboys. He's been a backup in Dallas since.
"Joe's very happy to be back down there," agent Tom Tafelski said in confirming the deal. "He's reunited with his old Dallas offensive line coach who is now the head coach. He's looking forward to getting the pads on and proving this is a good move for the Dolphins."
So what else is going on? I'll have the names of any other players that might be visiting the Dolphins today after 4 p.m. I don't imagine it will be a very long list. [UPDATE: Berger is the only unrestricted free agent visit the Dolphins are reporting to the NFL today.]
One name not on the list will be Laveranues Coles, who many fans (and some reporters not named Salguero) have speculated would be on Miami's radar. Coles, drafted by Bill Parcells in 2000, is in Buffalo today.
Finally, for now, check out this story by colleague David J. Neal, who today caught up with newly minted strong safety Yeremiah Bell for an exclusive interview following the player's re-signing with Miami yesterday.
[UPDATE 2: Renaldo Hill, who started 39 games for the Dolphins the past three seasons has signed with the Denver Broncos. He signs a four-year deal worth $10 million with a $3 million signing bonus.]
One more thing before you guys continue to complain about Miami's start to free agency. Yes, the Redskins are tilting the cash register. Yes, the Jets are looking to get Bart Scott. Yes, Coles is in Buffalo. Yes, Center Jason Brown is in St. Louis and negotiating with the Rams.
But the winners and losers in free agency aren't determined on the first day. And I like Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland and their chances of making the right calls as much, indeed more, than the folks in Washington, St. Louis and New York.