And you thought the Dolphins were done with the Ravens after the playoffs last season?
In fact the Dolphins are monitoring the Ravens this week as two and perhaps three possible free agents from that team are Miami targets, in varying degrees, when free agency begins Feb. 27.
The Dolphins like linebacker Bart Scott, center Jason Brown and strong safety Jim Leonhard, according to an NFL source. But the source says it is unlikely the Dolphins will get more than one of those players -- at most -- because of other circumstances, not related to Miami, that are currently at play.
The source said no team, including the Dolphins, are likely to land both Brown and Scott because one of them is likely to return to Baltimore as a newly minted re-signed player before the end of this week. It should be noted that agent Harold Lewis represents both Brown and Scott and he recently told the Baltimore Sun he was negotiating with the Ravens on deals for both.
"My gut feeling is one of the two is going to hit free agency and the other one will probably sign," Lewis told the Sun. "That's just my gut."
Make no mistake here, the Dolphins hold both in high regard.
Scott is the explosive, running back-hungry inside linebacker the team wants. He's big at 6-2 and 240. He's quick. He's a great run-blitzer and is often effective when blitzing on passing downs. He also has excellent instincts.
If there is a downside on Scott it is that he will command a high price and there will be plenty of competition for his services, including within the AFC East. He is also 28 years old, which is slightly older than what is optimal in Miami's eyes.
Brown, 26 in May, is more attractive from an age standpoint. He has size at 6-3 and 320. He has a reputation for being tenacious. He is durable, having started every game the past two seasons -- he was the only Baltimore lineman to start every game in 2007. And he has started as both a left guard and a center during his career.
Leonhard is the least likely of the three the Dolphins would land because, frankly, he's probably headed to the New York Jets anyway.
Speaking of the Jets, the hiring of Rex Ryan as head coach is not exactly a good thing for the Dolphins. It says a lot that Ryan is a Bill Parcells protege' and has the Big Tuna's respect. In fact, Ryan was among the coaches interviewed when Big Tuna was lining up his Tuna Helpers in 2008.
So how does Ryan's presence in New York affect the Dolphins?
Immediately, Ryan will be adding talent he's familiar with and that means Ravens players. The scuttlebutt in league circles is that Leonhard, who started for the Ravens and was the object of some man love from some of the posters on here, is on New York's free agent radar.
Not coincidently, the Jets are also interested in Scott, which might cause another problem for Miami.
Leonhard, you'll recall, had an interception in the playoff game against Miami. And yes, the Ravens, with Ryan as their defensive coordinator, beat the Dolphins twice last season. Doesn't mean Ryan is more likely to beat the Dolphins while with the Jets. But he obviously understood Miami's offensive weaknesses.