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More tough decisions: The Dolphins secondary

I am a product of my generation, one that grew up watching Dan Marino and Mark Duper and Irving Fryar and Keith Jackson and Bruce Hardy and Mark Clayton do amazing things on a football field. I grew up watching and admiring great offensive football in Miami.

And lately I've covered a team that is incomplete on offense. Even as the Dolphins rose from the ashes of 1-15 to the heights of 11-6, the offense didn't really do it for me. The receiver corps lacks a No. 1 guy. The quarterback, brilliant and cagey and a great leader, cannot make all the throws. And the interior of the line is a work in progress that requires much attention.

So I've been focused on that side of the ball of late, particularly in light of the amazing offensive performances I witnessed during the playoffs and Super Bowl. But can we take a breath?

Can we take a serious look at the Dolphins overall?

A sober look at the team reveals one need that glows in neon right now: The defensive backfield. It is a mess.

Maybe you haven't noticed but starting cornerback Andre' Goodman is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Starting free safety Renaldo Hill is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Starting strong safety Yeremiah Bell is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

In other words, three-quarters of the starting secondary is looking at free agency.

And that means the secondary will be the area most affected by change this offseason because we all know it's unlikely the Dolphins will be able to retain everybody.

And even if the Dolphins make the attempt to keep everyone, that only means they would be keeping a group that had issues at times during the 2008 season. The Miami secondary had a handful of meltdown games -- Arizona, Houston, New England in November, and Kansas City -- that also suggested the unit needs attention.

So where does that leave the Dolphins?

You might know I wrote a Sunday column outlining a couple of tough roster decisions the Dolphins must make in the coming weeks. Add the decisions in the defensive backfield to the list of tough decisions.

It seems possible, perhaps even likely, the Dolphins will address the free safety position in the draft or free agency. Yes, they could re-sign Hill as long as he doesn't want to break the bank. But the team clearly wanted an upgrade at that spot last year when it tried Chris Crocker and Jason Allen as starters while Hill was still mending from ACL surgery the year before.

Hill is 30 years old now so it seems unlikely the Dolphins are looking at him as the long-term answer at the spot. So while his ability to keep order and make the right calls at free safety impressed the Dolphins, the position will require a long-term solution. 

Bell is also 30 years old and eager to get his first, and perhaps, only big NFL contract. A late bloomer who suffered injury setbacks in the past, Bell had an outstanding season in 2008 and he's in line for a contract that pays him among the top 10-15 strong safeties in the NFL.

That means the Dolphins will have to cough up anywhere between $4-$5 million annually to re-sign Bell. That would keep him below elite strong safeties like Troy Polamalu ($6.8 million in 2008) but would bring him into the same company as a Rodney Harrison ($3.7 million in 2008). Bell made a bargain $520,000 in base salary in 2008.

The expense is one the Dolphins must weigh against the possibility of losing their leading tackler and arguably most dynamic and consistent player in the secondary. The Dolphins have signaled they want to keep Bell, but I'm told no serious negotiations might be done on this front until later this week and going up until the Feb. 27 start of unrestricted free agency.

Then there is Goodman. He also is 30 years old and seems pointed toward free agency absent a deal in the next two weeks. He led the team with 5 interceptions and 19 passes defensed. Goodman admitted to me midway through the season that he started 2008 poorly.

But I believe you'll agree he was nails the season's final month or so. Four of Goodman's five interceptions came on Nov. 30 or later.

Top 10 NFL corners earned, on average, $8.3 million in 2008. I think we can agree Goodman is not on that plateau. But he's going to want a deal that averages at least $3 million per season. Why?

Will Allen, Miami's other starting cornerback, is scheduled to make $3 million in base salary in 2009 and I doubt Goodman's agent will allow his client to be paid less considering his client produced more last season.

Regardless of what the Dolphins do with Goodman short-term, the cornerback spot is one the Dolphins will have to look at adding talent to this offseason. Allen, you must remember, is not signed beyond 2009. (This is where the fact Jason Allen is a bust hurts Miami because if he weren't, he would be the young guy, the former No. 1 pick waiting on deck to step into the starter's role. But Allen isn't ready for that and coaches know it.)

So looking at the entire portrait of the Miami secondary, you see uncertainty and the need to address those uncertainties. Did I mention Miami has tough decisions to make?

Discuss ... 

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mikepuke-I played football and baseball in college.I Know more than you forgot.My wife (that would be a woman who was a all big ten softball player) and my five year old girl know more than you!!!I do not live my life through my kids but they know more football than you.Shut up!!Zach sucked and too old Travis Daniels YOU ARE ON DRUGS. BAD BAD BAD.J Allen.BAD.Hagan.BAD.Your posts BAD!!!!I sure am not a GM but you are a retard!!!!

Hey jp little pud good nite.Say good nite to your daughter and all the little caps.Momma is calling.Bring in the big wheel and go to bed.Fluffy is alone.

YOUR MARRIED AND HAVE A KID LOL YOU GET BONED BY BIG T BONES,YOUR IMAGINERY WIFE PROBABLY KICKS YOU FAT BUTT ALL DAY AND YOUR SO CALLED DAUGHTER HAS MORE MATURITY IN 1 FINGER THAN YOU DO TONY GETS BONED.I HOPE YOU DON'T YALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER WITH YOUR FILTHY GETS BONED MOUTH.

TONY GETS BONED BY T BONE,WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?YOU ARE A 500 POUND MEATBALL WHO NEVER PLAYED A SPORT IN YOUR LIFE.YOU PROBABLY WAS IN A BAND AND GOT YOU FACE KICKED IN ON A DAILY BASIS LOL

YOUR WIFE(YEAH RIGHT) PLAYED SOFTBALL? WHAT'S HIS NAME BUTCH LOL.DON'T FORGET YOUR K -Y BEFORE YOU GO TO BED TONY GETS BONED BECAUSE YOU'RE ABOUT TO GET T BONED.OH YEAH AND YOUR MILK BOTTLE.

We need to resign Bell and Goodman. But our priority is still OL, NT and LB.I could live with W. Allen, Goodman, Bell and a free agent SS. We need to trade Satele and get bigger and stronger up front. I hope our 1st and (2) 2nd round picks are Alex Mack C, Duke Robinson G and Kenny Britt WR. Not necesseraly in that order.

The only one worth keeping, IMO, is Bell. The interception number is low and the tackling is sloppy. Teams were not afraid to throw on us. I'm not sure what the answer is or who's out there, but the unit as a whole sucks.

Listen here Tony T Bone...I myself see some potential in Jason because he is the first or second one "on the scene" on ST therefore we will continue to coach him up and see what happens.

As far as your "family" goes...blow-up dolls ARE NOT considered "wives",living in your parents basement DOES NOT make you a "homeowner" AND telling your mom to "Bring me a Juicy Juice right now!" DOES NOT qualify as having a "maid on duty" in the real world so stop with the "I am somebody and you're a nobody!" act..its sooooooo 8 year oldish.

Armando! Now this is what I call writing!! The opening paragraph captivated and took me back to yesteryear and a time gone by. A sunfilled, exciting aerial show orchestrated by none other than Dan the Man Marino. I almost caught myself humming The song "Memories" by Barbara Striesand but I digressed. Then followed by an interesting assessment of another one of our needs... provoking thoughts of possible improving scenarios in our minds.
Super, Duper Job, Armando!!!

Draft Sean Smith.....he has STUD written all over him, I would not care if they did it in the first round either....he is tall, fast and packs a punch.

In all honesty I did not think J.Allen played that bad this year....he got hurt, and burnt by Moss, but in may ways I do not think he was horrible....pick a damn spot for the guy and let him work on it....they flipped him around AGAIN last year....not fair IMO.

Armando, when are your pelotas going to drop? That voice of yours... embarrassing.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE REAL DOLPHIN FANS THAT WAS BACKING ME UP THROUGH THE WEE HOURS OF THE NIGHT. TONY T BONE IS JUST LOOKING FOR ATTENTION I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HIM BUT I HAVE A JOB, WIFE, AND A FUTURE FOOTBALL PLAYER FOR THE DOLPHINS (MY SON) SO THAT'S WHY I DIDN'T READ HIS RESPONSES @ 0115 IN THE AM. ANYWAYS I STILL THINK J.ALLEN WOULD PLAY GREAT IF HE GOT THE "EXPERIENCE" HE DESERVES. ANYWAYS, GOOD ARTICLE ARMANDO AND GO DOLPHINS!!!!!!

how about sign karlos dansby, daunta robinson, bell,carey,jason brown and goodman. let hill and crowder walk. cut wilford. restructure or trade holliday.

J-P, Caps lock is cruise control for cool. How's life in your moms basement treating you these days?

I LIVE IN MY MOMS BASEMENT....YOUR NAME shootermcgavin. IF I DIDN'T OWN MY OWN HOUSE I WOULD RATHER LIVE IN MY MOMS BASEMENT THAN HAVE A NAME LIKE shootermcgavin. MY CAPS MUST BE A PROBLEM FOR SOME PEOPLE BECAUSE YOUR ARE THE SECOND PERSON TO JUMP ON MY _ _ _ _ ABOUT IT. UNLESS YOUR ARE TONY T BONE. YOU KNOW WHAT I APOLOGIZE LITTLE ONE I SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT I AM TOO GROWN FOR THAT. I'LL GO POST ON ANOTHER ARMANDO BLOG. ANYWAYS GO DOLPHINS!!!!!

I can Play in the secondary and Do Better then some of them did last year!!!!

Sign Me up!!!

tester59 is right. those marino teams were very dissappointing when it mattered. sammie smith and others could never run for yards when we needed them.

You would definitely deserve the job SlackMan

j/k

j-p it was my pleasure ripping a new a=hole in one of the biggest a=holes around in tony gets boned by giant t bones. hey tony gets boned .CAPS CAPS CAPS CAPS CAPS CAPS.HOW YOUR HUSBAND BUTCH DOING? PLAYING SOFTBALL?

Tough decisions? I just don't see it. It seems simple enough to me. They will resign Hill, Bell and Goodman at the right price, and if the price is too high, they won't. It's that simple.

Parcell's is not one to overpay.

Even if a guy is better than anyone else on the Fins roster, Parcell's will not be held hostage to that, as i said, his philosophy is to not overpay. Anyone.

Who do we have right now who can step into Crowder's shoes? No one. But Parcell's will not overpay for him regardless.

RE J Allen, like everyone else I am sick of this guy and have no patience with him. Hoewever, I hold out hope, at least for one more season as some players just take longer to develop than others. Take James Harrison as an example. Cut by the Ravens and Steelers multiple times, he finally developed into a great player. Let's hope the same for Allen. There is no doubt that he has the physical tools, but that is only 50% of the equation. The other 50% is football smarts. Let's hope after 3 years he has finally learned something.

Hard to believe the guy will be entering his 4th year.

Re-sign Yeremiah Bell. He deserves it.
No if or buts about it.

The guy was in on every play.
If it wasnt for Joey being a sack machine this season, Bell would have been the story of the defense.

As for Goodman, Hill and J.Allen...

Goodman is no Will Allen.

Goodman was GARBAGE the first half of the season, he stepped up; but hes getting old & we could find better for cheaper.

Release Goodman, Hill & J. Allen.
Or get some trade value? draft pick(s)?

Trade for S Michael Huff from the Raiders.
Draft Taylor Mays from USC 2010 Draft.

As for this years draft, get LB Laurinaitis in the 1st round.
A DB or WR in the 2nd round.
OL or DL in 3rd round.

Re-sign Bell, draft Patrick Chung and Sean Smith with our 2, 2rd picks. Sign a young stud like Bryant McFadden, or Dunta Robinson. I wouldn't give up on Jason Allen yet. He still made 3 picks last year and 3 picks in 2007. Remember it was year 4 when the light came on for Drew Brees, before that everyone called him a bust. Maybe Jason Allen will be better in year 4 also.
The Fins need to draft Duke Robinson with our 1st Round pick. Can you imagine the force Jake Long and Duke Robinson would make for the next decade. They would be handling D-linemen like rag dolls, and plowing open running lanes a M-1 Abriams could drive through for the next 10 years.

Earlier today I wrote on another Dolphin Blog I was glad I wasn't in charge of the Secondary debacle. The Offensive Line, Defensive Line, and Linebacker positions seem fixable through the draft and free Agency with several mix and match choices. Looking at the draft and the Tribunals history, the first 3 picks are going to be OL,DL,LB I'm hoping one of these will be a WR let's pretend instead its a safety or corner. That means your still down, one or two secondary players and the ones that got away are no better then the FA that will cost more. The draft now rounds 3-7 will yeild 4 more players for the Dolphins pick 6 goes to Dallas. Even with Parcells personel expertise, can you really find starting secondary help in these later rounds. Isn't Parcells strength really finding the best football player in these rounds not called need to draft a position. Last year the personel axe cut a lot of trees from the roster. The tribunal may be graded more on their player moves and draft this year than last year. I have a plan but don't like it but we all play GM if we're fans. It may just take letting Crowder, Carey, and Holliday go to keep the secondary in tack somewhat and I'm a Veron Carey fan. Those positions are more rebuildable through the Draft and FA. The receiver I like not named Crabtree or Macklin and the most Anquan Bolding like is Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 207.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48. then Percy Harvin.

"I am a product of my generation, one that grew up watching Dan Marino and Mark Duper and Irving Fryar and Keith Jackson and Bruce Hardy and Mark Clayton do amazing things on a football field. I grew up watching and admiring great offensive football in Miami."

Hey Mando how many Superbowls did that group win?

Your living in the past dude! Miami had that type of offense because they had a Dan Marino.

You know ,the more I read from you the less knowledgeable you sound. You want to pattern your team from the current flavor of the month with the latest superstars.Kinda like a copy cat!

Where did my post go?

tony t bone your an idiot .where did you play football after highschool .so dont talk like you know football .

D Man Canada weighs in :


Another great blog Armando. We need to make a run at the corner from Atlanta (Foxworth?) and a real run at him, keep Goodman (he hasnt performed at an elite level for long and will be paid accordingly). Safety can be built through the draft. Hill has a torn acl that could come back and bite him anytime. Also in free agency there is that "Leonard" kid from Baltimore who looks like a player. To me, consistant corners are hard to come by, and I would like to see an Allen, Goodman, Foxworth nickel package with Bell and safety x covering their asses.

Cheers from the great white North !

D Man Out !

the only guys i would sign from our free agents are 2 guys bell,and vernon carey! goodman is 30 and despite comming on strong at the end he still wasent strong all season and he ain't as good as he thinks he is and ain't worth the money so let him go and try and sign a cb that is good and worth the money like asmoush from oakland how ever u spell his name! and as far as carey goes we need him on our line he is one hell of an RT and starting to get into his own from being put back into his normal postion because he was neer ment to be a LT! i think our o-line is perfect with carey,long,smiley,thomas and samson satele! yes we could upgrade samson at center with a big guy but other then that every other postsion on the line is set and if we do sign another big center then samson is moved to guard and then we hae depth and were set!

Personally i think with the schedule the way it has been set it will be a large task for the dolphins to pull out a winning record.

Obviously, they are a work in process ,which no one should be expecting more than a playoff run or a first round appearence at least.

As for the secondary it is not a complete mess, you look at this year they have come up with some big defensive plays at the end of games. I think just like the WR position we need a couple of guys back there who can make plays.I say keep bell,and try to keep one only one of these guys,personally i say keep Hill.CB thats where the problems begin our guys(CB) look like lost childern out there.Dolphins need a playmaker ,maybe look through F.A. or the draft,one guy that i have kept my eye who i would love to see down here is pro bowl CB Nnamdi Asohmuga from Oakland he is a UFA,so you know new owner you say your trillionaire haha,well buys us some players.

In the draft,i just think draft a LB forget crowder,and continue developing the 0-line.And as for free agency pick up a WR!!!!

P.S.

DONT PICK UP ANOTHER BUST LIKE ERNEST WILFORD PLZZ!!

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