The last couple of days have served to fill up my Outlook box in Microsoft because many readers want to know what the chances are of Miami signing this veteran or that veteran, this aging receiver here, or that overpriced cornerback there, or possibly even that complaining quarterback over yonder.
So rather than spend an hour replying individually to everyone's e-mails on a day off, I figured I'd just work five minutes on here to answer everyone's questions in one fell swoop. [Blog effeciency note: 'Tis better to work five minutes than 60 minutes on a day off.]
Below you'll find the names of some veterans released or generally considered available via trade. And you'll find my take on whether the Dolphins will show interest or not. I have asked specifiically about some of these players. Others, I've not asked about and will tell you I haven't. But I have a guesstimate as to Miami's interest and will share that.
OK, here we go:
WR Torry Holt: The man nicknamed "Big Game" had his string of eight, count 'em, eight consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons broken in 2008 when he caught 64 passes for 796 yards. He also had a career low three TD receptions. And his average per reception, on the decline in three of the past four years, was at a career low 12.4 yards per catch. I have not asked about Holt because the timing isn't right for him to join the Dolphins. Let's face it, the Dolphins are going to draft a receiver. If this was May rather than March and Miami already had failed to come out of the draft with a receiver, this would be more of a possibility. But Miami is intent on adding youth and vibrancy and future potential to the receiver corps. Holt is none of those.
The Dolphins are going to take only five, and sometimes four, receivers to the game, as Tony Sparano would say. After Ted Ginn Jr., Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo and Brandon London (for special teams), there isn't a lot of roster room for a soon-to-be 33-year-old declining player, who doesn't play special teams, and probably wants to maximize his final chance at a contract. Other teams such as San Francisco, Pittsburgh or either New York team would be a better fit for Holt.
One more thing about Holt that all but erases his chances of playing for Miami. You recall last season's game between the Rams and Dolphins? At one point, late in the game, the Rams had the ball with a chance to win if they could author a touchdown drive. Throwing the ball on every down, the Rams scored a couple of first downs, but surprisingly, Holt was on the sideline at that time. In the game's most important moment, Holt took himself out of the game! He was not injured and he was not ordered to come out, I confirmed later. I asked cornerback Andre' Goodman what he made of Holt and Goodman told me he was surprised and that he had seen no fire in Holt's face all game long. That is not the reputation Holt carried throughout his previous 10 seasons. But it definitely is not the type of response or example the Dolphins need for their young receiver corps.
CB Pacman Jones: You guys that think this is a fit are simply trippin'. I know Adam Jones, as he supposedly goes by now, did an interview with Foxsports.com to rehabilitate his reputation. But that doesn't mean he's rehabilitated. What he is is a player three years removed from a good season. He is a guy who sat out all of 2007 on suspension, missed parts of 2008 because of another suspension, and is one misstep from another suspension. Oh, and he's not that good anymore. When he did play in 2008, he wasn't able to lock down many receivers, much less a starting job. He started six times in nine games, but that was only because the Cowboys were depleted at cornerback and they really had no other options. Bill Parcells, by the way, is a big believer in not hiring thugs. He hates the fact some of his players go to clubs because he believes nothing good ever comes out of those visits. He has told his players as much. So you think Parcells is then going to sign a player known for embracing the thug lifestyle and visiting all sorts of clubs, particularly ones with the word, "strip," in front of it? Stop it. Just stop it.
QB Jay Cutler. Hmmmm. Very interesting. It is clear the Pro Bowl quarterback is on the outs in Denver. The Broncos considered trading him because Josh McDaniels is the new coach and the new coach apparently doesn't feel quite comfortable with the old coach's quarterback. And the old quarterback doesn't necessarily like the new coach, as every meeting between the two worsens a bad situation. So I look for Cutler, who is already selling his home in Denver, to be traded by draft day. Cutler would be an upgrade for the Dolphins. He's better than Chad Pennington. He's proven and Chad Henne is not. The guy took a team with no defense and no running game into the final game of the season with a chance to win the AFC West. That's how good he is.
But he would not come cheap. The Broncos would want a first-round pick for him along with other considerations. It's the other considerations that cloud the picture. If Denver wants two first round picks, that eliminates Miami because the need isn't big enough to justify the move. Other teams such as the Jets, Vikings, Houston, San Francisco, and St. Louis would pull the trigger on a such a deal before Miami ever would. So the chances of this happening in Miami are slim. But to dismiss those chances as impossible is wrong also.
CB Chris McAlister: His agent made a pitch to the Dolphins about signing McAlister but as of this morning, the Dolphins had not shown interest. I am thinking the signing of Eric Green to a two-year contract with base salaries of $1.2 million in 2009 and $1.625 million in 2010 sends a clear signal of Miami's intentions at cornerback:
The Dolphins will give Green the opportunity to compete for a starting job this season and maybe next. But they intend to bring in an early draft pick this year with the hope that rookie also competes for the same starting job. Would McAlister have been a better veteran option than Green? I think so, particularly since Green isn't being veiwed as the long-term solution. But I don't make these decisions and the Dolphins know more about these players than I ever could. So I don't think McAlister is in the picture now.
DE/OLB Jason Taylor: As I've reported first and exclusively, the Dolphins have not closed the door on a JT sequel. Given the right circumstances, Bill Parcells would love the addition of a proven pass-rush threat that he believes would bring double-digit sacks to the team in 2009. But ...
The window of opportunity is closing. The Dolphins are scheduled to begin their offseason conditioning program March 30 and if Taylor wants to wear the aqua and orange again, he would have to fully commit to being part of that program from the start, and indeed, being a star in that program. I am not sure Taylor wants to make that commitment.
There is also the small issue of MONEY. The Dolphins are not able at the moment to give Taylor the two-year, $10-14 million deal he could probably get elsewhere. They could pay him excellent money, no doubt, but not premium money. So as Miami would welcome JT back under the right circumstances, it would be up to JT to decide if those circumstances suit him.
If he's about getting the biggest payday possible, he won't play in Miami. If he's about taking a vacation until training camp opens, he won't play in Miami.
But if he wants to return home, work his tail off in the conditioning program to prepare for a comeback season, be driven by something other than the biggest available paycheck, and play with a competitive and up-and-coming team, then Miami is his answer.
OK, my five minutes are up. Discuss at will ...