Ronnie Brown will remain with the Dolphins in 2010 if, as widely expected, there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and players. In fact, I have reported to you previously that Brown and the Dolphins long ago addressed this possibility by writing in an option year to Brown's rookie deal.
The option, according to NFLPA figures which Brown confirmed for me last year, means Brown is under contract to the Dolphins for 2010 at $5 million if no agreement is reached. If an agreement is reached (highly unlikely), then Brown is unsigned.
So Brown is not even a restricted free agent this offseason. He's under contract if the option year kicks in.
Does it bother Brown, who will be entering his sixth season in 2010, that he's going to have to wait for unrestricted free agency?
"A little bit," he said this week on the final episode of the Ronnie Brown Show on 560-WQAM. "Just to see what may happen and just to see what opportunities I would have out there."
But in the next breath, Brown pivots to the stance he has taken and will continue taking until his contract runs out in Miami: He wants to remain with the Dolphins. He wants a long-term contract with the team.
"I want to make sure I'm still in Miami," he told host Orlando Alzugaray. "I don't want to go anywhere else. To be honest, I'm not really interested in leaving Miami so it'll be good if I could go on and get something done and stay here."
The problem for Brown is that the Dolphins have little motivation to get something done right now. They hold his rights for 2010 barring a CBA agreement that isn't likely to happen.
The running back is still recovering from the Nov. 20th surgery on his right foot to repair what was believed to be a lisfranc fracture. Brown is still not running and is being brought along slowly because, well, the Dolphins aren't playing any games for a while.
The problem for Brown and his representatives is that the Dolphins will be eager to see the running back prove he is completely healed from the injury before they commit to a new contract. Moreover, the Dolphins might be patient enough on the matter to wait and see if Brown can play an entire season without suffering another injury before deciding his long-term value.
Brown, you see, is supremely talented and usually effective when he's on the field. But he's sustained significant injuries in two of the past three years, including a knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in 2007. And since entering the NFL in 2005, Brown has never started all 16 games in a season. Even his 2008 Pro Bowl year when he gained 916 yards, Brown started 13 games.
So while Brown may be willing to commit to a long-term deal with the Dolphins -- like, yesterday -- the Dolphins have no logical reason to share that desire right now.
[NEWS UPDATE: The Dolphins today took eight players off their injured reserve list -- a move required by the NFL for all teams. Taken off IR were Will Allen (left knee), Brown (right foot), Patrick Cobbs (left knee), Channing Crowder (right foot), Lydon Murtha (ankle), Jason Ferguson (quadricep), Chad Pennington (right shoulder), and Brennan Marion (knee). This doesn't mean all the players are healthy. It simply means they are able to take part in offseason OTAs, camps and other activities if they are healthy. Players on IR cannot practice with the team.]
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