I am still answering questions on radio shows and via e-mails about Miami's aborted effort to terminate Joey Porter's contract last week. And the on-going curiousity about that episode got me to thinking -- which is always dangerous.
After pondering this situation I've come to this conclusion: The reputation of the Dolphins front office is going to be tested here.
Follow me on this. We all know Porter will not be with the Dolphins in 2010, barring a natural disaster that somehow sucks every weakside linebacker except Porter off the planet. The entire NFL knows the Dolphins and Porter are done.
So Miami will cut Porter sometime between March 5 and March 10, when his $1 million roster bonus is due. And it will not raise eyebrows if Porter struggles to land with a new team for a bit, or signs with a new team for a contract that is significantly lower than the one he's currently under.
That is what's supposed to happen to a player with zero trade value.
If we have a figurative repeat of a Matt Roth incident, where Porter gets picked up almost instantly and signs for money that is as big if not bigger than what he's currently due, I'm going think something went awry in Miami's attempt to get something in return for him.
The fact is if there is a team out there willing to pay Porter what he's currently earning, the Dolphins should be able to extort cajole from that team a late-round pick, maybe a sixth or seventh-rounder, in return for Porter. If such a team exists, surely that team would be willing to part with what is uthought to be by some teams to be a meaningless pick to insure itself adding Porter rather than competing for him on the open market.
And talk about payback for the disrespect Porter's shown Miami the past five weeks? It would be perfect to send him somewhere of Miami's choosing instead of allowing him the ability to pick his new employer.
What I'm suggesting is that if interest in Porter is high enough for someone to pay him as handsomely as he's currently scheduled to earn, the Dolphins should be able to get something for Porter.
They failed to get anything for Roth by the October trade deadline last year and simply cut the player a couple of weeks later anyway. The Cleveland Browns scooped Roth up immediately and he started for them the remainder of the season.
I find it hard to understand why the Dolphins couldn't have gotten something for Roth before the deadline if they knew he wasn't in their long-term plans -- which he was not. I'm not saying they should have gotten a first-day pick for Roth. That wouldn't be fair. But a seventh-rounder or perhaps a seventh-rounder in two years is better than absolutely nothing.
And yet, Miami got nothing.
Those seventh-round picks, contrary to some philosophical beliefs, are valuable. Mark Clayton was an eighth-round selection once upon a time. Jeff Cross was once a ninth-round selection.
So sit back and watch the Porter drama unfold in a couple of weeks.
The hope is the Dolphins find a team such as San Diego, Arizona, Clevelend, or Buffalo -- where former Miami linebacker coach George Edwards is now the defensive coordinator -- that would be willing to part with a "throw-away" pick for Porter at the last second. That would be great work by the Dolphins!
But if the Dolphins get nothing and simply terminate Porter, watch the timing and reporting of the player's new deal. If the demand for Porter is good or if his new deal resembles the deal he currently has with Miami, the Dolphins got rid of a player at least one other team valued. And they will have gotten nothing in return.
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