ORLANDO -- The Dolphins are in the process of breaking ties with guard Justin Smiley.
Team sources are telling The Miami Herald that Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells called the guard Saturday while he was on a hunting trip in Alabama. Smiley was told not to report to the club's offseason conditioning program that begins today in Davie.
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland deflected questions about Smiley today, saying coach Tony Sparano would be the team's spokesman on all matters during the owner's meetings.
"We're going to be one voice here, OK? That's going to be Tony tomorrow. That's the way our policy works. We'll be one voice tomorrow. He'll answer any questions you guys have about anything regarding the Dolphins world"
Pressed on the fact that Sparano isn't scheduled to address the media until Tuesday morning and the news on Smiley has already happened, Ireland still wouldn't discuss the issue.
"I'm not going to respond to it right now," he insisted.
Smiley, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract as an unrestricted free agent in 2008, was told the Dolphins are in the process of attempting to trade him this offseason. The Dolphins hope to conclude a trade within the next couple of weeks but certainly before the NFL draft is over in April.
The intriguing part of this approach is that the team is apparently admitting Smiley was another in a growing list of unrestricted free agency misses -- a list that includes Gibril Wilson, Ernest Wilford, Josh McCown, Chris Crocker and others.
It is also interesting that the club was believed to have just filled a need for interior line help by signing Richie Incognito to a one-year deal worth $1.35 million and is now creating a new need at the spot. The deal with the tempermental Incognito comes with no guarantees that he'll even make the team. Incognito, who has been cut or not retained by two other NFL teams, got only $25,000 in guaranteed money from Miami.
Smiley got $9 million to sign with Miami in 2008 and has been a relatively good player when he's been healthy. His major problem is that he came to the Dolphins with a history of being injured and that history has held true in his two seasons with Miami.
Smiley played 12 games in 2008 before suffering a knee injury that ended his season. Last year he was nagged by a shoulder and other assorted ailments that kept him out of the starting lineup four games. Although Smiley still was active for 15 games, the emergence of Nate Garner kept him on the bench for three games as a starter.
It is unclear what price the Dolphins hope to exact for Smiley. League sources at the current NFL annual meetings are speculating the asking price is a third-round pick. The Bengals, Seahawks, Atlanta, and San Francisco are in the market for interior linemen.
If the Dolphins cannot trade Smiley, the could decide to cut him.