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Five days into free agency is no time to panic

Unrestricted free agency started as a sprint over the weekend when many NFL teams jockeyed for position to immediately land their prize targets or re-sign their best players.

The Dolphins got Karlos Dansby who is an upgrade at inside linebacker. The Dolphins locked up backup quarterback Chad Pennington. And they added by subtracting Joey Porter and Gibril Wilson.

But not all has gone according to plan.

The Dolphins have struggled to land a starting-caliber free safety because fate has not been kind. They put a certain value on Antrel Rolle and the New York Giants placed a higher value on him and got him. Value is defined here by cold, hard cash.)

They placed a higher value on Ryan Clark than his most recent team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Clark, a classy, solid dude, had other priorities he had to answer to. So Clark left Dolphins money on the table in order to return to the Steelers.

Some front offices might begin to panic. I trust the Dolphins will not, not with Bill Parcells at the helm.

On the surface, the situation looks uncomfortable if not dire.

A survey of the landscape shows the Dolphins have needs at too many positions to solve all those needs through the draft. 

They need a starting OLB, a NT, a starting FS, and, of course, a playmaker at WR. Always a playmaker at WR.

So what to do?

While Cincinnati is hosting both Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens this week, while Seattle is studying Brandon Marshall, after Baltimore traded for Anquan Boldin and Kansas City signed Chris Chambers, the Dolphins have done nothing.

I love Boldin -- a lot. But I cannot criticize the Dolphins for not moving on anyone left. It would be a sign of desperation for them to go after domestic batterer Marshall. Even if the move might be popular with fans and sell tickets, it would be a huge risk.

Owens will be 36 years old. He's better than any wide receiver the Dolphins currently have, no question. But did I mention he'll be 36 years old? And he has a history that rubs Parcells the wrong way. So is the Big Tuna going to basically cast off everything he believes in and chase this player? That would be a sign of desperation.

Bryant? He has had issues with his knees. His career byline is one of inconsistency and wearing out his coaches and his welcome. He also apparently would like a nice payday.

So maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins would best be served by sitting this one out if they have a plan. (God, please let them have a plan!)

The safety position is equally troubling because the Dolphins don't have a starter at the position. By their chase of both Rolle and Clark, the Dolphins have told everyone they don't think Chris Clemons is ready to be a starter and might never be. Remember, they offered those guys multi-year deals so the team was comfortable with Clemons not starting at FS for some time.

The problem is that the free agent options are running out. Darren Sharper is very, very, very productive but also older than Miami typically likes. He's also coming off knee surgery and reportedly isn't taking trips. O.J. Atogwe continues to be out there, but as of this writing, no contact from the Dolphins.

The Dolpins obviously didn't want to draft for this position. They might need to unless they can uncover a double-secret starting FS no one is aware of.

And then there are the other issues the Dolphins haven't even attempted to address in free agency: The team needs at least one starting outside linebacker, but DeMarcus Ware isn't available. They need a nose tackle but Vince Wilfork re-signed with New England. The Dolphins are a team in much need. 

So why am I not crying "The Sky is falling" from my house top?

Two years ago, as the Steelers and Cards were preparing for a Super Bowl year, neither team signed a free agent early on. Last year at this team, neither the Colts nor the Saints signed a free agent early on.

Free agency is less than a week old. It is not Labor Day yet. The draft will plug some of these holes. And since this front office doesn't typically show desperation, neither will I. At least not yet. It is way too early for that.

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allen,

In my opinion they both have red flags.

The knock on Spikes is his speed and no doubt he is slower in a footrace than many ILB prospects. He does tackle with more violence than McClain and he does show a short area burst. It will come down to his diagnosing instincts. If he can locate the ball earlier and get into position to tackle I think he would be better at bringing NFL caliber ballcariers to the ground than McClain.

I think some may have pushed Spikes down already as they fear he can't deal with crossing routes or covering backs out of the backfield. I think Spikes is a good player but I don't see a gigantic difference between him and Micah Johnson. He is a similar ILB that is strong, stout and a ferocious tackler in his own right that could be had later in the draft than Spikes.

McClains mind is much ballywho'd and like you say there is no way to really quantify it. Some say "People say he is smart, he learned other's positions and Bama has a complex defense that he is the master of."

I think McClain will eventually test out with a faster 40 time than Spikes. It's very hard to tell how fast McClain is as he doesn't apear to go all out when getting to plays all the time. If I were to say McClain has an edge it is in pass coverage. He is a tall backer and can stretch into throwing lanes. Some footage looks like he covers really well than some footage he covers well early in the play but falls off if the play goes a while.

My biggest concern and the reason I go round and round with NJ PHIN, carlito, bobbyd, TNFinFan and others is he has obvious problems getting strong ballcarriers on the ground. His benches at the combine prove he is not real strong, He gets engulfed and sticks on blocks, he isn't able to fight through adversity from blockers to get sacks, he doesn't have the million miles and hour pace I would expect from a #12 prospect. Other than those things I spose he is pretty good.

What do you see in Brandon Spikes?

Cheers,

Ravens signed Boldin. Wouldnt suprise me to see them grab T.o now. If it happens I see them in the afc championship game. Let me have it know it alls...

I think dez bryant goes before the #12 pick and the dolphins will be screwed again, as usual!!!

I think NJ and carlito win the PLUNGER award today....NJ for telling us he's off to do "Shoulders"...ha ha...why do you tell us that?...your a fitness guy...hmmm..I wonder..

And Carlito because with his views prepare to stay at 8 - 8 for the next 5 years...no one is good enough for him.....

Yeah and I like 1,2,4....its kinda cool..!!!

Great posts as usual by Rob in OC, Allen, Jimmy Jam ( smashed NJ), Inimounts and a few others...the rest are reminiscent of a losing metality......sad really

If this FO even looks at Owens or Bryant I will be worried, looking at either one of them shows signs of desperation. These guys have a plan a, b ,c d,and e so lets see whats next. I think they will not fill NT or Saftey until the summer when teams start cutting older guys because some young hot shot they drafted looks like a stud. Our Starting saftey is probably the starter on another team right now. Just like how we landed our D cooridinator, just like we landed our starting QB last yr(pennington-two games into the preseason) something will fall into place....I wont worry unless Owens or bryant comes in for a visit....

rob in oc

When i look at spikes

I understand mcclin might be more natural in pass coverage but the big difference between micah and spikes to me is the length---spikes has more length then even mcclain and had big hands---and agan i agree with you with the limitations of spikes gaurding rbs, but i think your issue with mcclain not be able to get off blocks is legit

when he pass rushes i think spikes is way more effective and with his size at 6"3 255---he has upside to play a little weakside olb for us---i like the idea of having to ilbs that can shift and play outside on a given play----Mcclain might be the smarter guy but i think spikes has more upside with impact plays----Sacks, interceptions, pressures, batted passes

EVERYONE OF YOU WOULD BE ON MARSHALL'S D(CK IF HE CAME HERE.

YOU ALL KNOW IT.

HIS JERSEY's NUMBER WOULD BE EVERYWHERE.

MARSHALL HASN't GOTTEN INTO ANYTHING. WHAT HE DO?

BY THE WAY WHAT DID PAC-MAN GET CONVICTED WITH?

I LIKE THUGS THEY DON't TAKE SHI+. THEY GIVE IT.

MARSHALL SAID PORTER HAD POPCORN MUSCELS. HE TOOK IT TO THE CAPTAIN,OUR TOUGH GUY.KNOWING HE HAD TO SEE HIM ON THE FIELD. SORRY BUT THAT's THE TYPE PLAYER WE NEED ON OUR TEAM.

YOU GUYS LOVE THE WRs WHO DON't WANT TO MAKE NOISE. THE ONE WHO DON't RUFFEL FEATHERS.
THE TYPE WE ALREADY HAVE. THEY're SCARED TO SAY THEY WANT TO BE THE BEST.

GOOD LUCK WITH WINNING WITH THOSE TYPE OF PLAYERS.

Seems to me that if that STUD player is not there they want with the 12th pick (ie. Dez Bryant and a few select others) Trading down a few spots to pickup an extra 2-4th rounder may be the way to go and fill these extra holes in this deep draft. OLB, FS, DT, WR and even TE. So Strike at the Studs and drop a little for anything less then that.

HP in PA - your post makes more sense than anything I've read here. Training camp cuts will indeed offer the Fins a few upgrades, and this team has so many holes it will need two more drafts, this one in 2010 and 2011 to really address all of them. Along with the FA season next year.

By 2011 the Fins should be locked and loaded, full of young talent. Of course, all those youngsters will need experience. 2012 and beyond is when the Fins should truly contend.

How many starters do we have today who will not be around (age)in 2012? Zero. This is a young team. And it's going to get younger in the next two, three years.

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