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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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