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Making a play for The Three Cards Studs

Less than 24 hours from the start of the NFL's new league year and Dolphins fans have cast their sights primarily on one place: Arizona.

It is in Arizona that linebacker Karlos Dansby is about to become an unrestricted free agent. It is in Arizona where safety Antrel Rolle is about to be released, barring an unlikely last-second agreement on a contract restructure. It is in Arizona that wide receiver Anquan Boldin is on the trade block and apparently can be had relatively reasonably.

For Dolphins fans, and to some accurate degree for the Dolphins themselves, what happens with the trio from Arizona will determine how successful Miami's dip into free agency and trades this new league year will seem once it begins at midnight March 5.

So allow me to address the issues of The Three Cards Studs:

Dansby: The Dolphins are interested. There is no doubt about that. Too many NFL people are saying it for it not to be true. The latest to make the point is Andrew Brandt, the former VP of the Green Bay Packers who now writes the business of football column for National Football Post. He direct messaged me on my twitter Wednesday to stress he keeps hearing from his sources that the Dolphins are onto Dansby.

The NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported that three teams are onto Dansby, although he did not know the teams. I also don't know the other teams. But I can tell you Dansby expects something of an auction for his services and he will go to the highest bidder.

By auction, I'm talking Rembrandt type stuff here. Agent sources tell me Dansby will be "asking" $30 million in guaranteed money on a five-year contract that would expire when he's 33 years old.

He wants to set the market's new ceiling for a linebacker so he's going to start out somewhere in orbit. And understand the $30 mil is not the entire deal. The total cost of the deal Dansby will be asking will average at least $8 million annually. Do the math. The guy wants a deal of approximately $40 million with 75 percent of that guaranteed.

Of course, asking and getting are two different universes. But the fact more than two teams are apparently interested is a good sign for the former Auburn standout.

I would tell you Dansby would be the prize of unrestricted free agency for the Dolphins should they land him. But landing him will be neither easy nor cheap.

Rolle: As you know, The Miami Herald broke the story about Rolle wanting to play for the Dolphins. The former University of Miami standout hasn't changed his mind and he will get a chance to hit free agency because his agent Drew Rosenhaus and the Cardinals have been unable to agree on what Rolle is worth.

It is clear he's not worth the $4 million roster bonus due him March 9 plus the $8 million salary he's scheduled to earn from Arizona in 2010. Thus, the Cardinals will cut Rolle as early as Friday. They will allow him to test the market and see what he can find, while obviously believing they have a good enough sense of his worth that their offer to him will stand up with whatever the market is offering.

I regard this a case of more Rolle wanting to play for the Dolphins than the Dolphins wanting Rolle to play for them. He's a good player. He's a playmaker. But he, too, wants big bucks. (Shocking ain't it?)

The Chicago Tribune is reporting Rolle wants a contract that averages $8 million. The Dolphins will absolutely not come anywhere close to that. You might argue Miami paid an average of $5.5 million to Gibril Wilson to be a resounding bust, and that would be true.

But $8 million per year is more than game-changers Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu make on an annual average.

The interest the Dolphins show in Rolle will be the first test of Jeff Ireland's credibility when he suggested the team was expecting Wilson to play better in 2010. If Rolle is added, there would be no room for Wilson on the roster at all.

I believe Ireland to be honorable. I believe the Dolphins won't be making a strong bid on Rolle. We'll see.

Boldin: As The Miami Herald reported last week, Arizona is ready and willing to trade the former Florida State standout. On Wednesday, the NFL Network's Michael Lombardi reported the Cardinals want "only a third-round pick" for Boldin.

The question is whether that is what they are asking or if that is what it will actually take to move Boldin. I've reported in the past that Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells has a healthy respect for Boldin. Many NFL people do.

Parcells likes Boldin's toughness. Likes his production. Likes his size. Likes his game. Yes, there are questions about Boldin's age. There are also questions about his recent rash of nagging injuries. And then there's the contract -- more on that in a moment.

Given the variables, and deciphering sometimes painful conversations with sometimes reluctant sources, I reported on my twitter that Miami definitely would not give up a second round pick for Boldin but might possibly give up a fourth-rounder under perfect circumstances.

So the question is, again, are the Cardinals absolutely stuck on getting a third for Boldin? Or is the third their initial negotiating stance that they'd be willing to come down from?

Now, about that contract. The contract is the primary reason Boldin is on the market. He's been unhappy with his current deal for two years and would be unhappy again in 2010 in what is the deal's final year. So he wants a new deal that pays north of $7 million per season and probably closer to $9 million per season.

That is a ton of money even in an uncapped year and it could raise eyebrows because teams aren't absolutely certain what the financial realities will be beyond this coming year.

So anyone, including the Dolphins, that considers a trade for Boldin must weigh whether they can find a younger, cheaper receiver in the third or fourth round and accept the risk of that player never panning out. And the teams must also weigh whether adding a proven 29-year-old Boldin is worth a draft pick plus a big contract.

It's all measuring risk versus reward.

That's how it is when you make a play for The Three Cards Studs.




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My logic is undeniable:

1) Sign Brandon Marshall with your #2 plus Ted Ginn
2) Draft Eric Berry or Earl Thomas at 12
3) Sign Dansby
4) Draft Best OLB in 3rd Rd
5) Draft Best NT in 4th Round
6) Draft Best OLB in 5th roud
7) Draft Best RB in 6th
8) Draft Best ILB in 6th
9) Sign Ben Watson
10) Do Not Sign JT
11) Cut Wilson, Torbor, Porter, Haynos


i like your thinking!!!
...mostly b/cse i like marshall at the top of any list...and i'd love it to happen as you laid out...however, remember...marshall is VERY restricted...and likely will command first round compensation plus some!...(which I would glady give up for him). Our best hope for your scenerio may be if:

a) den's coaching staff is sooo fed up wit marshall that they'll take less than he's worth or

b)they believe in ginn's potential such that they are willing to back off a first round asking price

let us only hope!

good post.

Waterboy, everyone has the right to their opinion, but I don't believe ur first three gonna happen...forget Marshall, that just isn't gonna materalize with what Denver wants, Dansby I would like to have but he wants to play in NY and there is no way around that fact, Culver, Clemons and Gibril will fight it out for FS in training camp, one will win. Let's see who's right

Remember folks we do not have a 5 and 7 pick in this years draft! We have an extra pick in the 6 that's it! We must be wise with the picks we do have.

Armando, talking about Bolding for a 3rd round pick is idiotic. Denver only put the 1st round tender to Marshall who is probably the second best wide receiver after Andre Johnson. That is RIDICULOUS! There is no way we will ever get that type of GUARANTEED playmaker with a 1st round (No Dez Bryant talk, please!)

Is his personality an issue, yes but only because Denver never PAID him for catching more than 100 pases in the past two seassons!
This is the guy that the trifecta should spend money on, and give Chad Henne the perfect complement to develop the offensive game that we know he can do.

This team will not over pay for anybody, draft draft draft, with the nfl uncertain future, that you can bank on. I go after Boldin if we manage to drop the price tag down, if not screw Dansby and Rolle, we can do better in draft.

this sucks i know rolle is an upgrade to the position but he is not worth paying that much!!

what sucks worst is we have to keep gibril if we dont sign rolle

if we sign dansby then maybe we can get a safety in the earlier rounds but after berry and earl thomas there is a decline in talent

we definitely are going to need an OLB that can cover.. period

Henne to Marshall would be rockin.

Ted Ginn would be wide open on deep routes

Plus New England has three 2nd round picks this year! Let's not get out if hand with are picks.

boldin is definitely talented and has "the balls" we need on our offense

but his injuries do worry me and his age
if he can stay healthy we're golden

4th rounder seems fair but the 9million doesnt sound reachable

Papito, better in the draft?

Pay an unproven rookie millions when you can have Brandon Marshall???

If any, the Dolphins will get one of these guys. Most likely Dansby or Boldin. You guys are crazy with this madden football talk.

I bet Dansby gets 20 million guaranteed where ever he signs. He is setting the bar high at 30 mill for negotiations. He is a good player and I would love him on the fins, but doesn't deserve to be the highest paid LB. Make a pro bowl and we'll talk.

Just give whoever a fat signing bonus and a decent contract and that should take care of the cap

Rolle- who is he kidding wanting more money than Reed and Polamalu?! DO NOT SIGN him for this money, he's not worth it.
Boldin- Injuries aside the guy is turning thirty and there's a strong possibility of a lockout (no football) in 2011. We are not superbowl contenders and by the time football resumes in 2012 Boldin will be 32 years old, slowing down, and pulling big bucks from the team. This move doesn't make much sense.
Dansby- Sign him, sign him, sign him! And then go after an OLB early in the draft and one in the later rounds.

Sign Marshall and half our your woes are solved.

Report: JT to visit Chicago Bears

I don't know what side deserves the most blame, but it will be a tragedy if there is a lockout in 2011. Look what happened to the NHL.

"Henne to Marshall would be rockin.

Ted Ginn would be wide open on deep routes".

Yeah, but then the ball would hit him in the hands and fall to the ground.

thats true 2012-13 comes around and we might be begging to drop boldin

sounds weird but maybe true

Boldin will be the Wildcat trigger man

With a good chance of a lockout in 2011, I don't see teams giving out large signing bonuses, especially to veteran players who will be one year older in 2012...I think because of this we are going to see alot of contracts backloaded with bigger payouts at the end..It doesn't seem to make much business sense to pay someone a huge signing bonus, have them play for one year, sit out a year and not know what kind of shape or what they are going to have in 2012

Carlito, the NFL is going to get 5 BILLION Dollars from the network TV deals, GUARANTEED money whether there is football or not!!! What incentive is there for the owners to make a deal??? They get 5 Billion dollars, lock out the players and pay no one, it's like free money for them and everyone knows the public will come flooding through the gates in 2012, these people that say they will never watch or go to another game are full of it...Seems to me the owners make out like bandits if they lockout...sad but true

Everyone thought Porter was the answer when he signed with MIami - then gerbil - and wilford - and - and - and . . . . . . .

Enough with free agents - once they get the fat contract they go into the tank. Redskins 8-8 break the bank on 3 or 4 players last year 4-12.

Stick with the draft and build with hungry players. I'm willing to wait a year or to more for the Fins to become a true power with young hungry players.


Armando is pretty proud of his "3 Cards Studs" play on words there isn't he?

He likie likie when he makes a rhyme


y-not, I don't believe ANYONE thought that Wilson or especially Wilford would be the answer. Most fans realize that after a complete tear down of an entire organization there are going to be some bumps in the road while rebuilding. You do not fire every coach, get rid of 80% of your roster, and then fix it in year one by signing an Ernest Wilford. People need to be more realistic when setting the bar on their expectations.

Armando and Co, I think the dolphins would be foolish to pay big dollars to outside free agents who may be good but not great. I like what they did last year by rewarding in-house players with nice contracts. Lets build through the draft and supplement with free agents. How do we know we won't find another great inside linebacker in the draft next year? Zach Thomas was a 5th round pick.

joey porter, played for the card coach, i say trade porter and a 5th for boldin straight up.

Here's the problem. Most Coaches in the NFL want the biggest FA on the market to be with their team NOW. Coaches think in the short term, must win now because my job is on the line. Most GM's think in the long term, build through the draft. So any good franchise has to have balance when building the team. This will be the boys 3rd draft together and it looks like the GM and VP have been doing right so far. Look for the coaches to get a couple of guys they want. At least I hope.

It's easy...acquire Dansby....forget Rolle. By acquiring Dansby the Dolphins can use the 1st rounder for Thomas and use him at safety. The guy is a defensive play maker. Trade next years 3rd rounder for Boldin.

plus porter can step in for dansby... make the trade for boldin.

Dansby is not asking for much more guaranteed than what Porter did, so why not go after Dansby?? Give next years 4th and based on performance it could become our 3rd for Boldin. Then, we are done in FA and load up in the draft!!!

a 4th and Camarillo for Boldin?

Too much, too little?

We do not have a 5th round pick, for the last time!(Thigpen trade)
Our picks in 2010 are


Standley I don't think it matters that you don't have a 5th round pick when you have 5 picks in the next two rounds. Especially when considering the fact that many 4th and 5th rounders won't pan out as well as guys taken after them. Not really a big deal here.



Still not seeing why a team not close to contending for a superbowl would pay Boldin the money he wants and then watch him sit out a season in his early thirties only to come back older and slower. That move really makes the least bit of sense to a rebuilding team out of the three scenarios in my opinion.

Oh I see why your using exclamations Stan, someone is saying use a fith rounder as trade bait. Gotchya now.

Sureshock, your caps lock seems to be stuck.

Dansby and Marshall both are very duable this offseason. Just trade down for an extra pick such as a 2nd or 3rd, then trade our downgraded 1st rd pock to Denver for Marshall and we look pretty good for 2010 with those 2 pickups alone. We havent even talked draft yet.

DyingBreed - NO WAY we are giving up our first round pick for Marshall. I would rather give up a first for someone like Calvin Johnson.

Sign Dansby - all that I really ask for; trading for Boldin (for a 4th) would be icing on the cake.



Eh! Our running backs are not a strong point! Brown -oft injured, Ricky is coming to the end of his career, Cobbs? Hiliard a banger thats all! CJ wasn`t a 20-25 cpg he shared with Lendale but as he grew stronger he baceme that 25 cpg back- Spiller will be the same- ultimately speed kills!!!! Bryant no way! Dansby in FA, send Ronnie to Bolts for 1st rounder take Spiller and Kindle/Graham in first round Cam Thomas in 2nd round, WR in third! Depth thereafter.....?

Browns Tendered Matt Roth a 2nd round pick...wow!

Seriously why not give up our first pick and get Brandon Marshall?

Even if we were to get Bryant at #12 there is no guarantee he will be a hit comprable to Brandon Marshall. To me it is more than worth it to get the sure thing than to take a chance on an unknown commodity.

The Giants are on record that they won't spend for Dansby...the Redskins seem to be more interested in Rolle...so we seem to have a good chance at Dansby.



I sure would trade Ginn for Marshall...even throw in a mid level pick.

Miami Dolphins could have interest in New England Patriots LB Adalius Thomas if the Patriots release him.

flipper you obviously didn't watch the Dolphins play last season. Our defence was HORRIBLE!!! They couldn't stop the Colts or Saints or Stellers or Bills when it mattered most. NO WAY are we giving up our first round pick for Brandon Marshall....end of story....can we PLEASE stop the INSANITY!! Marshall is a very good, bordering on GREAT player. But we are not one player away. Defence all the way boys!!


First off great article! Ive heard that the Giants are more interested in Peppers. Heard anything about that?

They cant and wont get both Peppers and Dansby. Rolle isnt that good. He's way overpriced just watch their last 2 games. Im excited about Dansby. Then we can get JPs replacement in the 1st.



Karlito for Dansbito. Come to play with the Dolphins. If you get all that money please share it with the good people of Miami. Do not be like Gibril or Ernest before him, the thieves.


can you also talk about some of the 2nd TIER free agents that we may go after starting tomorrow?

To all those people saying we shouldn't spend big money in free agency and just draft, consider this:

The Miami Dolphins NEED 7 starters added to last years' core still in the following order:

1. NT
2. OLB
3. another OLB
4. ILB
5. FS
6. Pass catching TE
7. WR

Considering the draft will only yield max 3 players who will significantly contribute in year 1, how will you fill the other 4 holes? Maybe one or 2 can be filled by promoting someone on the roster from backup to starter ... mayeb Clemons, Wake? So at best now, you filled three holes in the draft, 2 by promoting from within, at BEST you are still looking at finding 2 more starters.

The Dolphins do not have the luxury of saying we will not spend in free agency. They are still in desperation talent acquisition mode. You only have so many ways of acquiring players: draft, trade, free agency, promote from within. So if you maxed out the draft and promoting from within results, you still need to acquire more talent and are just left with trade and free agency. Therefore, you NEED to make a splash here and not sign depth players, you need to find a starter somewhere.

Indiana if we picked up an extra 2nd rd draft pick by trading down our #12 before trading it to Denver for Marshall then used the 2nd rd pick for say nt Cam Thomas this is a possibility of how our offseason can go.

2a Jerry Hughes
2b Cam Thomas

Also if someone were dumb enough to sign Ronnie Brown away our draft could be altered to take Stanford's Heisman trophy finalist and 09 rushing leader Toby Gerhardt because we can then use that #1 pick to take MT Cody.

What do you think?

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