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On Incognito Dolphins must weigh risk, reward

Since the topic of this blog is Richie Incognito, I must explain the idea of risk versus reward.

Incognito, whom the Miami Herald reported Saturday will visit the Dolphins this week, is undoubtedly a risky proposition for the team.

He is only 26 years old and already looking for his third team. Icognito joined the Rams in 2005 and after two years as a starter in 2007 and 2008 started being viewed as one of the dirtiest players in the league by a poll of his peers. During a terrible season for his team in 2008, Incognito taunted Rams fans after a home loss. Last year he got into a sideline argument with head coach Steve Spagnuolo after head-butting two opponents in a Rams game versus the Tennessee Titans.

The guy has been referred to as "immature" and a "tool" by St. Louis media.

And yet the Dolphins like Icognito.

They like the guy enough to bring him in for the visit and while that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to sign, it goes a step beyond last season when the team claimed Incognito on waivers. The Bills also claimed him -- getting him because they stunk more than Miami -- but promptely threw him back to the talent pool this offseason where the Dolphins have on the hook again.

So one supposes you see the risk in chasing Incognito. He could still be the same immature player he's proven himself to be. Perhaps he's not that good a player which is obviously Buffalo's opinion.

But ...

Assuming the Dolphins don't do anything crazy like offering major guaranteed money -- or any guaranteed money for that matter -- this risk could pay a dividend if Incognito signs and becomes a good player.

The risk could bring a big reward if Incognito solves Miami's festering right guard problem. The position has been a turnstile for five different starters the past two years. Donald Thomas and Nate Garner shared the job and starts last year.

So what if at 6-3 and 320 pounds, with strength that is unquestionable, Incognito becomes a staple on Miami's line?

Who will complain then?

I know there are questions out there why the Dolphins would flirt with Incognito but not show any interest in other troubled players such as Brandon Marshall?

There is a difference. A big difference. Marshall presents a much greater risk. I detailed what a high risk proposition Marshall is over the weekend.

Marshall would require a big contract, draft picks and a long-term commitment atop his troubled history. The Dolphins don't need to give Incognito a big contract, give up picks and show a lifetime commitment to the offensive lineman.

So if Incognito becomes a player, great. The gamble worked.

If Incognito signs and then disrespects coach Tony Sparano as he did Spagnuolo, if he costs the Dolphins yardage with personal foul penalties, if he's the same immature player he's been to this point, then the gamble failed.

It wouldn't be the first time the Dolphins blew it on a free agent.

Except this one hopefully comes with the appropriate amount of measuring risk versus reward.

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