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Merling out for year, Marcus Spears next?

The Miami Herald has independently confirmed that Phillip Merling is out for the season following an Achilles' injury suffered this week.

The report follows an earlier report by profootballtalk.com that Merling's offseason troubles -- that included an arrest for domestic violence on his pregnant girlfriend -- had grown with an Achilles' injury whose extent was not known.  

I have been in contact with a source saying the Dolphins may turn their attention before training camp is over to Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears, a starter who has fallen somewhat out of favor with the Cowboys and whom Bill Parcells drafted in the first round in 2005.

Although Spears finished the season with a career-high 2.5 sacks in 2009, the Cowboys former first-round pick got a lower restricted free agent tender offer than either of his backups. Spears was available in trade just prior to the draft.

The Dolphins also have Tony McDaniel, Ryan Baker, Ikaika-Alama Francis, Lionel Dotson and rookie Jared Odrick slated at defensive end.

Former Jets-Ravens-Saints-49'ers defensive end Marques Douglas might be a possibility based on his history with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. But Douglas is 33 years old and at 6-2 and 290 does not meet the prototype size the Dolphins like in their defensive ends.

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