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Which elite free agent should the Dolphins sign?

Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland declined to share information on the Dolphins salary cap situation when he met with the media Tuesday. Doesn't matter because lack of specifics aside, it is clear the Dolphins cannot be full-blown buyers in free agency when it begins in March.

The Dolphins will not be able to address all of their issues in free agency. Thank God for the draft.

But the Dolphins might be able to address one major issue in free angency. One.

So which one should it be?

Do they sign quarterback Peyton Manning if he's available?

Do they sign defensive end Mario Williams, who is scheduld to hit free agency?

Or do they sign guard Carl Nicks, who NFL people are saying will not be back in New Orleans based on that team's other priorities?

All are elite players when healthy. All could be available. Which one do you sign and why? Please take into account how much demand will address the availability of each player in your answer.


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Sign Marc Trestman as our Offensive Coordinator. PLEASE! We had our opportunity once before. Let's not let it pass us up again. If only we had kept Brian Griese; then if only when we signed Marc Trestman as our Assistant Head Coach / QB Coach, we had actually handed him the reins to the offense; then we might have already been running a high powered West Coast Offense for the past 8 years!!!

Sign Mario Williams and draft Quinton Coples...Talk about improving your pass rush... Williams, Coples and Wake. That's what you want when you face Tom Brady twice a year. Much better than Wake-Langford-Misi or Wake-Starks-Burnett...

no cant do it yet

dusty, not so sure the Eagles will franchise Jackson...

#1, I like that thinking, that line would be dominating.

Michael I was at the season opener in buffalo last year and sitting up close. I could see Soliai dominating. The experts should've seen that in camp and talked contract. They played chicken and lost.

Has Ireland been fired yet?

..Remember..As of right now. We have about 20 million in cap space. Franchise guys don't count against the Cap..So you can't subtract Soliai's contract from this number..Marshall, and Dansby get huge contact bumps this year. Wake will probably be wanting a new contract. It will interesting to see who is a casualty of the cap this offseason...Some name we haven't thrown around may get chopped in favor of cap space..

All FA signings should be made looking at long term growth. Players over 33 do not fall in this category. I would rather see the franchise be successful long term than over spend on old guys and be just like the Redskins always chasing their tails. We need to be a contender on a yearly basis.

robert in az, I know. I just found it funny because Armando's blog made it sound like we were interviewing the wrong Packer guy. It made it look like Philbin wasn't and shouldn't be the guy because McKenzie didn't think he was worth an interview but Moss was.
Posted by: #1 Dolphin Fan in Montreal | January 25, 2012 at 01:40 PM

Just proves that Armando doesn't know what he's talking about, and either do the bloggers who based on Mando's article jumped all over Ross and Ireland for not interviewing Moss. With all due respect to anyone out there named 'Winston', it just doesn't sound like a football coach name.


Also signing Mario Williams could make us an instant 4-3 defensive juggernaut. In a 4-3, Willaims and Odrick could play the DE's. Solia and Starks in the middle.

Then Wake as an olb and possibly Dansby on the other side. With Burnett in the middle. We could blitz from anywhere we like with the front 7. We could possibly set a new nfl sack record with this lineup.

It looks like Indy's HC will either be Pagano or Tressel...

Yesterday, assuming we re-sign Soliai. Not so sure if we will...

indy is a mess, porr andrew luck. wayne will leave also, bring him back to miami

soliai is gone, according to basically everyone hes going to pitt

Contrary to some fans in here, I would l;ike to keep Solia, especially playing a 4-3 defense. Solia commands "double-teams" in a 3-4 defense. He dominates if not doubled.

Think about that. In a 4-3 defense, if he's not doubled he'll dominate the middle. If he is double, it would free Starks up to become a beast in the middle to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield with his quickness.

Then you have to double Mario Williams at DE, and Odrick could become a force on the other side at DE. Plus you can blitz Wake, Dansby, or Burnett on any given passing down. It would all drive offenses and oc's crazy!

I think Mario Williams would be awesome. He's a fit regardless of whether the Phins stick with the 3-4 (pass rushing LB) or move back to the 4-3 (pass rushing DE). I guess I would only be skeptical of the fact that he's only had one year experience in the 3-4 where he recorded 5 sacks before the injury.

He's gonna come at a very hefty price though, considering he earned $18M for 2011 alone.

Soliai is not a 4-3 DT; if we switch to a 4-3, he is gone. He is a NT in a 3-4...that's it

Sign Nicks. Move Jerry to RT. Line solved.

plus Finley if he's available.

Move up and get RGIII or stand pat and get Coples and sign Flynn.

YG...I think that Odrick really played well the last 5-6 games of last year..He is a natural 5 technique. If he could be affective as an inside rusher..It could be lights out. In the 4-3 if you can pressure up the middle. The defense is almost impossible to stop. The outside guys trely on a lot of stunts, and loops to get pressure. If you have a guy that can bull rush..It puts so much pressure on the offense to be in the right protections..Usually a lot of moving parts mean breakdowns eventually.

Sign Williams! It will make everyone on the defensive line better day 1!

IMO, Soliai is the most important player on this roster that we do need to resign. Heck, the guy was just selected a pro bowl alternate. The stakes have just been raised.

This ball club absolutely cannot afford to let pro bowl calibre players walk. If Soliai walks, Ireland should be fired on that alone. LOL

what if peyton gets you to round one of the playoff then goes down w an injury? you're back to square one. get matt flynn, end of story.

Yesterdays Gone,
The responsibility of a DT in a 3-4 is completely different from a DT in a 4-3. He's too bid and fat for a 4-3.

Soliai is looking for a big pay day $$$...It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins handle that one...

and too slow for a 4-3


I dont care if its 3-4 or 4-3 defense. If a guy commands a double team in the middle of the lien you need to hold onto that player(Soliai).

Darryl Dunphy,

Heck, I would go for seeing Odrick next to Soliai in the middle if that's where he's better suited. We already know that Starks can be a beast at DE.

Also, it could be interchangeable whether Wake or Mario Williams play the other DE. Both Williams and Wake have slash/olb on thier resumes.

how much will ray rice get and from who

Mario Williams,

He is an ideal fit in a 4-3 but not in a 3-4. There is no coincidence when guys like him and Aaron Kampman a few years back have leg injuries because they are too big to play in space like that. They may be athletic enough but at that size it's not physically possible to sustain that. One wrong twist and turn move with a guy 6'7 285lbs isn't made for that type of movement. 4-3 DE is where he belongs.

A DE tandem of Williams and Wake would be amazing.

We can't afford to pay Soliai what he wants. We would be better off taking that money and paying it to Mario Williams in free agency. In today's NFL, it is more important to put pressure on the opposing QB.

As for Flynn, only Coach Philbin knows whether Flynn is for real or not. He is NOT going to be sharing that information with us. If he believes Flynn is the real deal, Miami will go hard after Flynn in free agency and pay him. If not, then Miami won't. I feel very comfortable the Dolphins will make the right decision here. And you won't know what that is until free agency starts.

By the way, I think it is GREAT Ireland has started saying the RIGHT things. Let's see though if his actions meet his words. Supposedly he is agreeing to a sit down interview with the major South Florida newspapers. I hope Armando and all ask him the appropriate tough questions. That being said, he does deserve credit for at least meeting with the media.

I still think Ireland Sucks, but I am willing to give him up until this draft to learn from his mistakes and turn this thing around.


Tell Bill Belichick that. Wilkfork seems to be working just fine for him. Pats have moved to basically a 4-3 defense. Wilfork's a "slice a toast" away from 400lbs. LOL

By the way, is there any doubt Mario Williams isn't franchised? Not sure why we are even discussing same. Same with Drew Brees. No way these guys become free agents...

YG - I also like Solia (unlike many others)....but I think most people miss the point of what a 3-4 NT does. There's not much glory involved from a statistical standpoint, but there's plenty of $$$. This is because they get paid to take those double teams...it's a NTs number one priority to take on as many Olinemen as possible and hold that line so the LBs can do their thing. This is how a NT "dominates" and Solai does a good job of it.

You will not typically see a NT with really awesome and glaring stats. They don't get a ton of tackles or sacks, because that's not their job. They may have games here and there where the opposing Oline just breaks down completely, but as a general rule, a great NT can't be measured by stats like that.

IMO, he's going to want 3-4 NT type of money, which is much more than 4-3 DT money....which would be the most prohibitive thing in my estimation. I'm sure he would do just fine as a 4-3 DT....he would just be the highest paid one out there.

So I've seen the cost of a Flynn in recent posts. What would it cost to get us an RGIII?

How many draft pics and what rounds?

soliai is gone, no reason to even talk about him. williams would be hugeeeeeeeeeee for us

Free agency is risky, especially with all the money and subsequent lack of motivation by some players.

I like Finley, but I believe the Packers will keep him one way or another. Green Bay would be quite foolish to let him go for nothing.

Having to sign free agents for team needs shows the importance of getting the draft right. A team pays in terms of money and team depth when forced to the free agent market for premium talent.

If a team can stockpile talent through mulitiple drafts, then they can often trade players before their contract is up for additional draft picks (see New England for many examples of this).

I'm not saying the following to bash Ireland, but I suspect the Dolphins will be looking very closely at ex-Cowboy talent. Lol.

..Ireland has a huge job of juggling this roster to find players that will fit into our cap strucuture. Also remember..We need to do something with Wakes contract this year..I know the Phins would love to get a cheap year out of him..I'm not sure it is worth risking. Considering Jake Long will be at the end of his contract after this season, both players will not be able to be franchised. So what do you do? Jake Long is the best player on this team..We can't afford to restructure his contract this year..It is a mess, or problem that will really show just how smart Ireland is.

Some guys that I could see getting cut, or traded.

Yerimiah Bell..His contract is around 4 mil this year..Maybe time for him to go.

Fasano..just over 3 mil...For what?

Tony McDaniel..This one is tough because I like TM..If we move to the 4-3 we need depth, but his cap space may be more important then his contributions onb the field.

And call me crazy...I know it sounds insane, and probably takes away from any credibilty from this post...Trade Cameron Wake.

I know that we are in dire need of pass rushers. Trading him seems like running uphill on sand. This is only in the scenario where the Phins think he may hold out for money they cannot afford..Think about it. He is going to be a free agent next year. We will probably franchise Long..Can we afford the price of Wake? I know this seems crazy..And I doubt it will happen..It may be Wake is a the one piece that we could use in a big trade to make a splash..

RGIII is likely going to cost you:

2012 #1 Pick
2012 #2 Pick
2012 #4 Pick
2013 #1 Pick
2013 #3 Pick

(Or something similar)


These are all "if available" scenarios. You're right, there's chance Brees and Williams could be franchised if thier teams cant reach contract terms with them.

However, the Texans defense finish ranked #1 or very close to with Mario Williams on IR for the final 11 games. So this may persuade them there's "little risk" in allowing him to walk if contract agreement cant be reached.

Would you franchise your best defensive player if your defense finished ranked #1 in the nfl without him. The things that makes you hmm...?

IrelandSucks, you still think Ireland sucks?? We could of never guessed...LOL!!!!

they already said they wont franchise mario. said the d was unreal without him and can use money elsewhere

No way Miami can pass on a HEALTHY Manning. That would be like Drew Brees all over again. Everyone knows Manning is 35 but Flynn looks like he could be the 2nd coming of Matt Cassel. With their 1st round pick they really need to stick with the "best player available" formula unless they have a Pro Bowler at that position already. I'd be happy to see them draft a pass rusher with the top pick. I just can't see them spending another 1st rounder on the O-line though. They already have three 1st round draft picks on their line and it's average at best. I love Jake Long but he can't seem to make it through a whole season. A game-breaking WR or TE would be a smart pick on the first round too. Miami has already passed-up Gronkowski, Hernandez, Jimmy Graham...enough already!! I also can't see paying big money to a FA WR unless they have explosive speed and really good hands. Why would you sign Colston when we already have Marshall?? Just sayin...

Darryl Dunphy -- Miami easily can create cap room by signing some guys to long term deals. I wouldn't be too concerned about the salary cap. Miami hasn't been spending to the limit or been renegotiating deals to free up any room yet (besides making Carrey take a paycut last year). The real question is does Stephen Ross want to spend the cash? Because last year he didn't...

manning isnt healthy and wont be ever again!! wake up, his career is over

IrelandSucks -- GULP -- OUCH

How about

We swap 1sts 2012
a 1st 2013
a 4th 2013
and We give you Hartline and Bess?

Do you think the Rams would take it?

Is it too much, too little?

ross will spend the cash, better be on the right guys though


No one wants Hatline or Bess in a trade. Bess maybe but the Rams have a similar player in Amendola.

If the team does end up bringing Manning then they will get an extra, proven lineman to help protect him.

The best thing about the Philbin hire is that he has the best possible inside scoop about Flynn. After watching his game highlights, including the ones at LSU, the common denominator is a weak arm; huge numbers games (without consistency) could be deceiving, Henne has had plenty of those. Besides tying ourselves to an unproven QB who will cost us a pick a high as a 1st rounder and a ton of cash is way too much of a risk.

I stil think we have a decent core but w/o a QB we are toast. If the front office is patient and allows the Dan Snyders of the world to sign either Flynn or Manning the cost to land RG3 via trading up will not be as high picks-wise. The truth is with RG3 we will not go to the playoffs next year but we will grow exponentially more as a team with a true north. RG3's talents are like taylor made for Philbin's WCO, he is a blend of Steve Young, Vick and Rodgers, and his leadership and intangibles are Tebow-like if not better.

As far as the rest of FA, I'd love for the team to invest in a young guy like DeSean Jackson (already playing in a WCO) to play opposite of Marshall, that would be some serious firepower. The other notable names are Greg Olsen at TE (28) and Michael Griffin (FS) who at 28 is the hitter we need in the secondary, his acquisition would help Smith and Davis tremendously.

By the way, is there any doubt Mario Williams isn't franchised? Not sure why we are even discussing same. Same with Drew Brees. No way these guys become free agents...
Posted by: IrelandSucks | January 25, 2012 at 02:20 PM


IrelandSucks - this was my first thought as well when this blog got started. I've looked into a couple of articles from Houston, and they pretty much say it's going to be very difficult to franchise tag him due to the cap hit they would have to take.....in the range of $25M for 2012. One Houston aritcle I was looking at said basically that Williams was out after week 5 and the Texans new 3-4 scheme missed narry a beat without him enroute to becoming one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL this year.

Just given what little I've read, they very well may let him walk instead of tying up that kind of cap space. Then again, they do love that guy....and why shouldn't they.

None of you consider even half the details that go into evaluating a player. None of these comments reflect the judgement and analysis that scouts and coaches consider.

Irealand sucks...Who are we going to sign to long term deals?? Besides Long, nobody deserves a long term deal..These are killers. Smart teams do not sign non-super stars to long term deals. Plus who is young enough at this point to deserve a long term deal? I realize that the contracts are structured to pay said amounts over time.. That is the problem we are facing...Marshall-Dansby.The next 2 years these guys are going to make 17 million between the 2 per year..That is a lot of money.

I know you can cut guys...We will have to this year. But I don't think we have any players right now worth signing long term contacts with.

Andy NJ,

My best Bess guesstimation is he'll be out next no matter the prognosis. Can you imagine Bess as any kind of fit in the GB offense? Well, we just hired the GB oc as our hc.

Bess was pure and simnple a "Sparano favorite".

Darryl Dunphy,

Your post is actually pretty good. The Dolphins are going to need to think about trading a premium player instead of just letting such a player or players leave without trying to trade them. It's impossible to keep them all.

I don't sign Manning NO MATTER WHAT. Sorry, but it is too big of a risk and you are still going to be looking for a franchise QB in a year or two. The time is right to get one NOW.

I am shocked that Mario Williams won't be franchised, but if not, I definitely go hard after him IF he is healthy (or the doctors say he will return to 100%). This frees us up from having to take a pass rusher at #1.

I try to sign a big-time free-agent WR.

I let Coach Philbin decide if Flynn is a franchise QB. (He would know!) If yes, we do whatever we can to get him. If no, we fake interest to drive his $$$ up and hope either the Browns or Redskins take him. This would REDUCE the cost of moving up in the draft for RGIII.

If not going after Flynn, I attempt to trade up to take RGIII (If we are sold on him and aren't sold on any QBs going later in the draft have franchise potential). But I don't give up the farm to move up. I then take the stud TE with my first pick in the 2nd round.

After doing a little research I'd have to say signing Mario Williams would be a sound investment (assuming he's fully-healed from his pectoral tear) if Miami can afford it. At 26 he should have plenty of gas left in the tank and would make Wake even better. Someone even suggested signing Williams AND drafting Couples which sounds crazy at first but when you think about it it really isn't. The Giants are loaded on the DL and they're in the Super Bowl...again.

Ex Coach.. If we are missing something please elaborate.. I'm all for learning something.. Drop some knowledge on us..If you can give us a better understanding of the way real NFL minds work..Please the floor is yours.

1) Sign Nicks.
2) Get RG3. Even if two 1sts and a 2nd are needed we've got to get him. Though he might slip since he miraculously shrunk 3 inches. This will probably be, by far, the most fiscally responsible decision in regards to a franchise QB.
3)Resign Langford.
4)extend Jake Long's deal.
5)extend Sean Smiths deal.
6)Search for trading partners to potentially do some business with(Sean Smith, if not resigned, Matt Moore(Midseason))
6)search for TE,RT,OLB/DE,3rd QB,NT,S,G in draft and FA. We gotta have faith Ireland will do something.We just have to find the guys they're out there. Out in FA and the draft lay all the pieces we need for our Super Bowl team, we just need to find them.
I would love to resign Solia but not for what it will cost, if we can get a bit of a discount I may think about it, but I don't think that "bit" would be enough.

Irealand sucks...Who are we going to sign to long term deals??

Posted by: Darryl Dunphy

Usually the guys you try to sign to long-term deals are the guys you have drafted the last 4-5 years who are entering free agency soon. As "good" of a job as Ireland claims (and his supporters claim) he has done in the draft, which one of these guys do you want to extend? And I have the same reaction you do Darryl.. after Jake Long, there isn't much! And that is why these drafts the last 4-5 years have been a failure for the most part. There are a lot of "decent" picks, but do we really care if these guys leave? Most of them aren't studs or worth extending. Which means if you let these guys leave, you are right back in the same position of trying to draft guys to take their place.

The draft the last 4-5 years hasn't been good by any means. Sure Miami has some "decent" talent, but very little "great" talent. And you can't afford to pay "decent" talent big bucks.

Good Core Players = .500 win team

We need more "dominating" and "explosive" players to reach a dominating level as a "TEAM". We're not going to get there by adding "ACORNS".

Miami's big free agent moves!

WR - Michael Spurlock (Tampa Bay slow KR)

TE - Martellus Bennett (Dallas connection)

DE - Juqua Parker (Eagles cheap veteran)

CB - Eric Wright (Lions)

RGIII is likely going to cost you:
2012 #1 Pick
2012 #2 Pick
2012 #4 Pick
2013 #1 Pick
2013 #3 Pick
(Or something similar)
Posted by: IrelandSucks | January 25, 2012 at 02:27 PM


This is pretty right on the money from what I've been hearing....and that for a Redskins (@ 6) move to #2. Probably have to throw something else out there to move up from 8 or 9.

I've also been hearing a lot of chatter about the Browns giving up both of their 1st round picks this year to move up from #4. This chatter seems to be the most favorable to the Rams in that not only do they get 2 first rounders this year, but would only have to move back to #4 and would likely still be able to take Blackmon.

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