Today is February 13th. One month from now, on March 13th, the NFL's second season begins when free agency kicks off in earnest.
Offseason? What freakin' offseason!?
This is the NFL and it's a wonderful ever-expanding snowball rolling downhill in soon-to-be avalanche proportions. There is no stopping it!
And so with one month separating the Dolphins from the first day of free agency, I want to discuss ... what else ... free agency.
First let's begin with Miami's free agents:
The unofficial list of Miami unrestricted free agents: Vernon Carey, Marc Colombo, Ike Alama-Francis, Chad Henne, Kendall Langford, JP Losman, Phillip Merling, Marvin Mitchell, Steve Slaton, Paul Soliai, Will Allen.
[CORRECTION: The Dolphins tell me Merling is actually a restricted free agent based on the fact he did not play enough games in 2010 when he was on the non-football injury list for it to count as a credited season. So he has three years of experience, thus he is restricted.]
The unofficial list of Miami restricted free agents: Lex Hilliard, Lydon Murtha, Ryan Baker.
Am I concerned about either list? I suppose the short answer is no.
There is only one Pro Bowl player on the list and that's Paul Soliai, who earned a trip to the game this past season as a substitute for another player. I have serious doubts Soliai will be coming back to the Dolphins based on the fact his agent David Canter is very aggressive and Soliai doesn't intend to give the Dolphins any sort of hometown discount.
Kendall Langford is a also a nice player although I believe the Dolphins should not overpay for a player who basically has more of a reputation for not making mistakes rather than, you know, making plays.
Phillip Merling? So much potential. So gifted. But it simply doesn't seem to come together for him for whatever reason -- be it immaturity or lack of professionalism.
Everyone else on the unrestricted list is likely done with the Dolphins. Vernon Carey, 32 in July, might be able to stay in Miami as a minimum salary guy but that is frankly the high end of his value. His days of getting a big contract ended after he got his big deal after the 2008 season and then he delivered two inconsistent years in 2009 and '10 in which his play rose and dipped like a nervous stock market. Any team that is willing to go that route again will likely suffer the same result.
Bottom line on Carey is he's a good player when he's hungry and the only way to keep him hungry is to keep him on a one-year contract.
I assume with Tony Sparano gone, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line connection to Marc Colombo will also disappear. Sparano believed in Colombo to the point when the media openly questioned the acquisition of the past-his-prime stop-gap Colombo last summer, Sparano came to his defense and offered, "I watched the tape," on Colombo as proof certain Colombo would be good.
And Colombo was good if one eliminates pass-blocking from his list of responsibilities. He yielded nine sacks in 2011 by my unofficial count. He gave up about twice as many pressures. The man was simply overmatched at times out there because he simply hasn't the quickness to get in front of people. Run blocking was his forte and he did it with enthusiasm and proficiency most of the time. Unfortunately, the NFL is a passing league now. And so pass-blocking is at a premium.
And so, if the Dolphins even attempt to re-sign this guy, it'll be a joke and a statement that upgrade is not what this offseason is about. But I believe that is exactly what this offseason is about so I'm not worried about Colombo being part of the mix again.
I am going to miss Colombo serenading the media in the locker room as he did once this season. Yup, a group of media people were apparently standing too close to his locker for his comfort once during the season while they were waiting for another player to interview.
Colombo, who dislikes the media, went to his locker and began singing, "(bleep) you mother(bleepers), (bleep) you all .... mother(bleepers) ... (bleep) you ..."
He used a word more colorful than "bleep."
It was a shining moment of NFL professionalism.
Chad Henne remains on the lips of many Dolphins fans and general manager Jeff Ireland continues to include Henne every time he discusses Miami's quarterback situation. But who are we kidding?
Henne is better off elsewhere. And Henne will be elsewhere if the Dolphins do what they have to do and address the QB situation this offseason.
Simply, there is no room for a former starter in his mid-20s on the team. The club is looking for a starter and if that man is found, Matt Moore will be the experienced backup -- not Henne. A fourth QB, you say?
That fourth player should be a developmental quarterback that might ascend to something rather than have to recover from a poor (31 TDs, 37 INTs) record as a starter, which is what Henne has to do.
I wouldn't be surprised seeing Henne in Washington or Detroit or Indianapolis.
Tomorrow: Free agents Dolphins should be interested in.