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Jake Long done for the year: What now?

Jake Long's left triceps injury suffered Sunday against the New England Patriots means he's done for the 2012 season. The Dolphins placed Long on the injured reserve list today, effectively ending his season.

The Dolphins have signed offensive tackle Patrick Brown and safety Tyrone Culver, on the team the past three seasons, was also re-signed. Defensive back Andreson Russell was also cut.

And the moves as they pertain to Long create all sorts of questions for the Dolphins.

In the short-term the Dolphins must figure out how to replace Long and how to replace the man who is replacing Long. Rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin moved from his starting right tackle to left tackle on Sunday and played well enough.

"I was making mistakes I hadn't made since high school, but that can be cleaned up," Martin said.

Indeed, filling the void at left tackle might not be a huge deal. Martin played left tackle at Stanford and was a solid LT prospect when he was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round. But the move creates something of a hole at right tackle.

The Dolphins on Sunday used Nate Garner to fill in at right tackle. But the team might also consider moving John Jerry to right tackle -- a position he played last year -- and filling in at right guard with Garner or someone else. (The latter is a less likely possibility because all the shuffling would put new starters at three positions rather than just two).

The interesting thing about this is it comes in a week the Dolphins face one of the top defensive fronts in the NFL so anything Miami does to fill the void left by Long's injury will be severely tested this weekend by the San Francisco 49ers.

Those are the short-term issues. The long-term issues are more problematic. And intriguing.

Long, you see, is unsigned after this season. So the Dolphins must decide what to do about a formerly elite left tackle who is not playing at that high level anymore and, indeed, seems to be steadily but surely breaking down as the years pass.

Do the Dolphins re-sign him to a long-term deal?

Do the Dolphins place the franchise tag on him for one year?

Do the allow Jake Long to simply walk away in free agency?

A highly-placed team source texted me Monday and said "all options available" and on the table to the team. There has been no decision to sign or not sign, franchise or not franchise Long at this moment. All options are open and the Dolphins will consider all of them. None have been eliminated at this point.

So let's go through them.

The franchise option: It would cost over $15 million to put the tag on Jake Long. He is obviously not worth it, not at his current level of play and recent injury history.

So why is this an option?

Franchising Long keeps him in Miami for at least one year. It basically rents him rather than buys him or allows him to leave. That means the Dolphins, a team that already has numerous holes on the roster, do not have to worry about filling another hole -- be it at left tackle or right tackle if Martin is moved to left tackle.

Also, Miami can afford it. If the Dolphins do not franchise Long and carry over their unused salary cap room, they will have over $40 million in cap space for 2013. That is a ton of cap room even for a team with 19 unsigned free agents. The projected cap figure is according to former NFL agent and National Football Post cap expert Joel Corry. Follow Joel on twitter (@corryjoel).

If the Dolphins franchise Long, they would have $25 million in salary cap space for 2013. That also is a lot of space.

Now, you might think of the $40 million number as Christmas because you envision signing Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings and then re-signing Brian Hartline and doing three or four other things. Stop. You know the Dolphins are not going to go nuts in free agency. They will add players. They're not adding a high-priced All-Star team. The philosophy Joe Philbin abides by is improving through the draft. General Manager Jeff Ireland would have to run directly counter to that to sign the All-Star team. And I'm not even sure Ireland believes in building a team through free agency.

The point is franchising Long -- regardless of what you think of the idea -- remains a possibility the Dolphins will weigh.

How about re-signing him to a long-term deal?

Well, Long is 27 years old. And he is established here in South Florida. He is a leader in the locker room. He's still a solid player even though he is no longer elite. He has value. He isn't a piece of scrap.

So it might be wise to offer him a bargain long-term deal. That is defined as something in the $6 million a year range. Yes, that would mean Long would have to take a nearly 50 percent pay cut. But it would also give him security for the next several years while also giving the Dolphins comfort about having Long for a while longer despite his recent injury history.

What seems totally out of the realm of possibility is the Dolphins signing Long to a record long-term deal. They did that once already when he was drafted No. 1 and immediately became the NFL's highest paid offensive lineman ever. And, as you see, Long is crawling to the end of that contract barely healthy.

Miami will not commit that mistake with a player showing signs of decline. (If they do, someone needs to be fired).

Long would certainly like this option. But the Dolphins would look foolish doing this if Long continues his decline and cannot even make it to the end of the deal. The Dolphins made this mistake with Vernon Carey and it didn't work out well.

The Dolphins could also let Long walk. There is precedence for letting the former No. 1 overall pick simply walk away once his rookie deal expires. The Houston Texans did exactly that in 2012. They survived quite well.

But the Dolphins don't have Houston's depth. The fact is letting Long walk creates a need in the draft or free agency. We shall see in the coming four weeks where that hole would be. If Martin plays well in that span, then the void won't be at left tackle.

Indeed, if Martin plays well, I'd say the chances of Long being back next season would be very small because it's much easier finding a right tackle than a left tackle. In many way, Martin has Long's future in his hands.

But what if Martin flubs? What if he shows he's probably not ready or suited to be an NFL left tackle? 

Do you still let Long go? Do you have faith, trust in confidence in your personnel department to the point you believe you can find a new left tackle in the draft or free agency? Decent LTs are not easy to find. So you're going to let one walk?

The next few weeks will give us clues. As for Sunday, that Long injury that ended his season accomplihed only one thing:

As a Dolphins source told me, "it didn't help" matters at all."

Comments

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I have gone way ahead of you, YG, on Internet writing and how to put my point across in It. Now, you must acknowledge this fact.

Sigh,

Once last season ended, no one was going to give us anything for Long. Whomever wanted him most, only need wait for free agency.

Best time to trade long would have been the beginning of 2011 at the latest. No way were prepared to do this at that time. But had we extended him last year, diffrent story.

Then we run risk the extension dollars would have been to great top move him considering his play dipped even further this year.

Yes? I can't hear you.

YG @8:37pm,

I agree with your point. I think it has to be handled properly. Long's first contract was for $61 million. How much money does a player need to make in his career? My hope is that Long wants to finish his career in Miami and realizes he's been treated well. The best situation for Miami would be that he realizes he's not the guy he's been and that he sign a discounted contract for let's say $5-6 million a year on a short 2-3 year deal. It would be a fair deal for both sides and allow us to spend our draft picks on other things, other than tackles.

Yes?

Craig M:

If Long would be willing to take 'only' 5-6 million per year for a two or three year deal, then that might make sense. Of course, it's all dependent on his health and the performance issues that have affected Long's declining play the past two seasons; we can presume it is injuries, but it may be something else.

Sigh,

Let's see what happens. What I get pissed off with is this idiots who wants to get rid of Jake Long on Dec. 1st of THIS year. It's for one reason and one reason only....they're pissed off that the team didn't draft Matt Ryan. That's not what this is about. It's about giving an asset away for NOTHING. Same guys who complain about no playmakers. Wonder why we never draft playmakers..because we're forever plugging holes.

Craig M,

Yes, it would be way too early to make any decision to get rid of or keep Long on Dec 1st of THIS year. Lol.

Martin could play great or play awful. Long might want to retire or move to RT. There are a lot of possibilities.

NJ you said Ireland is a super scout....WTF yu must be stupid, thanks for stopping by idiot

ALOCO my mentally damaged friend, how are ya?
Remember me??

Hey Craig M, you know aloco is always "plugging holes"

Very good opinions from bloggers today. Interesting points of view. The thing that I don't believe was mentioned is that even if Miami re-signs Long they are still going to have to either draft or sign another tackle because Long won't make it through a 16 game schedule. So if they sign him for 6-8 mil. add another 2-4mil. for the OL they sign as insurance.

Richmond Webb was a 9th pick and was a Phin for 11 seasons. So far, better than Long.

Phin fans will have an early start this Christmas season as usual to speculate and argue who to pick in next draft.

Trade Jake Long for Matty "Ice" Ryan.

Mando, no info on compensatory picks if Long walks? Maybe in an update?

Trade TanneBust for a ham sandwhich.

Trade da Beast for Eggnew

Does Ross ever have flashbacks about Parcells picking Long over Ryan?

If he does, it's been going on for four years. Time to shoot yourself, sell the team or fire somebody.

Trade 3 picks for D (2 yd) Thomas

where is Clyde Gates and Philip Merling?

Lamar Miller is inactive?

Odick is benched?

the
CELLAR/..........

THE
CELLAR..............

THE CELLAR..............

LONG IS GONE.................THANK GOD..........IHOPE BESS AND FASANO WILL LEAVE ALSO WITH DIGNITY.....

PEOPLE ,I LOVE TO SEE DISAPPEAR ,,,,,,,,,,,,,\


BESS
FASANO
OUR GARAGE MANAGER
LONG
YG
KRIS,THE 11-5 GUY......

Mando, no info on compensatory picks if Long walks?


Posted by: Bobby B | December 04, 2012 at 10:07 PM

yeah Ireland can pick his nose. Or can he? LOL


I THINK THE FOOTBALL FANS ARE THE WORST ,THEY R ALL FAT BASTARDS ,THEY ONLY CRAPPY FOOD.THEY ONLY DRINK THE WORST BEER , MILLER LIGHT...........

respect? handled properly? that was paid in lean mean $$$

by drafting long #1 overall he made far far more than had he dropped a few spots. if anything long owes the team because they didn't pick him to be elite for only 3 years.
respect? it's time for long to show appreciation.

Considering Long has made more in the first 4 years of his careers than most elite Left Tackles ever make on they're rookie contracts, I think Jake should take a 3-5 year deal paying 6ish mil a year. Or just take a 1 year, 7 mil deal. Rehab, show you can still play at a high level and make the Dolphins pay you in 14'. The reality is sadly that Long is finished as an elite LT.

And to the person who was asking about a comp pick, KC says it'll get a 3rd when Bowe walks so one would think Miami will at least get that.

Long is a really Dying Breed(60 million dollars rookie).

Mourn for those, Mourn.

Long is still young. They need to keep him even if it takes franchise tag next year. He could bounce back n letting him go could be the worst move w Tannehill's development

Long never helped us get W's. Its all about the QB in todays NFL. Linemen are not difference makers.

I,(along with Tannehill, I'm sure) was getting tired of all the shots being taken by our QBs from the blind side.

Well, it's a closed matter.Long won't play again this Season.

wouldnt franchise him--hopefully he'll sign a 6-8 mill/yr deal or we let him walk--pick up a solid FA vet for RT and move Martin to LT

for anybody still wringing their hands over Ryan vs Long......we passed on Brady 5 times in that draft--get over it.

actually, we probably passed on Montana 2-3 times too, didnt we?

Now might be a good time to swap Moore for Sanchez, that would give us two first round qb's.

Philbin made a big mistake playing Long in the preseason and it came back to haunt him.

wow, great job faking BPA.....awesome......so creative--eat me

so if Ireland was, what, like 4 years old when we passed on Montana, can we still blame him?

If only we had a R edge rusher as good as Wake, we could put many of our opponents QBs out of action.

I dont recall Henne ever being as bad as Tannehill.

We should've passed on Tannehill....

Tanne is not a bust. He only has 2 receivers with horrible play calling. Sherman's offense has no identity. Then ignorant people complain cause he missed Hartline twice. Well Brady missed on 3 wide open TD's. So if both qb's completed there misses, we still would have lost.

Tannehill has to develop a lot just to be an average back up. I actually think he is the 3rd best QB on the squad.

I see that Odinstank left the blog after I torched him last night.
Anywhooo, Fins loose to San ran 31 to 6.

Odinstank, All I've posted are all your storys, And thats all they are right?
Truth be told your just a 70 year old direlect that has'nt held a job for over 20 years.
Your on welfare,food-stamps and have no life except this pathitic blog.
Wel thats all i wanted to say, ILL leave you and your worshipers(Douchi,Fin4ife) And the rest of your cronies.
Iam outta here, Have a pleasent night eating your crackers and drinking your liver to death.
Posted by: Odins Blotted Liver. | December 03, 2012 at 07:48 PM

Last time we heard from Odinstank..
Lets all be hopeful that Odin reed this and ended his worthless drug infested life.

Ive supported the Long pick since he was drafted #1 overall in 2008 and i think the overall body of work has justified the selection. Ive heard all the arguements that Matt Ryan was there for the fins to take. What people are forgetting is the weapons Ryan has around him. Would matt Ryan be doing in Miami what hes doing in Atlanta. I dont see a roddy white, or Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez or Michael Turner on the Fins. My guess is Ryan would be no better than say a Fitzpatrick or Sanchez. Long has anchored the line since he was a rookie but now its time to cut ties. Recent injuries and decline in his play no longer make him a top 5 elite tackle. If he wants to return at a bargin price im all for it, but the money saved can sign 2-3 impact players at other positions

Your on welfare,food-stamps and have no life except this pathitic blog.
Wel thats all i wanted to say, ILL leave you and your worshipers(Douchi,Fin4ife) And the rest of your cronies.
Iam outta here, Have a pleasent night eating your crackers and drinking your liver to death.
Posted by: Odins Blotted Liver. | December 03, 2012 at 07:48 PM

Really the post of the year ! Odins Blotted Liver has delivered one of the all timers on this pathetic loser. I bet Doushi and fooked4life are his imaginary friends. You can see the similarities in the shyt they write and all seem to be around at the same time with there kumbaya gayfest. This is a master piece of an expose into the old drunk bed wetter and his imaginary beautiful mind friends.

Whatever they decide to do with Long is OK, as long as Ireland losses his offensivelineITIS in the early rounds of the draft.I dont think he has learned his lesson on the positions that should be drafted regularly in the early rounds, and the resultant effect on team salary structure if the condition persisted.

Send the b$%ch packing. Don't need him. He doesn't win championships. Martin will be fine. Pick up a rt in fa. The problem is at qb. That's where it all starts.

We are the Baby Boomers. We were born of Happiness and the Atomic Age. We are the Peacekeepers. When the last one of Us dies, there will be another Great War.

Armondo,

Waiting to see how Jonathan Martin works out at LT is the best option. If he works out getting him stronger in the off season applies. Then based on what Long wants to do will determine weather he remains a Dolphin. I just do not see Long taking less money if he is healthy enough to play LT. However it could happen if he believes in Philbin and loves the South Florda area. Reggie Wayne stayed with the Colts and that has worked out for him. Playmakers at the receiver positons and in the secondary should be the main priority especially if Martin looks ok at LT. Please if you post on this site; no more delusional stuff about Bess and Hartline and their level of play. Tannehill was not on target often against the Patriots. However he held the ball often due to not finding a receiver that had separation.

We are Exceptional. We do not like to be told what to do and rather tell You. Don't mess with Us.

Long has been injury proned since the beginning. To franchise him would be a mistake. I dont think there will be any takers because of his injury history and decline in skills. And even if their are takers i dont believe 6m is even close to what anyone would offer. I see a 3 or 4m deal. Or let him walk. I really hate it but the lack of production with the injuries its a huge gamble even at the 3 to 4m level

Long was the safer pick, coming off a 1-15 season--front office couldnt blow it--no one couldve predicted that Long would have injury troubles

great blog post Mando, thanks. what a mistake taking a lineman with a #1 pick.

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