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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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If they drafted Ryan it would have been a rough outing. Would of had a shaky line and no big WR threats. Could have been a David Carr scenario.

Also Ryan plays well in Atlanta's dome. That seems to be about it. With the offensive weapons on that team they should put up 35 pts a game or close to it.
Long, imo, was the right pick for the Dolphins at the time. If Martin plays well then Long is expendable. The paycut option may be possible. I don't think Long is hurting for cash by any means.

Joke of the Day:

Mark Sanchez remains NYJ starter...

Jake Long has been one of my favorite Fins players since his first season,so I really hate to see him on IR again.But,lets be honest,Long was getting pushed around a lot this year even before this latest injury.

I'd be fine with a more reasonable offer for Long. If we can open up some of that CAP space, that would at least give the team the option to add 1 or 2 pieces through the Draft.

By the way, I know Dashi hates Dansby, but I agree 100% with him. It's beyond IDIOTIC at the END OF THE GAME to take out your best pass rusher, ESPECIALLY after you're watching your defense get pounded into submission.

This is one of those cases where the Coaches refuse to say they were wrong. And it goes right with the stupid Philbin comment about having the right guys. I know he can't come right out and say, "I don't have all the talent I need," but then he should have said, "if these guys aren't winning then that's on the Coaches, because they have all the talent needed." But of COURSE Philbin isn't going to blame himself (or the Coaching staff). So it's just a weasely way to deflect any blame on anyone and demeaning the fan base. Everyone has eyes. You could easily say, "it's year 1, it will take a couple years to assemble the team I'm envisioning." That's not hurting anyone's feelings or saying anything that's politically incorrect. The problem is these are NFL Coaches, and they have absolutely zero understanding of PR and communication other than their limited sports knowledge.

Joe, Mike, Kevin, you're on a very short leash with the Miami fan base. We want a winner, and we're not waiting another decade for one. Think about that before addressing us with your ineptitude.

I meant to say "through free agency" above. The Draft won't cost us much with the new CBA agreement.

a QB makes more sense from a long term durability perspective with the first overall pick of an NFL draft. Assuming he's not a bust, you would hope that that player would be a contibutor to the team for around 10 years, not 4.

huge draft for this franchise, u cannot let ireland run it

Love Long, but he's a player in decline. I continue to wonder how different things would be in Miami if they chose Ryan over Long with that #1 pick.

I'm all for moving Martin to LT and finding the best available RT in the off season.

This season is cooked so why not try a few different options?

As for Tannehill...his lack of accuracy is a major concern and I'm not sure it can be fixed or coached...history shows that QB's with bad accuracy problems never seem to correct it over time.

Jake Long was a wasted pick. Thanks again Ireland.

If we had taken Matt Ryan we'd be perennially in SB contention. Dont forget Ireland has wasted 3 high draft choices on QB's thatcould have been used elsewhere. And we still dont have anything near a Matt Ryan. Plus Brandon Marshall would have been thrilled to be a Dolphin with Ryan at QB.

I guess all options are on the table and only time will tell which avenue is the right one but I know one thing that doesn't make me feel good about the future of this team and that is letting Jake go and then subsequently drafting Taylor Lewan or Luke Joeckel come April. To me that doesn't improve the team ... only keeps the team treading water.

If they decide to let jake walk then they better be dam sure that the next left tackle is on the roster and at minimum can play as well as Jake did this year (not expecting Martin or whoever be the Jake Long of two years ago) and the next right tackle too or available in free agency with a reasonable contract.


I don't think tannehill's accuracy is all that bad. I mean, he's at what 58%. Not great but not bad given all the circumstances surrounding this team. And it's not like they are trying only short passes or something - he ranks right about middle of the NFL in yards per attempt (19th) with what was universally regarded as the worst WR corps in the NFL before the season started and is no longer viewed as horrible but jus tnot good enough. I think Tannehill is doing quite a bit with Bess and Hartline (career years for both). He just needs to do it more often. Odd for a rookie, no???

QBs with a lower completion % than Tannehill ...

Cam Newton,
Brandon Weeden
Jake Locker
Josh Freeman
Andrew Luck
Mark Sanchez
John Skelton

QBs with a lower YPA than Tannehill ...

20 Carson Palmer
21 Matthew Stafford
22 Philip Rivers
23 Jake Locker
24 Sam Bradford
25 Michael Vick
26 Ryan Fitzpatrick
27 Mark Sanchez
28 Brandon Weeden
29 Matt Cassel
30 Kevin Kolb
31 Matt Hasselbeck
32 Christian Ponder
33 Blaine Gabbert
John Skelton


Notice how most of those guys in both categories are 1st and 2nd year guys???

rg3 the man, kid is unreal . and most knew luck was amazing

Chad Henne has MORE TD's then Tannehill and he's ONLY

PLAYED IN 3 GAMES!! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Interesting that Luck has a lower completion % than Tannehill...but Luck does have a higher TD/INT ratio and most importantly WINS!

RG3 17 TD's 4 INT's

Anyone know a good radio station I can listen to online to listen to Dolphins radio?

I think we are playing for better draft position right now. We are just not making it look to obvious. Our D has played pretty darn good this season.

Our offense has been very vanilla and that is being very kind. Personally I think Daboll did a better job last year calling plays. But that goes back to he needed to win this group of coaches just needs to evaluate what they have so they can start the fix over the next two years.

We need a TE and probably two WR. I'm going to go off the deep end and predict Bess is not here next year. I think they will buy their guy in free agency and draft a guy high.

I would also spend some money on a power Running Back. Think Bush will be gone. And I really like Bush, but you dont bench a guy you like after a fumble. Probably move Miller into Bushes role and bring in a strong North and South Guy.

You then better find a stud LB probably high in the draft. I would try to find some coachable cornners and safeties in free agency. They say that is our D cordinators specialty polishing up rough dimonds.

So basically we just sit back and as fans we better understand this is evaluation and hope the losses just dont look that bad.

Here we go again. Another Dolphin Ground HOg Day. Go Dolphins, the D deserves better.

TanneBust is the #33 rated QB. YIKES!

rg3 was the answer many of us called for, but the redskins had the balls to go and get him

we knew luck and rg3 were worlds better than thill. but what makes me the most mad now is that wilson is so much better than him. wilson highest rated qb in nfl since week 5

bill, you should know by now that Ireland cant pick QB's

At least we don't have Weeden.

why should i zonk? this was the first qb he took

mark watch a browns game, weeden actually looks solid. might turn out ok further down the road when his body isnt as banged up as his age

Bill, RG3 was the guy I wanted more than any other too. But this idiot team staring at 0-7 and nothing to play for refused to look at the future. Instead we won meaningless games against franchises more garbage than us, and played ourselves right out of it. Should've did what Indy did, throw in the towel, put anyone with a minor injury on injured reserve, and put in our third stringer (Pat Devlin) the rest of the way.

Instead we played a journeyman qb good enough to beat the bad teams, played an injured jake Long (look where that has him now), and now we have to wait for two years at least to get an answer on a maybe Qb prospect when we could've had an easy answer.

yup mark and im sure we will do it again this year with a couple more stupid wins

Guys we suck. We've sucked for the last decade, why are we still fans?

armando, ain't they stoned on samuda?
plug him in at rg move pillsbury to rt and there.

clue, thin line between luv/hate.
lol

Armando, I have been saying EXACTLY what you just did for 2 weeks straight! Where have you been?

It is nice to see that common sense DOES exist on this blog!

Martin IS a natrual LT. He is out of position at RT. He just needs to add strength. Everyone knew & knocked him for his strength coming out. Many collegiate lineman need to add strength before they are truly able to man an OL position.

He will be fine at LT in the future. I also said it's much easier to find a RT than a LT.

If Long takes $6 mil, like you spitballed, sign him. That's a solid move. He can be a good RT. But, his time at LT is done. He's declined 3 years running & has had injury after injury.

The $15 mil franchise tag would be a catastrophic mistake. That 15 mil can solve alot of teams depth starter problems. If we didn't have a LT in the wings, Id say you may have to pay long but, you have Martin.

I say, do what Houston did & walk away from Mario Williams. He was in his prime coming off 1 injury. Long is coming off 3.

It only takes a little common sense to know when it's time to move on & understand that everyting you & I have written on Long / Martin is 100% accurate.

irecorn didn't get martin 2 play rt.
lol

With that said bill and Mark, let's go finsss vs San Fran!!!

1st David Amerson CB NC State
2nd Anthony Barr olb UCLA
2nd Cordarrelle Patterson WR Tenn
3rd Jonathon Franklin RB UCLA
3rd Zeke Motta S Notre Dame
4th Trey Millard FB Oklahoma
5th Joseph Fauria TE UCLA
6th Aaron Mellette WR Elon
7th Tanner Hawkinson OT Kansas

2watt,

If Ireland was thinking ahead & had the vision to draft Martin with the intent to potentially replace Long at LT, I will consider that to be a genius of a move!

Most had Martin as a 1st round pick. I think when he fell & Miami had a need at RT, he made sense. Then the thought process could have moved to a potential FA showdown with long at LT.

Either way, I will be the FIRST to say it was a genius move if it plays out that way.

Apparently the New Orleans Hornets will now be known as the New Orleans pelicans in 2013, hahaa

beerphin, Amerson isn't projected as a 1st pick from most of what I seen but as a 2nd, sure. Zaccaro in the first, Dion Jordan with amerson and patterson in the 2nd, now we're cooking with gas.

13.5 interceptions last year says he is a first rider in my book. Top 20 in my opinion

He is as good as Stephen Gilmore imo

Now that Barr is decided on going pro its hard to pass up getting a sack specialist 4-3 olb 13.5 sacks to lead nation 6'4 runs 4.5 forty. raw talent

ALL OF YOU ARE USELESS!

Does anyone know a radio station online I can listen to to get updates on dolphins football?

Wqam.com

Outsider, use Google much? There's the one station that had mando and the amigo on the morning. They have a lot of Dolphins stuff, forget the name. Can't listen at work anymore.

This is the 3rd QB Irescum has drafted. All busts.

Yeah Mark the only options are Dan Patrick 940, and Colin cowherd 790; neither are dolphins

So basically here is the sum total of Jake Long's contribution to the team this year for his $12M:

* Got our rookie QB nailed in the back of the knees, small of back, and head dozens of times.


That's it. Nothing else.

Mando, the word is precedent. Not precedence.

Give Long $500,000 for one year and he can be Martin's backup or 3rd string.

They drafted Martin because Ross is too cheap to continue to pay Long even when healthy. If and when Martin deserves a raise they'll replace him too with a cheaper unknown. This franchise always dumps their best and highest priced players for cheap scrubs. A big part of the reason they stink.

Try 940 WINZ, the Sports Animal. I listen to them on occassion on iheartradio

640 is that axxhole from ny all he does is talk f'ing new york chit in the am. ok after he splits.

Cut the following gangstas IMMEDIATELY:

Smith
Dansby


Now.

'Send the b8tch packing'....from a SUPPOSED Dolphin fan, about Jake Long.

What a sad and pathetic fan base we have! They'd be chasing Troy Polamalu out of town too if he played for the Dolphins. Embarassed to have any association to any of these clowns.

Mike Sherman was sacked as head coach at Green Bay after his only losing season because the Packers felt Mike McCarthy could do better work with a west coast style offense. McCarthy is also given credit for rejuvenating Brett Farve's career and the development of QB Aaron Rodgers.

McCarthy called plays in the Packers offense during games because he felt himself better than Joe Philbin, whom many regarded as bland. Philbin learned his "build through the draft" philosophy under Ted Thompson, Green Bay's superb GM, who shuns free agents except as role players. Philbin was a career assistant -never a head coach. Offensive line was his specialty before being promoted to OC with the Packers.

Neither Sherman nor Philbin have experience at developing QB's and neither are especially well regarded for play calling nor for their ability to run a west coast offense.

Seems like posters here have decided new players are the remedy; don't get those hopes up too high for next year.

Hell No! Joe must go!!!

Send a 3rd round pick for Charlie Batch at least he'll be better than Tannesucks

thill far from being a bust

Embarassed to have any association to any of these clowns.


Posted by: Craig M | December 05, 2012 at 11:27 AM


Agree,Ross AND Ireland have to go! The Miami circus has run for way too long.

Would you offer Tannehill for Tebow? The guy is a winner and would sell some tickets.

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