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Failing on in-season extensions sometimes a win, sometimes a loss

The Dolphins are on the clock between now and mid March when free agency kicks off because they have between 15-17 players that are unrestricted free agents that they can sign before the free agency market opens.

And I'm told the club hopes to get some deals done before the deadline, which is wise.

Of course, the club tried to get some deals done during the season and didn't exactly succeed there. As you read here last week, the only in-season contract the Dolphins signed in 2012 was locking up special teams and backup Jason Trusnik to a two-year extension.

I was told by one club official that in-season extensions are overrated. I was told the club is convinced players do not become more expensive.

Well sometimes that is true. And sometimes that is false.

Before the 2010 season, Paul Soliai asked his agent if he (the agent) thought he could get Soliai a $2 million-a-year contract. The agent, David Canter, said he'd try. Canter and the Dolphins danced around all season on a contract extension even as Soliai worked himself into the starting unit and then started playing well.

Miami's contract offers were consistently behind the curve of how their player was performing. And that hurt the team in the wallet because after the season the Dolphins ended up putting the franchise tag on Soliai to keep him from going into free agency. That cost Miami a $12 million cap hit.

And before the 2011 season Soliai ended up signing a deal that pays him $6 million per season. So, yes, a $2 million-a-year deal would have saved the team a ton of money and cap space over a three-season span -- $6 million over which Soliai would have initially been happy to get, compared to the $24 million he's actually costing. 

This season the results of Miami doing only one extension are mixed.

The club offered in-season extensions to Matt Moore, to Jake Long and to Brian Hartline. All were what agents would consider "low-ball" offers.

On Matt Moore, the team tried to lock him into a backup quarterback deal. Although no numbers were exchanged because the Dolphins were coy about that, the Moore camp decided it would be better off waiting until after the season because Moore is hoping to compete for a starting job somewhere.

So no deal resulted in this: Moore will hit free agency with the hope someone gives him a chance to compete for a starting job. The Dolphins could not offer that.

But Moore might have been convinced to sign a Miami extension if he'd gotten assuranes (incentives) that if he somehow took over the starting job -- through injury or other circumstance -- he'd be paid like a starting QB.

Didn't happen. So no deal.

I call the failure to do an extension here a push. It neither helped nor hurt the team.

The team also offered Long an extension well before he broke down (again) and finished the season on injured reserve. The offer, I'm told, was a handsome deal for most left tackles but for Long, who has been used to being the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, it looked like a step backward.

He didn't take it.

Well, Long didn't play all that well in 2012 when he was healthy. The guy is diminished, no doubt about it. He used to do conditioning drills to start the season with linebackers. He can't do that anymore. He doesn't move like that anymore.

And, of course, Long eventually ended up on injured reserve for the second consecutive year.

So now the Dolphins have a better body of evidence of what their player is, rather than what he was. Early in the year, the team could convince itself that Long was irreplaceable and valuable and that his recent injury history was happenstance.

But Long added another injury to that history, making it seem more like a trend, and when he went out, the Dolphins replaced him with relatively no problem. Rookie Jonathan Martin did not play at a Pro Bowl level taking over at left tackle. But neither did the offensive line fall apart without Long.

(By the way, Long wasn't playing at a Pro Bowl level before he got hurt).

And going forward, the club has a solid idea that Martin can get much better through offseason weight-training and conditioning, experience, and a full training camp at LT. So Long, who still wants to be paid like an elite left tackle is a luxury.

I call the failure to do an in-season extension with Long a blessing. He's not as good as he believes he is anymore. He's not worth the kind of contract he was holding out for, given that I don't see him getting better and more healthy as the injuries stack up. This one was a win that offers the team wiggle room to either retain Long at its price (unlikely) or let him walk to a team that needs a left tackle and is willing to pay handsomely for Long's reputation (more likely).

The team offered Hartline an extension early in the season. The receiver, through his agent Drew Rosenhaus, has been trying to get an extension since 2011. The Dolphins rebuffed those overtures and I understand why: Hartline was a complementary player and could seemingly be replaced cheaply in the draft.

But this year, given a greater opportunity, Hartline posted a breakout year. He was probably the most consistent and best weapon for the Miami offense. (Yes, Reggie Bush started well and finished strong but he was absent the middle part of the season).

Last year when Hartline wanted an extension, he could have cost the Dolphins between $2 million a year. Earlier this year, he could have been signed for $3 million a year.

The price is much higher than that now.

Hartline performed despite missing all of the offseason camps and training camp. He had a breakout year with a new offense and rookie quarterback. He's 26 years old and entering his prime. He's likely going to get better but certainly isn't going to decline.

The Dolphins cannot replace him easily in the draft anymore. Frankly, no rookie receiver is going to walk in and be able to play all three WR positions, show good hands, go for 1,000 yards and have a 14.6 yard per catch average. Just doesn't happen unless the rookie's a freak.

In this case, the failure to do an extension with Hartline will cost the team more money and cap space assuming Miami opts to re-sign him.

So three players. Three in-season contract extension offers. The Dolphins won big on not signing Long, lost big on not signing Hartline and pushed on Moore.

 

Comments

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So a couple of things Armando. I don't believe Hartline will get better. I believe this is his peak. Only caveat to that is more TDs, but I believe that will come as Tannehill grows and we have more weapons available. But I believe yeardage wise this will be about his peak. He could also suffer injuries. So there's that to worry about to.

The OL has SEVEN sacks against the Pats but you said the line didn't fall apart without Long? What would you call that? Garner played poorly and I noticed in a couple of games that Jerry and Pouncey didn't play that well. Line didn't play well against the Niners and I hardly call the games against the Bills and Jags a test. Both teams had given up....it was clear.

Question mark still on Martin.

Armando, in the case of Matt Moore, I think the fact that Philbin loves Devlin might be the reason why they decided to just let him go...In Philbin's mind, Devlin is ready to be an NFL backup...And if we're lucky maybe a starter...Although I have my doubts on that one...

If there is a way to screw it all up, Ireland WILL!!!

How do you know Philbin loves Devlin? Did you pull that out of thin air?

No Zor, I didn't. Did you watch Hard Knocks? Philbin believes in Devlin...Said it many times...I don't pull anything out of thin air, unlike a lot of other posters here...

(From the last blog),

'Kris, Ireland hasn't brought one single playmaker to Miami'.

FUNNY stuff. So guys like Hartline, Bush, Wake and Jones aren't considered 'play-makers'? I must be missing something. Weren't they either picked to go to the Pro Bowl or picked as alternates? How does that work?

On top of that there's potential in Miller and Tannehill.

When you're so busy fixing everybody else's problems, it's kind of hard to just pick 'playmakers'. Let's also remember he gave up TWO seconds for Marshall, a guy a lot of people call a playmaker.

But let's stick with your original premise, 'Ireland hasn't brought one playmaker to Miami since he's been here'. Funny stuff!


So if Philbin 'loves Devlin', why wasn't he dressed for most of the games? Why was Moore back-up all year? Why did Moore go in for Tannehill when he was hurt?

Honest to God, you can't make this 'shyte' up. Funny as Hell!.....

Since joining Miami, Ireland has used 14 draft choices on skill position players and doesnt have one playmaker to show from all 14 picks!

No doubt that the line simply didn't chug along without Long - even a "depleted" Long was better than martin at LT and Martin was better than Garner at RT. Don't know how anyone can say we will go merrily skipping along without Long.

However, that being said, it's unlikely Long comes back. If he insists on being the top paid LT in the NFL, that means a potential cap hit of $12M in 2013. it's not really the money as NFL teams make tonnes of money. But it's the cap hit. $12M would mean forgoing signing another credible player and that wouldn't be smart. I'd rather have two $6M players (Reggie Bush and Brian Hartline for example) than Jake Long right now and then find a credible RT in free agency.

By the way, Kris on AJ Smith. Only one reason I don't want the man - he was convinced he could win with Norv Turner. I don't want any GM who believes that.

Rex was right, he could've won a Super Bowl with SD's roster. Complete waste by stubbornly placing it in the hands of an incompetent like Norv.

According to Peter King, he expects Pioli not to be working for anybody this offseason. BIg offseason for Ireland to get this thing right.

Could be if the results aren't there, the haters of Jeff Ireland will get their wish next offseaso and either a guy like Pioli or AJ Smith will be there to take over as GM. I don't know what that would mean to Philbin, so let's hope things continue to head in the right direction.

In KC, just my gut feeling, but depending on their cap I expect they will be players for either Wallace or Jennings. I think Bowe has burned his bridges there and he won't be back. Just my gut.

Yeah, well, those things happen, to any Team.

Craig, you have a right to your opinion on Hartline. But how you see a player miss the entire offseason and training camp and play his first year in a new offense with a rookie quarterback and don't see room for improvement as he's about to hit his prime career years boggles my mind.

Craig M....

You can ONLY use QUOTES...if your quoting me...NOT if your gonna PARAPHASE in you're own words....

I am @ work...and this program doesn't allow me to CUT and PASTE from this site....

DC or #1....can you please cut and paste the post from the last blog over here...

Craig M....

You really shoudn't do that man....challenge me on what I posted...not on what you interpreted.....

What my post says in essence...isthat even the guys you mention can't hold a candle to that list I provided...

ALL of the guys ON THAT LIST WERE DRAFTED...not FA signings (BUSH)...AJ discovers Talent....

and If youthink 1 TD in a season HARTLINE is comparable to that list....then you really don't understand the definition of tru playmaking wide recievers....

Irescum has never in his life drafted a playmaker.

"In this case, the failure to do an extension with Hartline will cost the team more money and cap space assuming Miami opts to re-sign him."

Here's an example of a guy that you must pay. Even if we sign a Greg Jennings or a Mike Wallace, you need more depth @ WR than Davone Bess & Rishard Matthews behind him. Hartline is a very good player & he should be rewarded for the season he had. Plus you can't discount his toughness or the chemistry he has with Tannehill.

For good reason, fans are giddy about the cap space & the eleven draft picks we have BUT no one should lose sight that we have SEVEN starters who are FA's. That's crazy!!! And although I believe we need upgrades all over the roster you can't possibly expect to lose this many starters & actually be a better team next year. Not going to happen. So while Ireland has some tough decisions to make--he better not lose sight that he can't let all seven starters walk.

I'd definitely keep Hartline & sign Fasano & Clemons to reasonable deals. I'm still on the fence on Starks (he disappeared in the 2nd half of the season) but I believe that letting Long, Smith, & Bush walk are the correct decisions. Long is on the decline, Smith thinks he's much better than he is but he's still too inconsistent, & while Bush is a good & exciting player--he's 28 & he's not a workhorse back.

Philbin should be fired if he lets MVP Moore walk away.

Philbin does love Pat Devlin. It's a running joke among the players. But I doubt he loves him enough to make him the No. 2 and risk his own job in the process.

Craig M, don't try asking me anything because you don't exist for me, you're a complete tool as proven by my post the other day...You contradict yourself without realizing it, you don't know squat about football and you have a mental disorder...So as far as I'm concerned, again, you don't exist. Have you ever thought, you moron, that maybe, just maybe, Philbin saw enough of Devlin in training camp and thought to himself he liked the potential...Yeah they kept Moore but if they let him go (And it looks like they are) and don't sign a veteran backup that will confirm what I just posted...So this is my last post to you, you can do me a big favor and drop dead and everything will be fine...Alright?? Adios, mental case...

I think Hartline is a product of the system he is in. Bess had 1,000 yards receiving and I believe this is the best year statistically Fasano has had since 08' as well. Not taking anything away from Hartline and I hope they re-sign him (as long as its reasonable). But I think with the assumption Miami will end up with Wallace or Jennings when it's all said and done, Hartline isn't a have to keep at all cost player.

Montreal, Philbin also said he was happy with his receivers. Let's not be so naive.

Craig, you have a right to your opinion on Hartline. But how you see a player miss the entire offseason and training camp and play his first year in a new offense with a rookie quarterback and don't see room for improvement as he's about to hit his prime career years boggles my mind.

Posted by: Armando Salguero | January 04, 2013 at 10:59 AM


Craig doesnt know football! LMAO!

Kris @10:59am,

Sorry man, you lost me. I'm not sure I quoted you. I actually was quoting Montreals comment to you.

I'm actually agreeing with you on your list on AJ Smith. Impressive track record.

Armando, I could be dead wrong but this may have been a career year for Hartline. Now all that changes if he ends up in NE with Brady but I'm convinced he'll have a better season than he just had in Miami. I believe if there's a couple of other guys added (let's say Jennings and Hopkins in the draft), he'll get less looks. Less looks mean less receptions. I'm just not convinced he'll top 1000 yards again with Miami. Be happy to eat my words when he does it again next year, and you tell me how wrong I was....LOL.

I'm hoping Long's past body of work can get us some trade value for him after we franchise tag him to protect against his walking for no return. If that's not in the cards we should receive a compensatory draft pick for him at the very least.

Armando, a lot of thing about Craig M are mind boggling...That's an understatement...LOL!!

Sure thing Montreal....Mister Black and White...

Good luck with your life...

Hartline has 1 touchdown in 16 games LOL. He is NOT a playmaker he is a solid reciever that would be a number 2 for most teams.

#1...Mark or DC....

Can one of you guys repost my AJ Smith post the one with the list of players he has either drafted or signed (UDFA) from the last blog....

its on the last page and has a list....

I don't have the capabilities from work....

Craig M....

I got you...

Thought you were quoting me.....

I see it now...

Hey Montreal....why don't you do what you say you're going to do and leave me alone. Are you not capable of that?

I have a mental disorder? Makes as much sense as your comment that 'Ireland hasn't brought a single playmaker to Miami in his time here'.....funny stuff!


#1....

SMith has an eye for talent....perhaps you have heard of some of these names.....all courtesy of AJ Smith....

Phillip Rivers
Ladanian Tomlinson
Shaun Merriman
Micheal Turner
Igor Olashansky
Shaun Philips
Vincent Jackson
Antonio Cromartie
Lorenzo Neal
Wes Welker (pre Miami Dolphins)
Greg Camirilo (we later traded for)...and saved our @sses)
Kris Dielman
Malcom Floyd
Antionio Gates
Kassim Osgood


Compare that list to ANYTHING the FINS have DRAFTED/SIGNED/UDFA in the same time frame....

There is NO comparison...

SMith is SOLID...the ROSTER speaks for itself....

The coaching issues....well that is another story....

Posted by: Kris | January 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM

AJ was fired for a reason.

And Craig, about the OL:

When Jake Long went out, the running game got BETTER. Miami averaged 4.3 yards per rush vs. SF, 5.0 vs Jacksonville, 5.3 vs. Buff. after averaging only 2.5 with Long in first Buffalo game, and finally 3.1 vs. NE.

Yes, Miami gave up 7 sacks vs. NE. It was a terrible game by the unit AND the QB, who held the ball a lot after throwing that first pick. It was as if he didn't want to make another mistake.

So one bad day and the unit fell apart? If that's the criteria, the Dolphins fell apart all over the place in 2012 because they had several bad games.

Overall, I don't think the Dolphins missed Jake Long and considering what he makes, the team should sorely miss a player like that.

Kris,

Definitely not. Good list on Smith. Quality GM in my book too. Just surprised he's not getting more talk. I know he fell out with Schottenheimer and maybe he went down in a lot of people's minds with that. Maybe a bit too much of a power monger and rubs people the wrong way.

I will say Kris, if you like Philbin have some of the power and the decison makling, I think a lot of that would change if Smith were GM here. Not sure how you'd feel about that.

Armando, in your opinion, do the Dolphins lack playmakers?? LOL!!

So a couple of things Armando. I don't believe Hartline will get better. I believe this is his peak. Only caveat to that is more TDs, but I believe that will come as Tannehill grows and we have more weapons available. But I believe yeardage wise this will be about his peak. He could also suffer injuries. So there's that to worry about to.

Craig,

First of all Hartline is 26 & I'm not sure why you believe he can't get better. This was BY FAR his best season & he missed all of the off-season, training camp, & the preseason. So why can't he improve???

I believe Tannehill will only get better so it would be reasonable to assume that he'll have a higher completion percentage, he'll throw for more yards, & throw for more TD's. If we add Greg Jennings (who I believe would be perfect) or Mike Wallace, it's only going to help Hartline get open.

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that neither Moore nor Long will be here next year precisely because of Devlin and J Mart. I have the experience and intelligence to predict that.

"And going forward, the club has a solid idea that Martin can get much better through offseason weight-training and conditioning, experience, and a full training camp at LT"

The pro Long Canada camp should take a LONG HARD READ at what Armando said above. I've been saying it for weeks! Martin needs to improve his balance, strength & weight distribution!

Martin can improve through strength & conditioning and a full offseason of work at LT. He's not there yet but, he can be better in the future than Long could be.

He's younger, healthier & cheaper. Period. He finds himself off balance sometimes which leads to him getting steamrolled on a bull rush or someone flying in on a blitz. If your upper body is leaning 1 way to stop someone, the slighest bit of leverage benath you is sending you over.

THAT IS MARTINS WEAKNESS. It's technique & strength! Yes, he can improve technique & he can improve his upper body strength!

If you look at it objectively, YES, Martin did get embarassed on a couple of plays. Specificially the one by Aldon Smith & the DB on NE. But, they are both instances of what I described above.

However, his entire body of work in those few games was overall POSITIVE. Obviously he isn't strong enough or technically ready to be a great LT today but, he can get there.

Long is too beat up. Breaking down every year. The odds that Long can be as good as a younger & healtheir Martin in the long term is slim & none. The odds of him playing a full 16 game schedule is also going down.

It's time to move on from Long. Thank him for his years & move along. Just like the texans did with Mario Williams.

The issue of talent evaluation on `difference makers` is a tricky one- how many team passed on TY Hilton (32) How many teams passed on Alfred Morris(32) on Richard Sherman (32) Eventually one of those teams takes a punt and drafts them......but I bet not one of them thought `he`s a difference maker we have to have him`
Look at all the Mock Boards......consensus? yer right!!!!

Craig, you have a right to your opinion on Hartline. But how you see a player miss the entire offseason and training camp and play his first year in a new offense with a rookie quarterback and don't see room for improvement as he's about to hit his prime career years boggles my mind.

Mando,

Couldn't agree more.

Armando,

I didn't think the line played well against the Niners either. How many sacks did they give up that day? Four? Five? I don't remember that game well enough but I think we may have ran the ball OK. You'll correct me if it was good.

I'm attributing part of the run success to a more healthy Bush. He looked better the last few games of the season. I think it was the NE game to end the year, there were NO holes for him to run. Awful! So the line got killed when we tried to run the ball AND throw the ball.

I'm not convinced that the Bills and Jags games were enough for us to say 'the line held up without Long'. To me those were two teams that had thrown in the towel long ago.

Jordan, I watch every game and then watch every play again from coaches tape.

There were a handful of throws this year Hartline is behind the defense and the ball either goes over his head or is underthrown. Those are supposed to be TDs.

There were at least four other times he's running wide open behind the defense again, only green turf in front of him, and the ball goes somewhere else.

So quote the 1 TD all you want, but an elite QB gets 5-6 TDs out of that guy ... and all of them of the bomb variety.

I'm not saying he's a No. 1 WR. But he does make plays.

Jon from Ohio preparing his Territory. How ya doing, Pal?

WHDPs,

I'm not saying 'don't resign Hartline'. Just do it at the right price. I thought Hartline was AWESOME this year! May have been the MVP on offence (between him and Bush). I'm just not sure where you guys think he's going to get better. I don't ever see this being a 'high-powered offence' under Tannehill. So we add a couple WRs and a stud TE. Where are all the extra touches and TDs coming for Hartline. How many TDs so you think this offence is capable of throwing? I'm not convinced Tannehill will ever get beyond mid to high 20's. That's all.

Two sacks by the Niners, Craig.

Abd Reggie was healthy all year except for a couple of weeks after the first Jets game.

If you guys think ireland is bad look at the last 4 years of drafts from AJ Smith and Pioli.

Hartline has definitely arrived as a competent starting receiver in the NFL. His TD numbers will increase once he isn't double covered and I think he can be a great #2 receiver on any team with a definite number #1 WR. I hope we can keep him but he may financially not be in the cards especially if the Phins go after other WRs with higher TD totals in free agency. Hartline's low TD numbers might be the only thing that keeps his price down.

1 RD FLORIDA S
#22 MATT ELAM
2 RD ALABAMA CB
#28 DEE MILLINER
2 RD?
DEF. END
3 RD
TEXAS A&M WR
#25 RYAN SWOPES
3 RD?
OFF. TACKLE

Armando,

I stand corrected on the SF game sacks wise. So no way Reggie was fighting an injury for a chunk of the season? Is that something the team might hide?

Darkoak, exactly...

Yup. Somehow Hartline fitted this O system.

When Jake Long went out, the running game got BETTER. Miami averaged 4.3 yards per rush vs. SF, 5.0 vs Jacksonville, 5.3 vs. Buff. after averaging only 2.5 with Long in first Buffalo game, and finally 3.1 vs. NE.

Yes, Miami gave up 7 sacks vs. NE. It was a terrible game by the unit AND the QB, who held the ball a lot after throwing that first pick. It was as if he didn't want to make another mistake.

So one bad day and the unit fell apart? If that's the criteria, the Dolphins fell apart all over the place in 2012 because they had several bad games.

Overall, I don't think the Dolphins missed Jake Long and considering what he makes, the team should sorely miss a player like that.

Mando,

It's REALLY unbelievable. The Jake Long lovers refuse to watch the tape!!! He was ranked in the 40's by PFF among Tackles who took at least 25% of the team's snaps & this going into a contract year!!! The truth is that his play started slipping last year & this year he was not the same player he once was in terms of pass protection.

BTW--He also finished the season on IR with another injury. I can't think of anything worse than signing a player whose performance has fallen off over the last TWO years & whose body is starting to break down. If we're rebuilding then let's REBUILD.

I think guys need to get off the AGE thing as far as Jake Long is concerned. He's 27 years old, for God's sake! That's not old but any set of standards in the NFl. Martin is 23. Age isn't the isssue here. Might help try to sway your argument but isn't really relevant. The fact he's played 5 years in the NFL and is beat up is a different story.

Philbin hates to talk about injuries, but he doesn't hide them. He's a stickler about integrity. If a guy's hurt, he's on the injury report.

Reggie wasn't.

He also said he was healthy (which probably doesn't mean as much because players sometimes hide injuries) but Bush is a very open-type guy.

Armando...

Why/how am I being imposted @ 11:16 and 11:17....

I understand that it is an idiot with no life....but I thought/know you are taking steps to crack down on those things....

Montreal,

That is an impressive list of talent from the chargers but my question is how long ago were those picks made and more importantly how many of those guys are still on the team. He has a problem with keeping his talented guys.

..The part you guys are missing about Hartline, and what makes him so valuable. The different positions he can play within this offense. For A wCO type reciever this is just as important, if not more then the body type, his speed, blah blah blah (concerning prototype WCO WR's)...We have to find a productive touchdown reciever as it is. You do not get rid of a guy that gives you an advantage schematicaly.

#1....

Thanks for the assist....@ 11:09....

and btw you forgot sproles

That's some mean S that Matt Elam, he either hits opponents or his own teammates.

WHDPs,

So 'rebuilding' means lets get rid of 27 year old players. So why then are we adding guys that are 26, 27, 28 years old in FA. Not getting your logic.

You make the big assumption that Jake Long's body is breaking down. We don't actually know that for sure. All we know is that he's getting injured playing one of the toughest positions in the NFL. Happens to a lot of guys. But to say his body is 'breaking down' is a big leap. We don't know that. We're not in the inside. I read what Armando said about the fact the doesn't do what he used to with the linebackers (thanks for that bit of insight, btw Armando) and yeah maybe things aren't what they used to be. But I still think he can be a useful guy on this team (maybe at RT) AT THE RIGHT PRICE.

Your plan gives us a guy in Martin, who's shown he's got some question marks against him, with no plan to fill the RT position. Sorry, I don't believe Garner is the answer. Back-up at best.

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