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A look at Sean Smith's cut at free agency

I lke Sean Smith. He's intelligent. He's well-spoken when he wants to be. He seems to get it when he wants to and that was apparent when he lost weight and worked his backside off in training camp prior to the 2012 season -- understanding his contract year loomed. And he's problematic for the NFL's big-bodied wide receivers that like to win by simply being bigger than the cornerbacks they face.

So I like Sean Smith on the Dolphins.

But he is not elite.

He is not franchise player material as one local publication reported in January.

He's, well, something between terrible and good. And that makes him inconsistent.

Smith started this season a house on fire. He locked down Larry Fitzgerald. He did great work against A.J. Green. And then something changed.

Suddenly he was giving up first downs like it was part of his job description. And yes, that was him in the picture and beaten on a handful of TDs caught by opposing wide receivers. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Smith yielded more combined first downs and touchdowns than any other NFL cornerback. That number is a whopping 46.

Something didn't seem to fit. Seems he's not comfortable against smaller, quicker receivers so he plays off. And at 6-3 and 218 pounds, he doesn't have the quickness and explosion to close on receivers on out patterns and comebacks for first downs.

That's not all.

The elephant in the room is the guy should be an interception machine. But isn't.

He plays well enough often enough that balls come to him. Unfortunately, he drops most of them. He dropped one against Indianapolis last year that could've been the difference between a win and loss. Yes, he had two picks on the season, but his drops have far outnumbered his catches over his Dolphins career.

And he was a wide receiver in college at one point!

I didn't know what to make of Smith after the season so I asked two former Dolphins receivers about him. I asked them to compare Smith to former Miami cornerback Vontae Davis. Both players said the same thing.

"I'd much rather go against Sean than Vontae," one said. "Vontae is a pain in the [butt]. He gets his hands on you, he holds, he grabs, he gets away with stuff that nobody sees. Sean is just easier. He's fast as hell. But he guesses a lot and a lot of time he guesses wrong."

And so this is the resume Sean Smith will take to free agency in March.

I believe he's going to free agency because his agent David Canter is confident Smith will be a hot commodity in free agency. I don't doubt that's true. First, Canter has made his reputation by knowing the market. Second, Smith looks like a beast if you put on the Arizona tape.

But I was there for all 16 games this year. And all the games in 2011. And the ones in 2010 once Smith recovered from being benched in favor of, wait for, Jason Allen.

And I don't think it would be wise for the Dolphins to spend a lot of money on Smith. I say that that knowing that Canter will be asking for a lot of money for Smith.

As I have reported, that camp believes the market for Smith is similar to the Brandon Carr contract with Dallas or the Jason McCourty contract with Tennessee. Carr got $50 million over five years and McCourty got $43 million over five years from Tennessee.

So Smith is looking for anywhere between $8-$10 million.

The Dolphins don't see that. And much as I like Smith and respect Canter, I don't see it either. The performance simply does not rise to that level. And frankly, I'm not sure it rises to half that level, either.

Then there's the other question that must linger in the mind of the Dolphins brass: What is going to happen once Sean Smith gets paid? He worked hard to get ready for the contract year. And then he faded anyway.

Is he going to work harder once he gets guaranteed money?

I don't know that he isn't. I also am not sure he will.

The cornerback market has potential bargains. Yes, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie will want a big payday that I don't think he's worth. But guys such as Cary Williams and Brent Grimes and Michael Adams will be out there. They all come with questions marks. That makes them no better than Smith.

But they'll probably be cheaper than Smith, at least initially.

Then there's always the draft. A couple of years ago the Dolphins fished a little-known Utah cornerback out of the draft's second round and he started immediately. He wasn't great but he wasn't bad. And he was cheap. That made him a good value.

His name is Sean Smith.

But for $8-$10 million? No thanks.



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I remember Marshall had an INT for Us. Then,he disappeared. Injury?

Craig, on the TE: Ireland needs PASS-CATCHING TEs. I think he's figured that out, finally. Fasano is FA this year and got something like $4.7M last year against cap. How can Jeff not find 2 good TEs in FA to replace Fasano and the other non-pass-catching TEs? Even Fasano and a new guy like Bennett would be fine. All problems won't be fixed this year.

Making you look bad, uh? jeje...

Incidentally, not sure if this has been mentioned by anyone or not but there $1.6 million of DEAD money if the Dolphins void Long's contract and let him become a FA. Not a lot obviously, but wondering if the team were to add another $4.5 to this if that would be a good contract for Long and the team. That's really what we're talking about. Is Jake Long at $4.5 mil this year (we're paying the $1.6 mil either way), a good or bad contract for the Dolphins? Now guys will argue he'd never sign a contract like that (fair enough), but I'd have no problem with a contract like that on let's say a 2-4 year term. If that wouldn't get it done, then fair enough....find another solution.

So what I said in the above post was, Long at around $6 mil a year isn't a bad contract for this team, assuming the term isn't too long. You draft a guy in the first round, you're going to pay him $3-4 mil a year anyways, and there no guarantees he gets the job done. What do you figure you'd pay for a tackle in FA?

I'm saying, we're on the hook for $1.6 mil regardless. What another $4.5 mil a year? That's what I think I would do with Long.

I don't believe Ireland has given up Egnew as the pass catching TE for this offense. I haven't either and I didn't like the BS excuses on why he was inactive almost all year.


Well I think you put that on Sherman and Philbin. It was obviously from Hard Knocks that Sherman had it in for Egnew from day one. The story is he's not a good enough blocker but isn't there a way you can get this guy in the offence and use his pass-catching skills? He wasn't drafted for his blocking (obviously). So if he's a pass-catching TE (and I assume he is because he was taken third round), then what gives? Shame on the OC, if he can't figure out a way to get him into the offence. BIG need on this team.....STILL.

dadsmithwest, I feel the same. Can't understand why they didn't give him more of a shot.

Craig, I'm surely all in for Long there but I don't think he'll come back for that.


You might well be right on that. I'm just thinking out loud. We're on the hook for $1.6 mil regardless. How much more would we have to pay to bring him back? I don't know the answer to that. I wouldn't pay him $10 mil a year, if that's what he's looking for.

..Craig M..I wrote a response to what you said about the team not being able to fill all the holes in one year. It didn't post. And I am to frustrated to re-write it. The point was that I thought that comment was hogwash. That I believed we aren't as far off as most do. I gave my opinions to who we should keep, who we shouldn't. And what I thought was smart free agent wise to fill whatever "holes" we have.

To that..Other GM's find players that contribute right away.They draft guys that develop in their systems. How long does Ireland get to hide behind the cloak of rebuilding, before the grim reaper takes his head?(GM's job)I know the roster is young. But these guys were selcted here for a reason. Our GM believed they could play..We need to see improvement from these young guys, the Ireland guys. If we do..Then he has done his job, and there aren't the holes everyone thinks we have.

Craig, I understand. I know you like Long and I do too. Most of the complaint has been with his pass-blocking but he's been pretty good in the run game. In fact, most run yardage was around left side last year. He can still do that job and it's not like he CAN'T pass protect.

We might also be at the point where we say goodbye to Dan Carpenter. $3 million + for next year and a cap hit of only $300K if we chop him. Be interesting to see what else we can come up with, maybe even later in the draft, to replace him. I'd be in favour of adding the extra $2.7 mil in cap space. Carpenter's been good in the past but I doubt he'd even be top ten any more. Might be time to move on from him.

Craig..I was really bothered by the whole way that went down last year with Egnew and seemed unnecessary to humiliate him like that in front of the team. And just flat out ticked off what a teammate said about the kid. So although we may want a pass catching TE. We may already have one IF given a chance.

Patterson was just in the first year of a 3 yr $16 million deal with Cleveland when he was waived.

Someone had to like him at some point.


I think the Herald's IT department needs to defrag the blog. I lost a couple post yesterday and even when it does post at times the blog operates as if its filled to capacity with posters when its not.

The IT dept needs to defrag to get the blog up to normal operations speed.


'Hogwash'? REALLY?

And realistically, how many starters does a GM typically add in an offseason? How many should he be expected to add?

As DC mentioned, last year was one of his better drafts. To date we have two starters from that draft. So I ask you again, how many starters are you looking for from this draft and FA? Am I mistaken or are you not the one who has said in the past, 'it's unreasonable to expect rookie WRs to contribute right away'?

I'll let your respond....


I was saying most of last season that Carpenters leg has been "over fistpumped" back our lack of scoring during his career here. There are only so many fistpumps in one leg.


I wonder if a lot of that was just show for Hardknocks. When your a new regime you got to show that theres a new sheriff in town as well.


Let's put it another way. Tell me the holes you see on the team and let's see if we agree. Then let's see if we can agree on how those needs should be filled.

You go first....

Guys, when Egnew got in, did he even have ONE catch? You're all making him out to be Gronk, just never given the chance. My impression is the guy's less than nothing. He's an embarrassment to position. He's a 3rd-string TE at best. He can prove me wrong (if given the chance) but this isn't Odrick here (who I also criticized). Odrick DID show SOME ability. Even Clay had a couple good plays his 1st year. But this guy? C'mon. Don't hold your breath.

Dolfan Rick,

Judging by this year's fa market for the upper bracket of cb's. Patterson dint have "too much love" in Cleve. #yrs @ 16 million is only a little over $5million per year on average.

Considering Smith alone could command $7 million, Cleveland's love for Patterson was very lukewarm.


DC, didn't want him to start, just wanted to see him catch the ball a few times. I don't think he was targeted even once the few times he even got in. Not a great way to deal with the rookie, I think. Especially when TE was one of the weaker spots.

Well, Thankyou.


I'm not a fan of giving up on guys after one year. We're not privy to what goes on in there. I think Sherman's taking a personal dislike to this guy for whatever reason. It happens.

I posted this week that AJ Jenkins, first round pick of the Niners this year, had ZERO catches on the year. Should the Niners just give up on him? We complain Ireland never drafts TEs that can catch. So why then was this guy taken in the third round and why was he rated as the third best TE at the position. What would you have done if it was you?

I understood what you meant YG. I guess it could have just shown the desperation we we were in when we picked Patterson up. I think we were still mathematically in the playoff hunt when we signed him.

I mean, there are some People that have inside info about Players just as well as about the Horses that many of Us have NO access to. What do you do in that case? Go by the odds, go by the odds.



1. Andy Levitre OG
2. Greg Jennings WR
3. Dwight Freeney --- Situational Pass Rusher

DRAFT--- Based On Trading Down(#20). Extra 2nd Rd'er

1. Deandre Hopkins WR
2a. Tyler Eiffert TE
2b. Stedman Bailey
2c. Matt Elam S (UF)
3a. DJ Fluker RT/OG/C
3b. David Amerson CB
4. Stefon Jefferson RB Nevada
5. Tyrann Matthieu CB/S/Slot
6. Sean Porter OLB
7. Best Available Kicker

Many holes get filled with this draft. As a gm, I would try to sell Dwight Freeney on coming into become a situational pass rusher to prolong his career. Make him my Charles Haley.

DC..The key here is...given the chance. Did he get one..when did that happen? Give up on the kid after one year? WOW..that's some pretty high expectation.

Craig, if you're asking if I were Sherman, I agree with you guys, I would have played Egnew to see what you have (especially end of Season when games were meaningless). I don't know why he was graded 3rd best TE. Honestly, I didn't see much in Pre-Season. Now, he might be a late-bloomer, I give you that. Maybe with an offseason he gets the playbook and makes marked improvement. But are we really ready to second-guess Philbin/Sherman so soon? I think they've proven they know offense in the NFL. They aren't Sparano. I hesitate to take Egnew's side vs. Sherman. Not saying Sherman is the best that ever was, but none of us think Clay is the best TE in the league, yet even Clay was better able to help the team his 1st year. No two players are the same, I'm just very unsure about Egnew.

I don't say cut him. No reason to. He's under a rookie contract, so they can take him into camp and see what they have. And its on the coaching staff to coach him up. But I wouldn't bank on him being a huge playmaker. But who knows, I'm just guessing like everyone else.

I wonder why YG and I think so much alike regarding Players we'd like to acquire. I guess I have taught him well about it. HUUHUU!


That's a pretty good list. Pretty impressive in fact. Can't really pick it apart too much. Only thing I'm not sure about is Freeney. Maybe. But I like that you haven't spent to keep Smith and Starks around and I like the guys you are picking up in FA and the draft. I don't know Jefferson but the rest looks pretty good. As good as any I've seen to be honest.

I'd really like to add Michael Johnson in FA and I'd lover to add someone like TE Cook in FA, just not sure we're going to have the money.

CB David Amerson would be a hell of steal to get 3rd rd. The reason his stock fell so much this year is because he gambled on ints far too much and got burned. He led the nation in 2011, with something like 11 ints.

He just needs to be "reeled back in" from gambling on picks "TOO MUCH". Then he should be fine. He runs a 4.4 forty and does have shutdown skills.

I can tell you why he was graded third best...Egnew was 1st team all Big 12 with 140 catches over the last 2 years in college. Had a 4.6 40 and had some of the best results in almost every category for a TE.

Good list YG but can you really see Ireland selecting a guy like the honey badger? I seriously doubt it.

I'm not totally against the trade down theory. This is not the most exciting draft I've ever seen in the top 15 at least.


Yeah I'm second-guessing Sherman and Philbin for their inability to get the kid on the field, and to target him some when he played. I think they are sending him a message and I think it's petty. I'm no saying they were wrong not to start this guy from day one but I have no clue why they drafted him if they never planned to play him. I don't want to hear this was Ireland's fault. Philbin was onside with the pick too. Ireland can only draft the players and the coaches have to get these guys ready to play. I don't know if the kid CAN'T block or if it's because he refuses to do it. I don't care. He was drafted to catch the ball for us and he can't do that not dressing for games. Yeah I find fault in the coaching staff for this.

Whats your plan with Levitre though? Move Jerry to RT or drop either Jerry or Cogs altogether?


Stefon Jefferson leads the nation in rushing(1.883yds) and tds rushing(24tds). He listed 4th rd because he did it at a small school. But he would be a great 4th rd value. Scouting report says he could move higher with a great combine.

Also, I believe if you could talk a player like Freeney into becoming a situatinal pass rusher. You add about 3 more very productive years to his career by not playing every down and have fresh legs every pass rush. Like Charles Haley was used.

dad, there's plenty of players who never seem to translate into the NFL (with good college careers). I see no rhyme or reason why some do and some don't. Maybe Egnew doesn't. Just going off what I saw on Hard Knocks, he looked partially retarded. That's my non-PC way of saying he seemed slow (thinking). I sense Philbin/Sherman wanting quick-thinking, smart football players (like Hartline/Fasano).

The kid WILL get a shot to impress the coaches, he isn't going anywhere. But to me that would be an added plus. If I'm GM, I try to upgrade via FA or draft again (and if Egnew works out, then great, better to have more talent at TE than less).


I like the majority of your plan. Not sure about Freeney. I think he's become a bit of a one trick pony and I believe he's 33 or 34 now. I get what you're looking from him (likely in a tandem with Vernon, right?). I don't hate it....I just think I'd spend the money elsewhere (and more, obviously).

Dolfan Rick,

Matthieu in rd 5 is steal of the year or very "low risk bust". Considering he was a turnover machine waiting to happen in his two years at LSU, any gm including Ireland would be nuts not to pounce. Especially considering how turnover starved our defense is.

Jerry's still cheap so he stays. The addition of Levitre and Jerry to 2nd string, upgrades our depth chart at og. Of course Cogs stays, he was an alternat pro bowler. No decision needs being made on him until next season.


My plan with Freeney isnt a longterm, nor midterm solution. It at least buys 1 season(2013) to make pass rusher the #1 priority in 2014(1st rd pick).


I just think you write Egnew's year off as a complete waste. Coaches were trying to send the kid a message, obviously. We'll see if he gets it. I'm actually happy we have a guy who at least has 'potential' on the roster, rather than a guy who has none. To me it would be like if the guy got hurt and was out for the year. A 'wasted' year. But they obviously saw something in him when he was drafted. It would be DUMB as far as I'm concerned just to get rid of this guy at some point. Really makes me stop and question what they are doing if they draft a guy third round and then cut him a year later. Tells me they didn't do their homework on this guy and that's inexcusable.

At 33, and seemingly declining as a 3 down player, I dont see him(Freeney) commanding great money anywhere.

The GM needs "vision" to see him as a "situational pass rusher". I would offer 2yrs $6-$7 million a year. If he turned that down, move on.


$6-7 mil a year for Freeney? Nah...not interested at that price. To be honest, I think he's almost done. He played well against us but I think that was an anomaly.

Where would you play Mathieu? Safety?


I think Ireland did his homework on Egnew, everyone and their mother knew he was a terrible college blocking TE, but he was still one of the best in the nation as a reciever.

I guess Ireland never foresaw him having as difficult a time as he's had learning to become a nfl level blocker. I think thats why teammates call him a wuss. He's probably afraid of "contact" which equates to "blocking".

Not sure a lot of people know Egnew is a converted WR to TE but surely the team had to know that and if you know that...blocking of course would not be the strongest aspect of his play.


That's what's so intriguing about Matthieu. LSU played him at corner, safety, and in the slot. The kid just has amazing instincts no matter where you play him.

At 175lbs, the kid had 77 tkls his final season at LSU. We're talking SEC, the kid isnt afraid to hit someone. He had like 7-8 forced fumbles that year too.

Well I know I'm an optimist YG. Most of us Fin fans are but I thought the Dolphins were pleased with Jerry this season. I was hoping we wouldn't have spend yet more money on that position, aside from the Long situation.

I totally agree with you on Matthieu, I just don't see Ireland pulling the trigger and / or someone will beat him to it.

Posted by: dadsmithwest | February 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Many TE's are drafted into the nfl not known for blocking prowess. But most is because they werent asked to do it much. However, Egnew being called "wuss" by teammates suggests to me he's also afraid of the contact involved in blocking.

That really cant be scouted. You dont find this out until you get that kid into camp.


So what's the downside to Matthieu? I didn't realize he was only 175 pounds. If that's the case we can forget him playing the safety position. Would never work in the NFL.

Tell me the cons on the guy....

Dolphin Rick,

Even if well pleased with Jerry, our oline "depth" is very thin. Something still would be needing done as far as adding quality depth.

If not, when a starter goes down, youre pretty screwed.


Go back to my list. I drafted Matt Elam, safety Florida at 2c. LOL...


We all know the cons. Matthieu was cut from LSU for drugs. Other than that, he was headed for being a surefire top 5 draft pick. LOL..


I like Elam a lot too. Matthieu is worth a gamble late, like you mentioned. Don't know how early he might go or what he's capable of.

Also, I know that Matthieu is only 175lbs, but his instincts and ball skills were absolutely "off the charts". He almost always seemed to be in the right place at the right time whether it was a tackle or pass play.

If a guys that good it doesnt matter his size. He played far bigger than his size with 77 tackles his last season at LSU. Thats great for a db 30lbs heavier. Many of them dont have that tackle number.


Our dc is supposed to be a db turnover guru. Adding Elam and Matthieu with Jones. We should finally have a very exciting secondary in Miami. LOL...

The Honey Badger can go lick somebody somewhere else.


Still you never know. Mattieu could end up being the greatest shocker of the entire draft. Some gm may go nuts and pick him as high as 1st, no later than 2nd rd.

Things like that are very difficult to predict. Sometimes gm throw caution to the wind on character vs talent or impact.

Just so I'm following your the thinking YG. Which fa's do you think we will resign?

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