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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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Speaking of size of a db, remember Darrelle Green? I think he was only 165lbs coming into the nrl. I dont think he was ever more than 175lbs a day of his career.

Didnt he play something like 15yrs?

YG...Here is my version of your scenario.



1. Mike Wallace WR
2. Jared Cook TE
3. Keenan Lewis CB (Allows us to let Smith walk if need be)

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

1. Lane Johnson OT (He is a bit more athletic than most OT's)(Long and his big $$$$ would be allowed to leave)
2a. Matt Elam S (I would be stoked if he were here...I think he goes late 1st. One of my favorite players in the draft)
2b. Markus Wheaton WR (May be a touch high but we absolutely can't miss out on good WR's this year.)
2c. DJ Fluker RT/OG/C (May not make it to here but would be killer to have an OL that answers so many spots. Would push Jerry out most likely)
3a. Quinton Patton WR OR Marquis Goodwin WR (Doubling down with Wheaton to completely transform our WR's with scary playmakers. They are not the biggest but have EXTREME movement skill and oh by the way...no touching downfield in this league.)
3b. David Amerson CB (I like this pick you have here)

4. Devon Taylor DE (Poor mans JPP)
5. Tyrann Matthieu CB/S/Slot (Not sure if Philbin would see him as a team player enough but he makes plays when motivated)
6. Sean Porter OLB (Like this choice as well)
7. Best Available Kicker (Gotta bring Carpenter some heat)

I believe in one fell swoop they could make a weakness a strength at WR with Wallace, Wheaton, and either Patton or Goodwin. If the re-sign Hartline there's you receive that has report with Tannehill.


Dolfan Rick,

As you could see from my draft list, Ive loaded up at oline, rb, wr, and db's(safety and corner).

So Ive pretty much have everyone walking except for Randy Starks. Everything else I addressed.

Resign Starks, and perhaps Fasano. I drafted Eiffert, so Eiffert and Fasano are my TE's. Overall, this plan should give me a chunk of change for in season moves if needed.

Rob OC,

I like your list with only 2 real exceptions. I rather have Greg Jaennings to blend with my youth at wrs. By the time Jennings is gone my young guns should be beats. I believe Jenning to be far more young qb friendly than Bowe or Wallace.

I believe DJ Fluker is a far greater value getting him 2nd rd. He saves me from using a 1st rd pick on OT. I believe Fluker and Martin would be fine.

Also I take Eiffert with my first 2nd rd pick. Looks more and more like Ertz will be the first TE chosen. If Eiffert isnt available, my fall back plan is Fauria or Toilolo.

Interesting YG. I like it on the whole but it looks like kind of alot of rookies starting.

WR,CB,LT or RT and a rook at the nickle if Matthieu were to beat out Patterson.

Wouldn't be the first time a team started 4 rookies though.


How many hours a week would you estimate you're on this blog?

I'm thinking around 63 (nine hours a day times seven).

Rob OC,

On Fluker:

"Fluker was real force at right tackle for Alabama in 2011. He was a strong run-blocker who paved the way for Trent Richardson. Fluker looks like he could be an instant starter at right tackle in the NFL and is a natural at the position. Fluker has been a dominant force in the SEC the past two seasons. He is athletic as a pass-protector, and a bulldozer as a run-blocker."

Dolfan Rick,

Their "HIGH QUALITY" rookie starters. Huge difference.

Dolfan Rick,

Also, we have enough vets on defense to temper adding 2 starting rookies. On the oline there's Pouncey, Cogs, Levitre, and Martin. Only adding 1 rookie.

As for wr, young qb friendly Jennings, will be the "glue" that hold the young gum wr unit together.


Also expect my TE to be a starter.

YG, I liked your template so I borrowed it.(Hope you don't mind bro)

I could live with either of our plan's in place. I tried to bring much more speed on Offense where I think that will pay dividends with TD's.

Having a bunch of people with great speed, quickness and movement skill in the Defenseless Receiver, P.I. for arm bars, Illegal Touching NFL is the route to go.

If our WR stable was Wallace, Hartline, Wheaton, & Patton (Or Goodwin if Patton is gone) and we still can't get TD's then something is wrong elsewhere. Play design, Tanne's accuracy, O-line a sieve,...something.

I would go with TE Cook over TE Eifert in this scenario. He's established and much, much more of a seam threat. Eifert would get the nod as the better red zone guy. If I added a TE through the draft I would get Fauria. Tall as well and has better wheels than Eifert...can be chosen later too.

I would keep Reggie if they can sign him at a reasonable price. The one I would look to move away from is Thomas. Between injuries and what he hasn't done already I trade him for whatever as there may still be an aura that "IF" he stays healthy and "IF" he has more opportunity and the "He is still Young" mantras to get a 4th or 5th rounder. The more he plays, the more he will look like a bust and nobody will trade anything for him.


Plus, I would expect Bailey to replace Bess as the starting slot wr.


Im not feeling Hartline at all in my wr corp. 4yrs of extremely low td production has completely soured me on him.

I only see Hartline as a move the chains luxury for and offense already proficient at scoring. I just dont think, at present, we have the luxury to spend $7-$8 million a year on this type of reciever.

That's why I have Hartline walking and upgrading him with young wr's that were actually "very proficient at scoring tds".

Rob OC,

Ask yourself: "If you had Cook on your team, would you let him walk?"

The answer is most likely no. I dont see Cook going anywhere when this is fast becoming a league of needing very good young TE's.

Exactly why Im not remotely considering Cook. He's probably a much greater fantasy than the list I did compile. LOL...

Rob OC,

If you'll also notice, with all of the added offensive firepower Reggie Bush becomes a luxury. I added Stephon Jefferson to replace Thomas.

Google Stephon Jefferson. Some see him as this year's "Alfred Morris".

So with Miller and Jefferson, that a potential lethal one two punch.

"thats a potentially lethal"

Stephon Jefferson has 1.863 yds rushing and 24tds. He's projected 4th-5th rd because he comes out of tiny Nevada.

But some scouts project him as a potential "Alfred Morris", not bad huh? LOL...


TOTALLY agree Fluker's natural position is RT. I also believe he could hold that position down vs anyone on the team including Martin. My challenge is I don't think Martin is that good at LT. Maybe he gets better and grows into it? I dunno.

If they add Fluker then the can let Long walk but Martin is still a concern for me at this point. They could by with that for a year but that's why I drafted OT Lane Johnson in the 1st and added Fluker as a G initially but probably will supplant Martin if he can't get better.

Some guys make huge strides in a year or two so I'm not writing him off...I just have a hard time seeing him becoming a very good player. More a journeyman/place keeper type.


This really is one huge offseason for miami dolphins, more than any other nfl team this offseason...a turning point with team...new logo, this free agent offseason and nfl draft are huge...


You are probably right on Cook. I am just playing with what FA has to offer now. My contingent plan would be Fred Davis. Not as good of triangle numbers as Cook but he would easily be the Fins biggest TE threat.

If I had to go the Davis route I would try extra hard to tab Fauria in the draft.


Anthony Bourdain would never waste time on a silly blog such as this.

lots saying we won't draft wr hi in draft, i disagree! first off this drafts not deep with lots of very hi qaulity wr's that are big time playmakers...two wr's stand out at top of draft from tennessee and cali..team does not wanna play around in tannenhills development short and long term! no 2nd round or later wr draft picks not going to be huge impacts in tannenhills development as top two wr's will be...yes we may sign jennings or wallace, but miami wants and badly needs to add a big time wr and tight end in this draft who can step in fast and make big time impact!!! tannenhill needs a fast start next season...patterson from tennessee thus far makes a lot of since..the guy can stop on a dime and can break tons of plays...he is a homerun hitter..he has size and all..many compare him to a taller percy harvin, that says a whole lot!!!

Rob OC,

Like I said, that's just my list.

There have been Mocks with the Dolphins taking Central Michigan's LT Eric Fisher. He was reportedly a beast at Mobile. Your guy Lane was repotedly 2nd best at Mobile.

So, in reality, who's to say Ireland wont go the direction youre sugesting with Johnson or Fisher. But Fisher may have firmly placed himself in the top 5 with Joekel.

Rob OC,

I believe the Redskins will resign Davis too. Remember, they cut Cooley in favor of him? No way do I believe they allow him to walk. Good young TE's are just such a hot commodity in today's nfl.

That's why Im not even fantasizing about getting any in fa. LOL...

i myself say draft tennessee wr patterson, sign wr wallace, draft tight end cook from south carolina...keep bess in slot...keep bush as rb...defenses would fear all that speed and playmaking ability....then draft defensive end or safety or corner ....they cant hold off on surroun ding tannenhill or be cheap about doing it...tannenhills upside is very very hi...

I think Miller has game but I would try to go with Miller as the lead and sign Reggie to more of a share the load type contract.

I know Reggie wants to be a starter but I'm not sure where he will get any team to make him the workhorse we made him the last two years. Reggie has to think "Prolong my career" to get more paydays instead of one last big giant one.

He is a consummate pro and team player. He has no off the field junk. He has been relatively healthy the last two years. He has a decent amount of long plays this past two years. Top notch receiving back. If he signs a contract for 5 million or a lower one with more incentives then I'd be golden.

I don't look at Reggie as a must have piece but one with great value in many aspects of the game. If some team wants to pay him 6-7 million or more...then Miller will be the man coupled with a draft pick.

I still try to ditch Thomas but Ireland won't expose himself to that criticism. Sad that he has to be hidden on the roster not pulling his 2nd round weight.


i agree, lt jake long don't fit zone blocking style anyways, philbin likes more athletic tackles for shermans system...wr hartline is decent but will be to costly and he dont break enough plays...i would not allow reggie bush to walk this offseason so fast unless your 100% sure about his replacement! maybe ireland has more up his sleeves to land miami an extra hi pick or two...then free agency they gotta be aggresive fast! know their game plan and roll with it..


If the Titans and Skins sign their current FA TE's (which is entirely possible/likely) then I would simply go with Fauria / Fasano tandem and adjust of I need to next year.

Fasano could be a replaceable TE in 2014 in this scenario.


Rob and YG,

My early thinking was that Jennings would be the right fit for the obvious reason of cost, familiarity with the system, and he's not a diva.

After reading one writer say fairly emphatically that it was Wallace that the Dolphins covet I changed my thinking a litte.

Not that I think the reporter particularly knows what he's talking about but it kind of lines up more with what the Dolphins are saying and how much they say their gonna spend on a wr.

I would take either one. I would even be glad to get Bowe in lieu of Bess being the only somewhat proven vet on the roster.


I like Patterson, has great potential, but still a project. Plus, he's never had as many balls thrown his way as he will have as a potential #1 wr in the nfl. He probably needs to be broken in as a #2 wr the first couple of seasons.

Prolem with that is, if you sign Wallace to boot, Wallace isnt regarded a #1 wr either. Wallace maybe a bit of a project himself with the sudden move to #1 wr.

Patterson only had 47 receptions last season. That's on the low side for even a #2 wr coming out of college. No way to tell if he can be a 75-80 reception #1 wr. Thats the minimum of receptions you want to expect from a very good #1 nfl wr. He could at least be a couple seasons away to putting up those numbers.

Its such a gamble.


Thats exactly the way I would approach Bush. Simularly to what YG said about Freeny. I think Bush would possibly be open to a differnet role but I'm sure his agent will push him to seek more money.

They question is will someone pay him? The other question is do the Dolphins really see him fitting into their offense anyway?

Rob OC,

From what I get from scouting reports, Fauria is more like Fasano 2.0, a possession and redzone type. Not a great seamthreat. Eiffert threatens the seam better than both. Thats why I choose Effiert.

After Seiffert Im a little torn with going with Fauria or rolling the dice on Toilolo who's 6'8, trheatens the seam, more like Jimmy Graham(6'8).


I would caution about getting too caught up in hype machine media making Patterson or Allen too far ahead of some of the "other" good WR's in the draft.

I am not sure if you know but the success rate on first round picks is generally between 50-60%. That is the first round!

QB Joe Montana 3rd round
QB Tom Brady 5th round
RB Alfred Morris 7th round
TE Gronkowski 2nd round
TE Hernandez 4th round
WR Coulston 7th rounder
LB Zack Thomas 5th rounder

My point is...players are in every round. The first rounder's many times don't outperform some drafted behind them. Another case in point the Pats drafted Vareen in the 2nd and RB Ridley later...but who is starting? Ridley is.

Let's make a gentleman's bet. We can each take a guy. You can have WR Patterson in the first and I will take WR Wheaton in the 3rd. If both are healthy going into the season lets see who has better stats?

It should be totally unfair my 2nd or 3rd rounder for your 1st? I don't think the production will be crazy different.

What do you say?


My problem with Wallace is he isnt a true #1 wr. Then acquiring him and resigning Hartline thinking that solves the wr issues.

Hartline proved he could get the amount of receptions to be regarded as a #1 wr. But the td total was absolutely pathetic. Not even 4th wr worthy.

Rob OC,

I see Markus Wheaton had 76 receptions compared to 47 for Patterson. So yes, I believe he could have a far faster start to his nfl career than Patterson.

With Patterso, because of his low college workload, he could be 2-3yrs before he really breaks out and achieve his forecasted potential.

Clearly, Wheaton's better prepared to have the greatest impact right away.

go finssssssss

Patton's another latter rd prospect lauded with great potential. He's worthy of taking a long look at too.

Dolfan Rick,

True. We don't know if the lack of a contract offer is trying to soften up Reggie for a more team friendly contract or they truly don't have him in their plans at all.

Seems many articles written about him being gone so maybe where there is smoke...?

I would like to see him stay a Fin as he has found the end zone, has had some huge days, and has ALL the intangibles of a good team player that works hard. I just hope if they let Bush walk, they have a better plan then just Miller and the pop goes the weasel Thomas.

Maybe Gray off injury is all healed up???


Rob, I enjoyed our day at the mall. And those shoes you picked out are FABULOUS!! Enjoyed the Appletini's too! xoxo

Actually if I had a certain amount of cap money left and had to decide between resigning Hartline and resigning Bush. I wouldnt hesitate to make it Bush.

Bush had 6 tds in 2013 compared to only 1 for Hartline. My final decision would be based on who's shown the greatest ability to get my team into the endzone. Its more difficult to win when you struggle to score.

YG @ 2:08 Good post!

I would answer the #1 Wallace question as thus...

West Coast Offense is suppose to not be as dependent on a number one WR. They are suppose to spread it around and hit the open man rather than have a "throw it to Marshall 60%-70% of the time" type approach.

I feel with gaining some other weapons at WR and TE then Wallace doesn't have to catch 110 balls like Welker to be good.

If he gave us 9-11 TDs and caused the DEF to back up and opened our running lanes and underneath stuff more I would say that he did his job.

It's hard for me to see a 100 catch guy in this offense although Tannehill seemed to radar lock on Hartline a lot. Not sure if that was by feel or design or just the simple lack of options? May be a combo of all.


You are welcome Cindy.

Its more difficult to win when you struggle to score.

Posted by: Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | February 10, 2013 at 02:30 PM

Can I write that one down? Such wisdom in that statement. It's as if the ancient Oracles of Greek antiquity came upon you to bestow such insight and clarity.

Can you also clarify if the team scoring more points in a game usually wins? I have heard this rumored.

YG...keep it under your hat man! I am trying to win a bet with mj regarding his 1st rounder vs my NON 1st rounder. ROFLMAO!

Right on bro. I have ear marked and zero'd in on Wheaton and Patton (Also include Goodwin in the mix) as all having great return on investment potential.

They could come in and help prop up our vanilla player offense to an exciting, find the endzone much more often type affair.

Getting these players later would allow for drafting a few studs to fill other roles early.

You have some very cool plans for the Fins YG...lets hope the Fins are thinking along the same lines as you and I.


Rob OC,

Even Wallace isnt always going to be open. From what I read from the experts, the west coast consists of a bunch of short to intermediate digs and slant routes.

Wallace wasnt running the digs in Pittsburgh. He wasnt running short slants. Regardless of what some say about no true #1 wr in the west coast offense, it doesnt change the fact that the qb still has read progression.

Still your best wr would be considered progression #1 whther you wanna call him a #1 wr or not. He's still the "first progression" read.

Gotta go grab lunch.


Rob OC,

Time for a break and fresh air. Im out brother, have a great day.

If he gave us 9-11 TDs and caused the DEF to back up and opened our running lanes and underneath stuff more I would say that he did his job.

Posted by: Rob in OC | February 10, 2013 at 02:33 PM

This is why I think I prefer Wallace over Jennings and Hartline and / or a rookie over Bess. What the WCO has always been about is YAC.

Bess has good quicks to get open and good hands to make the catch. He doesn't have break away speed though and isn't big enough to break tackles.

I kind of like Tavon Austin. Small but fast, 29 TDs in college.

If Ireland does not sign Reggie Bush to a 3 year deal in the vecinity of 4.5 million per he does not deserve to be in that position. Reggie scores touchdowns isn't that what this team needs? Playmakers? He works hard gives great effort and is explosive and scores TD's. I am really confused as is Reggie as to why Daniel Thomas is thought of as a better player by Mr. Ireland is totally whacked.........

I will be thinking about Serbia and heirloom tomatoes during today's Heat/Lakers game.

Smiff just wants to get paid..Im not so sure that he would work hard after that cheddar starts coming in...

Agreed ART..we better keep Bush. He's a playmaker period on any down. KEEP BUSH

From Barry Jackson

"Some Dolphins free agents are frustrated Ireland has made unappealing contract offers or none at all. But he often waits until the NFL Combine in late February to get serious. Players can sign with other teams starting March 12."

I'm sorry I just hate that mind set. Reminds me so much of Parcells' rigidity & stubbornness. This is a really big off season for this organization & it really pisses me off the way Ireland goes about it. You think Ozzie Newsome is not willing to talk to Flacco & his agent or Ed Reed until a certain date in the month??? No f#cking way.

Aside from Ireland's incompetence which is BY FAR mybiggest issue, I really can't stand the arrogance. He needs to drop the ego but I guess when you have a 'lifetime contract' with the owner that says no matter how much you lose I still won't fire you he's not going to change a damn thing.

If I'm Hartline I MIGHT say....'You know what Jeff, go f#ck yourself & your 7-9 team. You had a chance to extend me & you chose to low ball me instead. I'm tired of the losing already. Let's see how many game syou win w/o me next year & if the Patriots make me an offer I'm going to burn you twice a year--just like Welker has--for the next five years.'

Smiff just wants to get paid..Im not so sure that he would work hard after that cheddar starts coming in...


He's not that good to begin with. This idea of paying inconsistent players elite money is absurd. If another team wants to shell out big money for Smith & Long go right ahead. Neither player is irreplaceable. Going to be harder to replace Hartline & Starks IMO.


What the Hell are you talking about? ALL teams work this way. Tell me one team who's gone out and signed one of their FAs right now to a long term contract? NOBODY. Arrogance? It's HOW business is done. So why doesn't Ozzie just run out and sign Flacco tomorrow. Because there's something called NEGOTIATIONS involved. You just want to run out and hand these guys whatever they want. That's NUTS. Ireland and company are still in the midst of preparing for the draft and that plays a part in negotiations too. They're all sitting around right and discussing which way they should go with this. They're in the midst of having negotiations with Hartlien, Smith and Long right now. Patience bud....this is how business is done in the NFL. Arrogance has NOTHING to do with it.

bush isnt needed, we have miller

I'm not sure we have any MUST resigns on the team. I believe you could make a case for Hartline, Bush or Long being the closest things we have to resigns but all of them have question markets and limits to what we should pay them. It's all a jigsaw puzzle and it could go MANY different ways. The problem is if we sign one of these guys it takes away money that could be spent on somebody else. Lots to be done and lots of questions to be answered. For me the two guys I'll be pissed at if Ireland overpays for are Smith and Starks. I also don't believe Long deserves anything close to $10 mil a year and that would be a mistake too.

I own a business. Can I get a handout from the taxpayers too??

i think starks and hartline our the 2 free agents we need to keep

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