Watching from the sideline as NFL teams are beginning to divest of talent for salary cap reasons, I assume you know the Dolphins don't have to cut any players for cap reasons but might want to do that with a couple of guys anyway.
I posted that potential Dolphins list right here a couple of weeks back.
But as this is a lead-the-pack blog not a catch-up blog we move forward to my next thought: And that is this is the time of year teams begin to inventory their talent and see how it fits and where it is lacking and how to make that which does not fit pay some sort of dividend.
And in pondering that, I look squarely at Jared Odrick.
Odrick is a Dolphins defensive end who just finished his third season with the team.
And he is interesting because he simply doesn't fit right now.
Although defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle defended Odrick during the season and made the point the kid is fine as a 4-3 defensive end, the truth is Odrick is not fine as a 4-3 defensive end. Odrick was drafted in 2010 by a team that ran a 3-4 defense to play five-technique. The five technique in the 3-4 is called the defensive end, but he's really more like a tackle.
The 3-4 defensive end has to be a great run-stopper and generally is a 300-pounder. If that player can rush the passer that's a huge plus, but it's not the end of the world if he's more of a run-stopper. And for that assignment Odrick is well-suited.
Odrick is a good run-stopper and has 11 sacks in 33 NFL games, which would be very good for a 3-4 DE.
But the Dolphins no longer run the 3-4. They are primarily a 4-3 team and the requirements for the defensive end in that alignment are different. A 4-3 DE must be a pass-rusher because that scheme doesn't employ linebackers to be the primary pass rushers. The ends are the primary pass rushers. And while the 4-3 DE should be solid against the run, that is not how they make their big money.
So to recap: A 4-3 DE must be a fine pass-rusher and run-stopping comes second. A 3-4 DE must primarily be an excellent run-stopper and pass rushing is secondary.
Everything about Jared Odrick screams 3-4 DE.
And having him out there as a 4-3 DE tells me the Dolphins don't have a legit 4-3 DE as a starter opposite Cameron Wake.
So what to do?
Well, the Dolphins will be looking to add a better fitting 4-3 DE somewhere in the draft. If they don't, something is wrong. And if that draftee becomes, well, a player then perhaps the Dolphins can toy with the idea of moving Odrick inside as a defensive tackle, where he's probably better suited.
If I were running the team or helping the general manager run the team, I'd be standing on the table suggesting the team trade Jared Odrick.
He's not a fit for the scheme. He was an investment for the last scheme and the last scheme is long gone. He's still got value around the NFL because a lot of NFL teams run 3-4 defenses. But his value is greater to those teams than the Dolphins. Remember that the St. Louis Rams paid $6 million per season to Kendall Langford to sign as a free agent 3-4 DE. If Randy Starks hits free agency, he'll be asking upwards of $8 million per season.
Odrick is going to cost $700,000 next year and only $765,000 in 2014. That's a long way from $6-$8 million.
It makes sense to put Odrick on the trade block because perhaps a team such as Denver or San Francisco might give up a very low first-rounder for him. Or a team like Oakland might give up a very high second or third rounder for him -- assuming it has that ammunition.
I cannot be certain this is true because he's not on the trade block right now. But you put him there to gauge interest. Let's see what happens. One cannot catch fish unless you dangle bait.
(And now the peanut gallery complains that Odrick is a former first-round pick and giving him up for anything less than a first rounder is bad value).
Look, it's not a great situation. But did you read the part where he's not a fit at DE for a 4-3 team? Remember that part? This is a huge year for linemen in the draft. Perhaps giving up some value to get a pick that will bring a legitimate 4-3 DE is better than using a shoehorn to try to make a 302-pound 3-4 end fit the 4-3.
The Dolphins can take the draft pick it gets for Odrick and use it or add it to other ammo they already have in the first couple of rounds of this coming draft to trade up for a better player.
And that player might actually be a fit for the schemes the Dolphins now run.