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2 posts from March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Smith, Long not necessarily gone from Dolphins

The assumption relative to the Dolphins and free agency is that Mike Wallace will be coming and several players will be leaving. Well, that might not be fully the case.

Prospective free agent cornerback Sean Smith isn't a certainty to leave, a league source tells The Herald's Adam Beasley. And prospective free agent left tackle Jake Long isn't a certainty to leave, a league source tells me.

Meanwhile, you know I've reported Reggie Bush is pretty much gone and that is still the expected course.

[Update: Detroit is interested and the Bengals may join the fray, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.]

So let's retrace:

Agent David Canter, who represents Smith, is said to be negotiating with multiple teams. And as the last time Canter was juggling teams his client Paul Soliai picked a return to the Dolphins for less money -- even as Canter had him set to get on a plane to visit another team -- it opens the door that Smith is still in play -- particularly since a source is saying as much.

For Long, the Dolphins want him back. But they don't want to back the Brinks truck to his front lawn. And Long wants that Brinks truck visit. So the market will  determine his worth. If the market for Long is as cold as has been reported in some sectors, including profootballtalk.com, then the Dolphins will be in the hunt.

[Update: Tampa Bay is among the teams interested in Smith.]

If the market for Long is as rich as he hopes and believes, then he's likely gone because the Dolphins will be outbid for a player with an injury history the past two seasons.

The answers will likely come quickly starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Dolphins interested in Rashard Mendenhall

The Dolphins will obviously add a running back to compete if Reggie Bush is allowed to walk in free agency as I've reported. Bottom line, they need more bodies because Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Jonas Gray and Marcus Thigpen aren't enough bodies to take to training camp.

And a competition between Miller and Thomas for the starting job seems less that inspiring because Miller seems to clearly be the better back.

But Rashard Mendenhall to the Dolphins?

Well, that's the buzz going around the NFL as voiced most loudly by NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah on his twitter feed over the weekend. Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, obviously has connections around the league so he's as credible as most.

But Rashard Mendenhall to the Dolphins?

Apparently the Dolphins are eyeing more than one prospective Steelers free agent. Obviously the Dolphins cannot sign Mendenhall until 4 p.m. on Tuesday when unrestricted free agency's signing period begins. So we're talking interest in the abstract right now.

But Mendenhall is an interesting guy.

Yes, he has loads of talent. Yes, he is a load himself at 5-10 and 225 pounds. Yes, he is very fast, having clocked in the 4.4s coming out of college. He was even fast enough to be Pittsburgh's kickoff return man earlier in his career.

Mendenhall, 25, also has two 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, those coming in 2009 and 2010.

But Mendenhall is something of an enigma and 2012 was a disaster for many reasons.

In January 2012 he suffered a torn ACL injury to a knee and had to spend his entire offseason rehabilitating the injury. Unlike Adrian Peterson who recovered from a similar injury like a champion, Mendenhall languished and simply wasn't the same player.

He not only played only six games but languished by gaining 3.6 yards per carry. And when coaches didn't think he was trying very hard, they deactivated him for a game against San Diego. Well, Mendenhall didn't bother to show up for that tilt. And so he was suspended for the next game against Dallas.

Mendenhall also stirred some controversy in May 2011 when he got on twitter and chided Americans for celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden. One of his tweets seemed to suggest he didn't blame bin Laden for 9-11 by raising the possibility of a conspiracy theory.

Mendenhall tried to walk back his position by first tweeting he was just trying to stir conversation and then apologized outright through the Steelers. But Champion Sporting Goods dropped Mendenhall from an endorsement deal.

Mendenhall's, cough, interesting history, diminished production, and Pittsburgh's difficult salary cap situation are undoubtedly reasons the Steelers haven't re-signed the player. That the Dolphins are reportedly interested in Mendenhall -- something I've not idenpendently confirmed -- might be yet another example of the paradigm shift the team is undergoing in its approach to free agency.

The Denver Broncos are also reportedly interested in Mendenhall.