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2 posts from March 28, 2013

March 28, 2013

Martin signs for 2 years, Grimes and Winston still lurking

Defensive tackle Vaughn Martin signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins today. He said he was on a plane headed to a free agent visit with Seattle when he heard he was signing with Miami.

He got off the plane and headed to the Dolphins training facility to sign.

The former San Diego 3-4 defensive end said he talked with New England, Kansas City, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia aside from the Chargers before signing with Miami.

"I want to be a part of it. I want to be here in South Florida. I want to help this team win," Martin said.

Martin trains with Mike Pouncey locally in Delray Beach. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland made it an offseason priority to add a defensive tackle -- once he decided to part ways with Tony McDaniel -- because he believes the defensive line is strong, he wants to have flexibility there, and he believe adding a tackle improves on both.

So the Martin addition is good. But the Dolphins are not done, or at least don't want to be done.

They still would like to add a cornerback. They still would like to add an offensive tackle. They'd like to do it cheaply in free agency.

Brent Grimes remains on the radar. He's being patient despite the fact the free agency market for cornerbacks was not good this year and it's even worse for a player such as him coming off Achilles' tendon surgery.

The Dolphins have some confidence they can land Grimes but they're not breaking the bank for the guy. So the sides that seemingly have each other in their sights are working slowly toward trying to make a deal happen.

The team is also keeping Eric Winston in mind but the interest there isn't quite suggesting he'll land in Miami.

Winston doesn't want a short-term deal. The Dolphins don't want to commit for four years or five years and they certainly do not intend to pay $5 million per year. Maybe half that. But not $5 million per.

So Winston is waiting.

"Obviously I have ties down in South Florida, I have a lot of friends down there from college that still live down there," Winston told the NFL Network today. "I know the area pretty well. Obviously that is an added bonus, being able to play for a franchise like the Dolphins.  Like I said, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out."

But ...

"Being down there is not the be all, end all," Winston continued. "I am excited about what is going to happen. It is a new chapter in my life and my family’s life. We are going to keep moving forward with this until something happens."

What's Winston looking for?

“The offense needs to fit what I have done," he said. "I have done a lot of zone-scheme in the past. Obviously a great place for a family, I have two kids and a wife, we want to be somewhere where it is nice. It is not a place where it has to be ‘this.’ Everything comes involved in it. The best situation will present itself. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for that to happen. Hopefully it will happen soon.”

 

Former Eagles owner versus the Dolphins: Bitter fight is on

Jobsfirst2
Jobsfirst1
Braman CRA

You see the three images above? They represent the evidence the Dolphins say they have that Norman Braman is a "hypocrite," as Mike Dee said Wednesday.

The first two images are evidence that Braman Motors, which Braman obviously owns, received $58,000 in state tax credits for job creation. The third image shows Braman Motors applied for, and was awarded, $150,358.60 in Community Redevelopment Agency funds from the city of Miami.

What's the point?

It's all about the fight to get public dollars for the Sun Life Stadium upgrades.

Braman, the former Philadelphia Eagles owner, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are fighting tooth and nail over this issue. And it is getting personal.

Braman has called Dolphins CEO Mike Dee "an a--hole." Ross has said Braman is "full of sh--."

Anyway, Braman explained the purpose of these funds to me in my column. It is a valid explanation and the funds went to a good cause. And the Dolphins say they accept the explanation. But they believe that if Braman is able accept public funds for his private business, he cannot say they shouldn't do the same even though he's getting hundreds of thousands of dollars and they would get hundreds of millions for the stadium.

"We have no problem with the fact that he applied for and received government aid to create jobs – that is the whole point of those programs and we applaud him for putting people to work," Dee told me in an e-mail. "We take exception, however, when he publicly chastises us for doing the same thing. That is the hypocrisy that he is at a loss to explain."

Well, as I write here this is about to get uglier.

Remember the term "smear campaign." You'll be hearing it in the very near future.