Jake Long is back in South Florida after his marathon visit to the St. Louis Rams. Interestingly, Elvis Dumervil, a Miamian, is also in South Florida because the place is his home.
Both are unrestricted free agents.
Both are very accomplished players at their positions.
Both have flags.
Both have been to the Pro Bowl.
Both are likely to get around $8 million per season from the next team they play for. Both want more but, hey, that's about the market right now, guys. Maybe even less.
So if you're Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland do you continue to try to re-sign Long as he's been doing for a couple of weeks now? Or do you shift focus to Dumervil?
After all, the Dolphins would like Long back as a blindside protector to Ryan Tannehill. But they would love a pass-rush phenom to place at the other defensive end position opposite pass-rush phenom Cameron Wake.
Two possibilities. Can't do both. What to do?
I conducted an unscientific twitter poll about this Friday. I got over 200 responses in five minutes. Fans voted 95 for Long, 84 for Dumervil, 15 for both and 10 for neither. There were other smartaleck answers as well but they didn't get counted.
Of course, what fans want doesn't much matter to the Dolphins. Sounds harsh but it simply is true. They conduct business based on what they believe is the proper course.
But this is where I fall on this one:
I cannot fathom the Dolphins selecting Dumervil over Long because it would upset their salary cap structure specifically as it relates to Wake. Remember Miami's Pro Bowl defensive end signed a five-year, $33.2 million contract with the Dolphins last year.
It was a brilliant deal by the Dolphins because a 15-sack pass-rusher is worth much more than $6.6 million per season. Michael Bennett, a one-year wonder nine-sack guy just got $5 million for one year from Seattle after visiting the Dolphins.
Well, if the Dolphins add Dumervil at $8 million per how is that going to sit with Wake?
Maybe Wake is a saint and sees it as help for the team which is awesome. Maybe Wake even looks at it as a being a help to him because suddenly offensive lines cannot always slide their protection to him. But maybe Wake sees it as screwy that he's making less than a teammate who last year accomplished less elsewhere.
No, that's not simple Xs and Os thinking. But any team that only considers Xs and Os and doesn't think about chemistry in the locker room is shortsighted.
So I suppose I agree with getting Long over Dumervil.
What if Long goes to another team? What if all the effort the Dolphins have made getting him is for naught. What if the cap space they budgetted for him suddenly comes free?
Well, then I would say go chase Elvis Dumervil.
Turn a loss into a win if you can. Draft a tackle in the first round and replace Long cheaply while making the defensive line a monster.
(Peanut gallery: But Mando, what about that chemistry issue with Cameron Wake?)
I call Wake and tell him the plan. I share with him that the move is afoot and it is meant to improve the team and take the team to the playoffs and perhaps even shorten Tom Brady's days in the AFC East. I make sure he understands he will benefit from this move.
I make sure he's on board. I don't give him the opportunity to complain.
And then I add a proven 9- to 17-sack guy.
Yes, he's short. Yes, he's 29.
But yes, he'd be a great addition.