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The Miami Dolphins tackle direction

PHOENIX -- Remember the names Sebastian Vollmer, Eric Winston, or any of a number of draft picks on the board that might be able to play left tackle, including Oklahoma's Lane Johnson.

All are options the Dolphins have confirmed to me, through sources, they will study in an effort to fill the void left by Jake Long's signing with St. Louis.

But for the moment, and perhaps much longer, Miami's new left tackle is Jonathan Martin. The man who played the spot last season when Long went on his now habitual December injured reserve sabbatical  is today the Dolphins new left tackle.

"Right now he is," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said today at the NFL annual meeting.

Are the Dolphins upset Jake Long is gone?

Yes. And no.

The team will miss his grittiness. The players may miss his leadership. 

"I've got nothing but LOVE for Jake! The Rams just got themselves one hell of a leader! Not to mention the toughest dude I know," guard Richie Incognito tweeted today.

But Miami's coaching staff and personnnel departments were ready for this possibility. They set a price for Long -- that was not as high as what the St.  Louis Rams gave him, but in the ballpark. And although the club could have increased its offer to Long, they really didn't to any significant degree.

In the end, as I wrote here, Long picked the team that offered him the most money and with whom he felt most comfortable. A source close to Long told me this morning the Rams simply made Long feel more wanted. (Obviously the money was part of that but there were other issues at play including lifestyle issues.)

So where do the Dolphins go from here?

The club is closing in on finalizing a deal for Nate Garner, according to The Herald's Adam Beasley, but that is not the answer. Garner is viewed by the team as a solid and valuable backup tackle who can start in a pinch. But, again, he is not the long-term answer.

A club source told me this morning the team plans a corresponding move to upgrade the offensive line. That move isn't necessarily the signing of a left tackle. Indeed, the best offensive lineman on the market now is New England's Sebastian Vollmer, who is a right tackle.

It is possible the Dolphins go after Vollmer to upgrade at right tackle and move forward with Martin at left tackle. It must be noted that Vollmer comes with red flags. He missed all of training camp last year with back issues. He played throughout the season, even practicing during the week, but the back was constantly an issue for him.

He also suffered back issues in 2011.

So the Patriots have not bent over backwards (pardon the pun) to re-sign Vollmer.

Eric Winston is a short-term possibility. He's been cut two consecutive offseasons and that speaks to his relative value or over-value in some sense. If the Dolphins show interest in Winston, and they have not yet, it will likely be as a stop-gap situation -- perhaps a one- or two-year deal. Winston is also a right tackle.

If the Dolphins wanted to make a commitment at left tackle, I suppose they could chase Andre Smith. Hard to believe they'd do that. Smith has struggled with weight issues in the past. He solved those last year but, of course, that was his contract year.

He is a mauler. He was good last year, but not great. He wants big money.

I'm thinking Smith is not a Dolphins kind of guy. He's not a great system fit. He's doesn't sound like a Joe Philbin guy. He's expensive. And there are lots better (also cheaper) options in the draft.

Bryant McKinnie?

Don't see it. He's going to be 34. He was a backup for Baltimore all of last year until the playoffs because he was out of shape. He finally got in shape in time for the playoffs and played very, very well. McKinnie also has obvious South Florida ties as a former University of Miami player.

But, again, he's not a system fit. He's not a Philbin kind of guy. He's a guy that you have to worry about being out late at night at the local clubs. He's going to be 34. Did I mention that?

Maybe he's an short-term injury option. Maybe he's a desperation pickup after the draft. I don't see him as the answer now.

Comments

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Kris, no question Keller and Fasano are the same players...But Fasano is a good #2 TE...He can excel at being a #2...Just like he did in 2008 when the team had David Martin...Problem is he's not a #1...He's just a very good blocker who can make a nice catch here and there...Not a lot of speed...I could of lived with him as a #2, depending on the money of course...

this is not a 3 or 4 year rebuild. you don't spend this kind of money in a rebuild

Should of said AREN't the same players...Sorry about that...

Posted by: Sammo | March 18, 2013 at 04:12 PM

Sammo,

Sanchez was actually a better qb with Keller healthy than without. Keller was always a security blanket for him.

Nfl.com saying Osi drawing interest from Dolphins. Without Jake, frees up some money and possibly some nice bargains now.

Martin was an awful LT.....you can look it up.

What good are all the targets we've acquired if Tanny's running for his life.

The moment Ireland lost Long was a the moment our fate was sealed.

Jake----Good Bye, Sweet Prince. Who will protect us now that our Mountain Man is gone?

Funny how the same 3 players who weren't happy with Philbin last year are now history...Coincidence I guess...LOL!!

jmike, and I can find some that have him as an OT ... I think the point is that it is up to the decision makers how they see him I guess ..

So, how do you like my favorite Players in the Draft, YG? I showed you Vaccaro and you seemed to like his abilities.

OSI could be hungry again. he is not an everydown player...probably a 3rd down player...

Montreal, yeah I was impressed with how Bryant played in the playoffs too. problem is hee seems to need a babysitter but on talent alone ... yeah he's a great one or two year option.

Also believe the Fins are not done in CB position. Woodson hasn't signed, Grimes hasn't signed, Antonio Winfield not signed, couple guys still out there.

Dolphins didnt see Long as a long term player and they did the right thing by letting the Rams have him. Yeah, he might be good this season or next but Longs gonna break down again and again.

Philbin wants new leaders on the team...Pouncy, Tannehill, Hartline and maybe a guy like Charles Woodson too...


this is not a 3 or 4 year rebuild. you don't spend this kind of money in a rebuild

Posted by: wallyfin | March 18, 2013 at 04:32 PM

I dont get it. We may have overspent on Wallace only.

How can you count Ellerbe and Wheeler. That was an "OFFSET EXPENDITURE". We actually saved MILLIONS in 2013 cap money dumping Dansby/Burnett. So why are you people continuing to see this as a FA cost?

We spent a little to save a lot. Dansby/Burnett actually makes the 2013 salary cap hit higher. Where's your mathematic logic in this?

So other than Wallace, Gibson, and Keller we took on no new costs. Gibson and Keller were signed for a "happy meal".

Even if we sign a LT in fa, its going to cost 2-3 million less than signing Jake Long. Overall, our 2013 salary cap decreased as a result of these moves.

So where the hell is the spending spree you guys keep harping about. Your arguments are totally baseless.

Problem is there are no skill Players worth a #10+up this year in the Draft. Then, look for nonskilled Players higher up and skilled positions farther down in the Draft.

There WILL be a run on DEs and DTs in the top Twenty this year. That should open space later for some very good skill Players.

Why you no answer me, YG?

YG.
I don't have an issue with who LEFT.
But I do see a curious pattern with what replaces them.

I have not been an Ireland fan. But I simply want him to do the best job possible with the Dolphins.
Some moves I like, some seem like questionmarks.

But he IS painting himself in a corner with the draft. BPA isn't possible. Why does someone who claims BPA is his core philosophy do that?

Where is Linda Robertson?

#1....

That seems to be the consensus on this blog...that Fasano was a good #2....I disagree...

I disliked seeing Fasano in a FINs uniform with a passion....

I'm glad he is gone...and I was pi$$ed the day i found out that Ireland had extended his contract after that throw back pass against the Browns a few years back....

That was maybe Fasano's game changing play he made ALL year....

#notfan

Free agency is not over. Hope we pick up a corner or to before the draft so we can choose BPA. MY hope is Warmack is there and we get him, Lane Johnson is nother good get but if they are gone trade down for more DBs or TE.

Trade Warmack as soon as we get him. He don't fit our System.

If OT - Lane johnson last until we pick at #12 he will probably be our pick, but I have a feeling all 3 OT's (Joekel, Fisher & Johnson) will be taken by the time we pick. Personally I think Miami's best propect for the # 12 pick is OG - Johnathan Cooper. They say he is a super athletic perfect fit for a zone offense & he is ranked as a top 20 pick. I think Miami will target a couple CB's & another OT in the 2nd & 3rd round of the draft.

They say, Rick? You haven't bothered to check Jonathan Cooper out? You should, it's worthy.

We would prefer, hmmm, more ample-minded Posters here. But, oh, well...

Mostly everybody is saying that Chance Warmack is without a dought the best player in the draft. Yet a lot of draft experts compair Warmack & Johnathan Cooper as close talent wise. That tells you how good Cooper is as well & being that he is perfectly suited for a zone blocking scheme makes him a perfect Miami Dolphins pick in my book. Oh by the way Rithie Incognito is a FA next year & John Jerry will be a FA soon also.

Ho!

Nearly everyone just glossed right over the "lifestyle issues" part of that column.

I know the popular perception is that EVERYBODY wants to come to South Florida, but the hard reality is far different.

A lot of coaches and athletes over the years have avoided the Miami area entirely or sought to escape it. The "excitemet" many of you see in living there (which is certainly your right) produces nausea in many others.

Know why Jim Langer left the Dolphins many years ago? Hated living down there. Troy Vincent took less money to come home to Philly than remain in a city he disliked. Nick Saban might still be on the sidelines if he and his wife hadn't hated South Florida's lifestyle so much.

You can add Jake Long to that group. THAT'S why he's gone, folks. He's also gentlemean enough not to broadcast it to everyone.

Hey all you armchair GM's, armchair owners, armchair scouts, armchair coaches and armchair idiots...

Newsflash! Not a single one of you posting here are paying for these players out of your own pocket, none of you are drafting any players in April, and none of you are evaluating any players, except for your own personal pleasure. Get a life, please...lol.

IT'S HARD TO SEE WHAT DIRECTION THE DOLPHINS WILL GO IN THE DRAFT EXCEPT AT SOME POINT A PASS RUSHER AND A CB HAS TO BE ADDRESSED! IF GRIMES IS HEALTHY AND WORTH A DEAL THAN SIGN HIM! IF JOHNSON OR KYLE LONG(LIKE HIM) ARE AVAILABLE IN THE 2ND ROUND THAN MY CHOICE WILL BE TO MOVE UP AND DRAFT DE FROM BYU! HE IS REAL DEAL AND WITHIN 2 YEARS WE WOULD HAVE BOTH HE AND VERNON READY WHEN WAKE STARTS TO SLOW! IF WAKE IS STILL DOMINATE THAN WE HAVE 3 VERY GOOD DE! IF WE ARE SET ON THE OL THAN DRAFT A FAST WR AND 2 CB IF WE DON'T SIGN GRIMES! WE MUST HAVE ANOTHER SPEED DEEP THREAT RECEIVER AS A BACKUP! BUT NOT A TOP PRIORITY ! I LIKE WHAT JEFFY HAS DONE SO FAR AND IF HE DUPLICATES THE SUCCESS WITH THE DRAFT THAN FROM THAT POINT ON HE WOULD HAVE DONE HIS JOB IN UPGRADING THIS ORGANIZATION WITH GOOD YOUNG TALENT! PHILBIN IS A GOOD COACH AND BARRING INJURIES I SEE 10-WIN SEASON!! BUT MUST ADDRESS DE/CB SITUATIONS!! GO DOLPHINS! GOOD JOB SO FAR JEFF!! CAN'T BELIEVE I DID'T CALL HIM JEFFY!!

To each It's own.

2008 Draft Grade - F+

Mark in Toronto, his dad has called him the most athletic in the family. This is one of the guys who we can develop through the Draft IMO who can be a monster player for us for years to come. Have to see how this plays out

Posted by: bobbyd12 | March 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM
----------
(in reference to Howie Long's son)..
I'd claim my daughter is the best vocalist in Nashville if it would get her more sessions at more $$$. That's a dad's gig! LOL
What's Howie gonna say, "my son is a fat lazy slob with no vertical and a gimpy knee?
That said, often, an apple doesn't fall far from there tree. In Mike Golic's case, better that it does.

naples dave, Houck was a Fins coach during Saban's regime, I believe?

Posted by: Aaron Sedelmeter | March 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM

-------------
So why are you here?
Do us all a favor and watch another episode of Dancing with the Stars.

With long moving on nearly everything parcells did while here has been turned over. Definitely tells you Ireland and bill weren't on the same page as far as personnel goes. I like Ireland's team better. Younger and faster. Lets hope it looks as good on the field as it does on paper!!

Wow fed up is a serious jets fan.... put revis's crack pipe down and slowly back away...

I dont understand Winston as a one year stop gap. He rates fairly well among right tackles. He has been healthy. He can be had for far less than Vollmer. He is 29. Why can he not remain a dolphin for at least 4 years for example- he will still only be 33 at that point. I just think he is more than a 1 year stop gap and he will come affordably. This way, the Dolphins can draft and develop a tackle or two from this draft. Andre Smith is a lazy piece of dung- not a fit for Philbin. Vollmer, though talented, has had an injurt history. If you arent going to pay Jake long 8 mill you cant pay Vollmer 7 mill going by their respective injury histories.

Does anyone on this blog know why Eric Winston is not on the Dolphins by now? Am I missing something?

No way we pick an OL with the 12th overall. It will deflate everything they've accomplished in the offseason. We need playmakers early, especially considering there is considerably depth at OL in later rounds.

Right now we need (in order):
-Playmaker (Austin)
-TE that can make plays and block (Eiffert or Ertz)
-CB (Slay, Poyer)
-OL (D. Thomas, J, Pugh, D. Quessenberry)
-DE (B. Jenkins)

I am hoping the team does bring Grimes and either Vollmer or Winston and even a vet like Freeney for this formula to succeed.

Naples Dave,
You are 100% correct. I lived in Boston when we grabbed Yeatman off waivers and indeed they were very upset, something they typically hate to admit. Yeatman is the kind of player Philbin loves, and if your report is accurate, damn that guy can flat out play football and could become a terrific tackle.

The problem I see though is what to do with Martin. He has to show significant improvement and the will to play either LT or RT at a high level.

I will be confident I've read this exact same sort of affirmation somewhere else, it should be gaining interest with all the world.

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