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Unrestricted free agency: Day two activities to watch

The second day of free agency is likely to bring another flurry of activity with Dolphins connections.

To start, the club is trying to upgrade at tight end after failing to land their prime target Jared Cook on Tuesday. Today, Jets tight end Dustin Keller is scheduled to visit with the team. If Keller doesn't work out, the club may look into Oakland's Brandon Myers.

Keller, 29 in September, has been a steady performer for the Jets but last season was hurt much of the time and only played eight games. He was known as one of quarterback Mark Sanchez's favorite targets when healthy.

Keller is not necessarily an all-purpose tight end as his blocking has been oft questioned in the past.

The Dolphins need a tight end after letting Anthony Fasano move on to Kansas City.

Offensive tackle Jake Long is in St. Louis to undergo a thorough physical. The Rams want to get their bearings on Long's injury status -- particularly with his left triceps, right biceps and both knees -- before they commit to paying him any sort of significant money as a free agent.

This should play out pretty simply:

If Long checks out medically to the team, the Rams will try to close Long. With Jermon Bushrod (Chicago) and Sam Baker (Atlanta) off the market, Long is considered the next best availableleft  tackle -- assuming he's in one piece.

The Dolphins would like to have Long back. But they don't want to overpay for a player they know has been medically, what's the word, predisposed to injuries the last couple of years.

They have what they believe is a good value placed on Long but if the Rams, who need desperately to protect quarterback Sam Bradford, place a higher value on Long, he's gone. If it's a tie, my guess is Long leaves.

This has been an emotional time for Long (who knew he had emotions) and he's been somewhat frustrated by the Dolphins not entirely trusting his health. By the way, I applaud the Dolphins for not trusting.

So really the only way the Dolphins keep him is by outbidding St. Louis. I suppose there is a chance Long takes other visits, but my guess is today will be a big day for him.

Today will probably also be a big day for Reggie Bush.

He is in Detroit to visit with the Lions. They are already on record as offering Bush a deal worth "well north of $3 million per season" and they want him as their lead running back.

So really, all that needs to work here is a fit and comfort level for Bush and the team. Yes, Bush has other suitors, most notably the Arizona Cardinals. But the Cards don't have much of an offensive line or proven answers at quarterback.

Bush is getting to that time in his career where he wants to be on a winner. The Lions offer that potential much more than the Cardinals do. Look for Bush to sign today as well if his questions are answered.

Bush isn't coming back to the Dolphins.

On yet another front, Sean Smith is a curious case. His agent was expecting a big market for his client but that big market didn't show up on the first day of free agency.

Indeed, the first day was something of a disappointment for the flooded cornerback market.

Darrelle Revis wasn't traded -- yet. Namdi Asomugha was cut by the Eagles, and the most notable signees were DeAngelo Hall in Detroit, Darius Butler in Indianapolis and Bradley Fletcher in Philadelphia.

Not exactly earth-shattering stuff.

Smith was originally supposed to visit Kansas City. But the Chiefs made other moves and are not bouyant in salary cap space. Agent David Canter also said Smith would be taking other trips but declined to name the teams.

Whenver an agent says that, he's trying to gain leverage for his client. Smith may indeed have multiple clubs wanting him to visit. But it's clear none at this point are willing to meet his demands of a contract that pays $8 million or so per year.

That kind of deal gets done quickly by a team with cap space and a strong conviction on a player. If Smith isn't done by the end of the day, it will strongly suggest no team is willing to do that kind of deal for him.

And with each passing hour, the chances of Smith returning to the Dolphins increase because, well, his market shrinks and looks closer to what Miami valued the player at. So today is huge for Sean Smith.

As to the players the Dolphins are still hoping to land, I keep hearing the name Brandon Gibson.

The Rams free agent wide receiver is visiting the Jets today. But he has other suitors. A league source said Gibson might take as many as four other trips -- with the Dolphins being one of them.

But ...

It's clear that in the preliminary talks Gibson's agent had with teams, the Jets stepped up the most and thus get the first visit. If the Jets don't close, the market for this receiver drops somewhat.

The Miami vision for Gibson is interesting. Yes, he's a wide receiver but he's very, very much a possession guy. He'd be a third wide receiver on the Dolphins behind Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. He might be a bigger Davone Bess.

And so if the Dolphins add Gibson, what are they going to do with Bess?

If the Dolphins do not re-sign Sean Smith, the club has free agent options but those will be of the cheap variety. Miami showed interest over the weekend in Detroit's Chris Houston and San Diego's Antoine Cason.

Houston, however,  was reportedly negotiating a three-year deal with the Lions on Tuesday. We'll follow how that plays out.

Cason is a player the Chargers would like back but at a reasonable price. He made $1.2 million in 2012. He's a big corner at 6-1 and he has 12 interceptions in his five-year career. I like him more than Smith, to be honest.

The Lions and Browns also have shown interest in Cason.

Brent Grimes is a player the Dolphins had some interest in but that seemed to cool somewhat even as other teams seemed more enthusiastic.

Derek Cox, formerly of Jacksonville, is also on the Miami radar. He fits Miami's desire for a big cornerback more than Grimes. He's 6-1. He's aggressive. He makes plays as his four interceptions in 12 games during 2012 attests. He has an injury history the past two years, but he finished strong last year. He's another one I like more than Smith.

[BLOG NOTE: Tuesday was the greatest single day for unique visitors and total page views in the seven-year history of my blog. I had as many visitors yesterday as I normally get in a week. But don't stop now. There will be lots of stuff going on today, so check back regularly for updates.]

 

Comments

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I would like to visit you site Armando and find new info before NFL.com. I really would. Inside source information is fun to hear about.

LOL, i heard about the Ellerbe signing while I was driving in rush hour traffic on the Gardiner Expressway on the radio and I almost ran my truck into the guardrail with excitement.

I always thought of him as I guy I'd like but thought as a luxury for this team considering the dead money on Dansby's deal... but Aponte earned her money yesterday finding a way to get this done without killing the team in 2013.

BOLD PREDICTION:

Welker back to Dolphins, sticking it to Bellichik.

I would love Welker in a deal that counts only 6 million against the 2013 salary cap slamming dick down Bellichik's throat!

Of course, this move could mean trading or releasing Bess to open up 3 million in cap space.

Ben Stein: Craig M? Craig M?......................Craig M?..................................................Craig M?.............................................................Craig M?..............................Craig M?..........................................

Andy - I mention T. Austin because of something said on Twitter by Darlington.

NFL Network reporter Jeff Darlington said. Not the exact quote but he mentioned that he'd heard some plans about the Fins draft that were intriguing. Some folks followed that up by saying what they thought that meant because Jeff Darlington sure didn't tell what that meant.

Most were saying that meant we're planning on trading up in the first. While possible I do not think that is likely. BUT what I am thinking is that we are strongly considering Tavon Austin at 12. I know I know, it is a little early for Austin but if we want to get him, it would have to be at 12.

Talk about having a dynamic offense. We'd have Wallace blowing the top off the D and Austin running free underneath. I do realize we're a long way from complete but I get a little excited thinking about the possibilities.

Dont see welker but that would be hilarious. Sure pats would replace him w bess or cruz though

I swear the emergence of Peyton Manning....Marvin Harrison...and Marshall Faulk is what forced Jimmy Johnson in to early retirement...."lost the fire my @ss"....dude saw that the Colts were gonna rule the divison for a long...long time....

(of course 2 or 3 years after he retrired the Colts moved to the South....and ruled that division)....

My point....

Tanne....Wallace....and unnamed RB has the chance to do the same thing to Belicheat...force him into retirement in a few years....


Andy, Texas, Warmack didn't do much at the combine. Today is Alabama's pro day. With most of their top prospects poo-pooing the combine, today is about as big a day as there is in the draft process.

As far as athletic interior lineman, what about Brian Schwenke of Cal? 3rd rd grade, 4.99, 31 reps, and showed pretty good agility. Either of you two seen this guy play much?

"Jaguars released WR Laurent Robinson.
Signed to a five-year, $32.5 million deal a year ago, Robinson's career is now in jeopardy thanks to four 2012 concussions. Although the Jags say he passed his exit physical, that doesn't mean he's been cleared to play again. As recently as a month ago, Robinson was still experiencing headaches and other concussion-related symptoms. He added that he felt light-headed during a workout Tuedsay. Robinson wants to play again, but we fear this is headed down the Jahvid Best path."

And people have the NERVE to say that we overpaid by re-signing Hartline. Hartline got less than this guy & he's done!!! That's a FA bust.

dusty,

We could trade Bess to someone for a 6th or 7th rd'er just to keep Bellichik's grubby mitts off of him. Its not a given Bellichick would end up with him.

dusty,

If Bellichik were crazy enough to offer a 2nd rd pick for Bess, then bam! Pull the fking trigger! LOL...

To Irelands credit he is being aggressive in free agency. All the moves he has made appear to be ones to acquire younger players, all the while reducing the salary cap.

I hope that all of these moves work out. I am not a big fan of using free agency to revamp your roster. In the past, I cannot recall a team in the NFL that used this strategy, and ended up being a contender. It seems more times then not, it ends up backfiring.

The Dolphins still have some glaring weaknesses. The offensive line, tight ends, and cornerback. In addition, they are going into the season at this point with two unproven running backs. One who has shown that he is vulnerable to concussions.

It looks like if this is going to be Irelands last year, he is going to go down swinging. I just hope he doesn't mortgage the teams future in order to save his ass.

WNP, that's a little harsh on Robinson. Poor guy gave it all on the field and got hurt being a warrior. Injuries happen ... just hope that guy gets to the point where he can enjoy his money without having to wear sunglasses inside.

Fins need to make a run at Bernard Pollard

WNP, he's not a bust, come on! He was released for a medical reason.

That's different than a signing like E. Wilford who turned out to be a pile of crap.

Theres a difference between being helathy & a lousy player & not being able to play because you're not healthy!

yes kris!!!!! man we are way to pumped but have to love it


Let's trade for Revis!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: RYBO | March 13, 2013 at 11:15 AM

I'm with it! Been saying it for weeks now with my buddies. I'll give them # 12 overall and a later pick (6th or 7th). He is better than ANY CB in the draft or on the market (and that includes Millner)! He shuts down half of the field or at worst, the other teams top WR.

Mark - I have seen only 1 CAL game this year so I'd just be going off what I saw at the combine and things said about him. For what I saw I would take a shot on Brian Schwenke in the third round.

David Quessenberry is another guy that may be a 4th rounder I'd take a shot on for the same reasons. Plus he's a OT.

Texas_Dolphin on Ireland,

I wouldn't put anything past Ireland at this point. He positioned himself to make bold and aggressive moves and turn over every stone and he appears to be in ALL OUT mode. Much applause! If you're considered on the hot seat and did a great job of creating cap room and getting draft picks for players you admitted that were bad fits then by all means go out swinging and he is.

I hope he keeps his job because that means all these signing worked!

As far as Tavon Austin at 12 I wouldnt put it past him. Ireland is identifying players he wants and getting his guy this year so I expect the draft to be more of the same which to me means that he could trade up, reach for Austin if he thinks he's a fit or even trade back. Who knows but he is being very creative for a change.

ravens released pollard

But 82% of it were 3 different trolls.

Posted by: Still flattered? | March 13, 2013 at 07:13 AM

What don't you understand about the words "unique visitors"?

Rhino,

How in the hell is Ireland mortgaging the future? In two signings he replaced Dansby/Burnett more cheaply.

Only player he possibly broke the bank with is Wallace, that's it. Crunch the numbers pal.

we dont have 16 mill a year to give revis

Wonder if the Ravens wouldnt like Bess now? Contrary to what some might believe, they need alot of help! Think about it:

Bess isn't fast, just like Boldin. Has good hands, just like Boldin. Just not as big but, would be 2 mil per year cheaper than what they wanted Boldin to take & is still young.

Maimi would just have to sign that FA WR before they shop him.

Watch highlights on Cook. I see him avoiding contact on the sidelines, stumbling into traffic and mostly just living off his size. Certainly talented but he doesn't initiate contact with undersized defenders like you'd want a man of that size to.

Just not worth up to 38.5 with 19 guaranteed.

Handing over the #12 and possibly another pick, and giving Revis 13 million. Thanks but no thanks. With Wallace at 13 million we're soon headed for cap pergutory.

Thats not to mention, no one knows how Revis comes off of reconstructive knee surgery last season. Again, no thx!

lawson to bills gradowski to steelers

Did we sign Dustin Keller yet? Im hearing the deal is good as done

Texas, Quizz is a guy that jumped out at me too (strong enough but extremely athletic - looks like a zone blocking dude). 4th round grade, what gives? Reid Fragel OT OhioSt is a converted TE who has muscled up to the OT position. 5th round grade but superior athleticism. Scouting reports say he didn't have the strength but 33 reps on the bench (tops for OTs) proved that wrong. And you'd have to think his footwork would be good - just maybe not experienced enough - that's ok - spend a 5th and stash him away.

I love Welker but we would be suckers if we gave him to the Pats for peanuts on his prime and then we get him back on somewhat of a decline.

That will not happen anyway, the trend has been set: younger and faster. And after the team works out Tavon Austin I've got a feeling he will leave the entire coaching staff salivating. Put him in the slot or occasionally opposite of Wallace and how on earth do you defend that???!!!

Add Hartline to the mix and at TE Tyler Eiffert (would have to trade up to get him), and Dustin Keller and watch out NFL!

AND also as important, Austin will also work out for the Pats. That alone makes it a MUST pick for us now.

So far so good, I like adding two young aggressive LB's that can actually find the QB, at the same cost this year, and much less next year...

TE, CB, and maybe T still needed in FA. Keller looks good to me along with Winston. Basically the CB will be swap, cause Patterson will be gone if we sign one, just like Dansby and Burnett

I smell a DE in the draft that can rush the QB, another CB, rest on Offense side of ball

I think Bess stays, unless we sign Gibson, then he could be gone, but maybe not, that would be decent 4 WR set

On the Ireland debate. I don't hate the guy, I've always been consistent in my dislike of his scouting abilities when it comes to wr/te prospects and he hasn't changed that view in my eyes as of yet (draft still coming).

He got Wallace because no one else was willing to pay the guy that much.

We replaced two linebackers who graded well in their own right to add two linebackers with different skill sets and similar grades.

We resigned a couple of free agents that we should have resigned.

Our main focus was and should still be building the offense around Tannehill. Ireland signed one WR and we are about to create holes at RB and Tackle. We lost our only experienced TE and still need a RG.

I'm just saying lets hold it down on the Ireland praise until the roster fills out. So far we have signed one WR and he still has tons of work to do.

I DON'T THINK WE ARE TOTALLY REVAMPING. I THINK WE GOT BETTER AND STRONGER. I KNOW WANT YOU MEAN ABOUT FREE AGENCY THAT YOU CAN'T BUILD A TEAM THAT WAY, BUT WE DO HAVE 9 DRAFT PICKS TO BUILD OUR FURTURE AROUND. LOKKS GOOD TO ME.

The modern fa era has prevented having a boatload of great players at nearly every position. Simple math says everyone wants to be paid and paid handsomely.

Like Parcells and Polian said in the espn special, in today's nfl, you have to pick and choose where you invest the bulk of your money.

Fins kind of dropped the ball here with the logo and jersey not being available.

Fans flock to the internet and stores for the jersey of their new free agent signing. Sure hope the team store and NFL Shop are warning buyers of the old design.

Miami added linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to huge contracts, then brought back safety Chris Clemons. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland is in a contract year, and he's getting desperate. Ellerbe is a nice player, but he has started 13 career games. Wheeler is one year removed from a cheap one-year contract in Oakland. Ireland is buying high.

Ireland doesn't have to look far to realize the folly of paying good players huge money in free agency: He released linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett on Tuesday. Dansby once was the highest-paid inside linebacker in football. .

Posted by: Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | March 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM
You guys act as if dansby was a problem on the defense..... Did you watch our defense? it was the pass that kicked us in the month week-in and week-out. Dansby was release main part that he fits a 3-4 defense better and his contract. He play was good and above average in the league but, he was being paid as the best Linebacker in the league that was the reason he was let go. Miami been high on wheeler since he left indy so had to release Burnett if you want wheeler to play. Misi is cheap and he played pretty good last year. Why we moving so much simple answer "MONEY" (production for price)

Yesterday's Gone, Weren't you the one debating me on Bess' worth to the team? We were going back and forth, I said he was a slot receiver and you were pointing out he doesn't have many TDS so he's not worth keeping or something like that? Was that you I was talking with?

dansby was awful, he couldnt cover any te in nfl. dude was huge free agent bust

Kris, I heard you actually poo=poo the KC Fasano signing but given they already have their seam threat in Moeaki, they probably intend to employ Fasano in the same way we all would've liked to here - as the 2nd TE and doing a lot of the dirty work he's so good at. I think it was shrewd on their part and Chief fans should be happy with this unheralded but solid signing.

Thanks Tony for the good years .. too bad the team didn't give you more help at the position.

bess will be so much better playing in slot always now. hope we keep him

Yesterday,

I did not knock Ireland for those moves. I said he lowered the cap, and got younger. Read my post. What I am concerned with is what else he is going to be adding. He looks as if he is planning on adding a lot more via free agency.

Give me an example of a team in the NFL that has done this in the past and wound up being a contender? Free agency is meant to sure up a weakness, not re-do and entire roster.

And yes I feel that paying Wallace that much was a mistake. We will see. As I said, I hope it all works out in the Dolphins favor. I would like to see them back on top of the football world.

moeaki isnt a threat of any kind, cant ecven stay on the field. fans here in kc today saying they way overpaid for fatso, but fired up about daniel signing and hope he beats out smith. dipoto was great move by kc also. glad jets lost him

that is true rhino, most all teams that spend big dont win big. but least hes going for it. we have 9 mill left to spend. get a te and corner at least

In Cooks four year career he has averaged 2 TDs per season, under 50 receptions per year, and his yards per game average are 29.1.

I never understood why any Dolphins fans thought this guy was a must have. He's average at best. Ertz or Eifert will be far more productive on the pro level imo.

Some comments on Ellerbe: although his tackle production is much lower than Dansby's, his snaps were approximately half of Dansby's. Project this out and he equals Dansby in run stoppage. Pass coverage is even up but Ellerbe really excells in pass rush. Considering his age and the fact that the team gets a much needed pass disruptor in the LB spot, this is a very nice upgrade- as well as a surprise.

cook far from avg, one of fastest te in game. has had an 80 yard td catch and run. caught same amount of balls as fatso but had over 200 more yards. he is very good, im pissed about it but have moved on finally from it. only 25 also


Posted by: Phins78 | March 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I never said this. My focus was Hartline, Bess was included in reinforcing the td drought wr corp with Bess/Hartline combining for 1 td.

Bess is cheap enough to keep, but not to valuable we cant upgrade.

Im still not 100% comfortable with Hartline as a #2 wr until he proves his td production can be hugely upgraded. If I were gm, I would still highly consider the wr position with the 1st 3 picks. That means an potential Hartline upgrade.

Phins78, A trio of Wallace, Hartline & Bess is better than what we had. If Keller makes it into the mix, we'll have a very good set of pass catchers. If Bess goes & we bring in another WR, the corp is still a good one because Wallace makes everyone better.

This teams LB'ers were aging & had out of control contracts. LB has always been a weakness. We couldn't cover TE's in the longest time. It was a major need area & we actually saved cap space by doing it. Signing them doesn't impact our FA plans.

Losing Bush is not a crushing Loss. Miller is faster & a more straight ahead runner who wont dance behind the line & lose yards. People are exaggerating Bush's value.

The biggest weak spot is CB. This team needs 2 and not many have signed. In the next 1-2 days, CB's will get signed & much cheaper than most thought.

OT was a weakness even with Long in the lineup. His play has deteriorated. We can get younger & cheaper than Long with a rookie or FA for less money & equal results.

ellerbe def no sure thing, just became a starter. but hes much younger and can actually cover tes. played great in that game vs pats in playoffs

Craig,
The addition to Keller is a must now but he will not solve all of our TEs woes, especially b/c he can not block. DE is not a must, Vernon's second year is about to render its fruit but I do agree we need to add depth at the position (besides I am not sold on the prospects). WIth that in mind I turn to value and that is Brandon Jenkins from FSU in the 3rd. Before his injury he was a 1st rounder, it will be a steal.

CB can be solved in the 2nd with Darius Slay (trust me this kid will be as good as Milliner, and no, I'm not on drugs), and the re-signing of Smith once he gets no calls today from other teams.

Which means TE is the most important hole to fill. Look for Ireland to keep the faster and younger trend and grab Tavon Austin at 12th (play slot and to avoid the Pats getting him) and trading up for Eiffert, the best TE by a lot in this class.

Mark, so who's going to be our blocking TE now? Will they move Yeatman back to block? Or is the new scheme going to employ TEs strictly as receivers?

First and most importantly, I want to say to Jeff Ireland- GREAT JOB! Thank You! We finally get the sense that this organization really wants to win. Now as for Jake Long. I can't believe this guy is so greedy. Now that his team is making a huge change to improve themselves, this guy Long still will not take a pay cut. I hope he goes to the Rams. We can get a tackle with one of the 2 second round picks.
My list of remaining duds on the team that need to get released:
Mastrud, Clay, Carpenter, Garner, Jones Jerry, Daniel Thomas, Moore.
WOuld like to see a RB like maybe Michael Turner, Bradshaw, or even Danny Woodhead come in for a visit. Imagine the one two punch combination of Lmamr Miller and Woodhead?

yeah the oline and corner 2 big worries i think. oline with rookies not a good thing

dansby gets us no turnovers. i think Ellerbe will.

irelands job farrrrrrrrr from done. he could screw up draft and put us right back in mediocreville

pats made offer to welker, was so low welker thought it was a joke. hes pissed and def gone

Yes billcale, Wheeler too. Wheeler and Ellerbe are two of the top 5 rushing LBs in the league. I believe I read they were graded as #2 and #3 by profocus or whatever that outlet is called. Looks like we are going to be putting some pressure on Tommy boy finally.

Pollard's base salary is 2 million. Fins should at least take a look considering he destroys the Pats every chance he gets

I'd rather see the Fins keep Bess over Hartline. Anyone agree? Obviously Hartline is staying.

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