« Ireland happy, cap in good shape, more moves coming | Main | Mike Wallace meets the media in South Florida »

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