I was told last week by a Dolphins source the team would have no interest in Bryant McKinnie as a left tackle option because ...
1. There were weight concerns. (He was overweight much of the 2012 season before finally getting in shape just in time for the playoffs with Baltimore).
2. There were culture concerns. (McKinnie is a vet used to doing things his own way. He's had issues with coaches before. Joe Philbin doesn't love that sort of stuff).
3. There were off-field concerns. (McKinnie hasn't been consistently in trouble with the law or anything. In fact, other than an arrest in 2008 in Miami for getting into a fight and then resisting arrest without violence while at a local club during a night of partying, he's been clean lately. The issue is McKinnie's penchant for partying. He has been known to drop $100,000 on liquor in one night. And, as a reminder, the Miami Dolphins are headquartered very near to Miami and South Beach),
3. He's going to be 34 years old. And if the Dolphins want him on a one-year deal, he's going to cost at least $3-$4 million.
So I was pretty confident the Dolphins wouldn't be interested in McKinnie because I was told as much and because of the reasons outlined above.
Well, Bryant McKinnie visited the Dolphins on Monday.
And aside from making me look dumb, the fact the Dolphins are kicking the tires on the veteran left tackle speaks to a handful of possibilities -- not all of them obvious to the average observer.
Possibility 1. The team is simply kicking the tires to see if McKinnie is even a remote option. The visit Monday was said to include a physical. It's called due diligence. It's a date. It's not a marriage.
Possibility 2. The team is trying to gain leverage as it prepares to take another run at Branden Albert. If general manager Jeff Ireland is going to go back to the Chiefs (again) he can't be perceived as having no option other than landing Albert. So getting McKinnie to visit is good for everyone. It gives the perception that McKinnie is an legit option -- even if he really isn't. And that's good for Miami. And it gives the perception that teams are interested in McKinnie -- even if they really aren't. And that's good for McKinnie's market. So feeler visits help everyone.
Possibility 3. The team is trying to gain leverage on Eric Winston. Remember that aside from looking for a left tackle, Miami has a choice of signing a right tackle and putting Jonathan Martin at left tackle. That would mean needing a right tackle. Winston is the most viable right tackle choice out there but the club and he haven't seen eye-to-eye on what it would take to make the idea work. A little leverage doesn't hurt that process.
Possibility 4. The Dolphins are seriously interested in McKinnie. If this is the option, then the Dolphins see McKinnie as a stopgap guy that played well in the playoffs even as he approaches the end of his career. They would be banking they can milk at least a year out of the guy. By the way, if this is the truth, then the Dolphins are seriously down on Martin as a left tackle option.
McKinnie, by the way, texted the Baltimore Sun and told reporter Aaron Wilson that the visit in Miami went well. Yet, no offer was made and McKinnie might take other visits, namely with San Diego.
I still find it hard to believe Bryant McKinnie is a Joe Philbin kind of guy. I find it hard to believe that Jeff Ireland, who doesn't like adding 30-somethings, much less 30-somethings with a checkered history, hasn't learned his lesson that it rarely goes well.
Remember Chad Johnson. How'd that turn out?
And having said that, the Dolphins indeed signed Johnson. So maybe they haven't learned a darn thing from such experiences.