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Dolphins free agency priority: Cornerback

When free agency begins for the Dolphins and all other NFL clubs March 11 (negotiations can begin March 8) one of the priorities, indeed the top priority, the Dolphins may have is the cornerback position.

We know this because although the Indianapolis Combine is supposed to be about preparing for the draft in that draft-eligible players are inspected in almost every way imaginable, the last five days was also about meeting with the representatives for free agents. It was about meeting with agents for some of Miami's pending free agents as well as those representing potential free agents about to hit the market.

And the position the Dolphins asked these agents most about during Indianapolis was, you guessed it, the cornerback spot, according to multiple league sources.

This makes sense.

The Dolphins have needs at offensive line, safety, defensive tackle and probably running back. But cornerback is perhaps the second-most obvious need after OL because Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll -- the starters most of 2013 -- are both pending unrestricted free agents.

Moreoever, the Dolphins might be deciding that keeping Dimitri Patterson and his $5.4 million cap hit that comes with his inconsistent durability is a luxury they cannot afford.

Obviously, the team is interested in bringing back Grimes at what new general manager Dennis Hickey has been calling a Dolphins value. That means the Dolphins decide what a player is worth to them and they would be willing to pay. (Unfortunately, in some cases, that Dolphins value and the player's value of himself are not equal.)

Signing Grimes, who will be 31 in before the season, to a four or five-year contract is a tricky proposition. It simply isn't done in the NFL with a cornerback that age.

The Dolphins might also consider a franchise tag on Grimes, although that doesn't make a ton of sense. The franchise tag on a CB is expected to be approximately $11 million, all of it in a lump sum salary-cap space swallowing chunk. The Dolphins should be able to add two cornerbacks for that kind of cap hit.

The Dolphins have until March 3 to designate a franchise player.

So cornerback will be a position of heavey activity for Miami the next two weeks.

Why not offensive line or one of the other positions, you ask?

Well, the Dolphins will probably do work there, too. But the coming draft is replete with good offensive linemen. So the Dolphins can add good, young, cheap talent at offensive line during the draft. Miami may come away with two or three offensive linemen in the draft and add an offensive lineman in free agency as well.

The Dolphins can adress safety in the secondary free agency market or the draft but after signing Reshad Jones to a big contract extension last year, they are not likely to allocate more money big money on the back end. The team also knows it can bring back either Paul Soliai or Randy Starks and there are some options at the defensive tackle position that might come available as well.

Running back, meanwhile, it is not a priority free agency spot. Paying big money for a free agent running back is not often wise.

So the Dolphins are looking around with cornerback being a focus.

And there might be some significant cornerback talent in free agency. If one considers only last season's performance, the best cornerback on the market might be Aqib Talib of the New England Patriots. And it would make sense for the Dolphins to be interested in him as Hickey was in Tampa Bay when the Buccaneers drafted him in 2008.

But, of course, all is not simply about last year's performance. The Dolphins have to consider other factors before ever thinking of Talib. Firstly, Talib's depature from Tampa Bay was forced in part because the red flags many teams had on him before the draft (he was actually off the Miami draft board in 2008) manifested themselves soon after he was drafted.

He got into a fistfight with a teammate at the 2008 rookie symposium. In 2009, he allegedly battered a taxi driver. In 2011, he was arrested in Texas for battery with a deadly weapon when he allegedly went after his sister's boyfriend. Those charges were dropped in 2012 but only in time for Talib to be suspended by the NFL for violating the NFL drug policy for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

The Patriots got Talib in trade in November of 2012 for a fourth-round pick.

And he's been great for them. He locked down the other team's best pass-catcher, regardless of size or speed. He went one-on-one with Jimmy Graham when the Patriots beat the Saints in 2013.

But Talib has also shown the penchant for getting hurt. He missed time last year with a hip injury. He had a hip injury in 2010. He finished the 2011 season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

The point is Talib is great ... when he's not suspended, or in trouble or injured.

Oh, and he wants to return to New England. So there's that.

But the Patriots, with only approximately $7 million in projected 2014 cap space, might not have the way to get Talib signed. They want to but ... well, you get the idea.

So that name is out there.

Other names that resonate as possibilities for the Dolphins?

Green Bay's Sam Shields is a player coach Joe Philbin should be familiar with. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a fine cornerback and may be difficult for the cap challenged Broncos to re-sign. Walter Thurmond is a solid No. 3 if the Dolphins aren't able to re-sign Nolan Carroll.

And perhaps the best player of the class -- all things considered -- might be Alterraun Verner. He's very young at 25. He's a fine player. He makes plays. And because the Titans already paid a mint for their other cornerback, Jason McCourty, they might not be able to pay Verner, too.

Verner doesn't have the off-the-field issues of Talib, the age issue of Grimes, and he's more consistent than DR-C.

Comments

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So we go from Ireland's acorns to Hickey's value, sigh I really hope this isn't a long offseason if we don't resign Grimes, or at least get Shields, Talib, or Verner then we may as well pack things in this season

CBs were quite good last year. With a healthy Patterson, the unit should be above NFL average.
- keep Patterson (when healthy, he's worth more than 5m a year)
- resign Carroll at "good backup rate" (that's what he is)
- resign Grimes or get a FA replacement
- phase the 2 2012 draftees in

Patterson is the only risk here. But as we do not have lots of pricey FA to resign and that the OL will mostly be addressed in the draft, I do not see why we should go cheap here.

Cut Ross and sign a new owner

Didn't the Dolphins draft Will Davis and Jamar Taylor in the early rounds as promising corners last year? We should build on their potential and not start once again to draft rookies in this position when other needs (OL, Wide outs and LB's) are more critical.

NO Nick Savane Patterson is NOT worth more than 5 mill a year and if you think he is you have lost your mind and your head.
With the CB FA class the way it is being so strong it makes sense to go after them hard with the cap space we have.

we have ross and dawn aponte running the team. we should be fine.

If you resign Grimes and Carroll there is no need for a FA CB. Why would you get an outsider when the guy you have knows your system and players around him?

stupid move. Just get Grimes to a nice 3-4 year deal for around 8 avg.

ross does the hiring and dawn does the firing. what more could you want?

I thought the defensive line was lazy and slow. We had no rush and didn't put pressure on any QB's. I'd worry about getting some quality defensive lineman. Our tackles are below average. They would fit better in a 4-3, we need to go to a 4-3 with the talent on this team. Without QB pressure no CB is going to look good

Awesome! Two football blogs in a row without complaining about Philbin or lack of information from the Dolphins offices. Lets keep it going.....

Armando,

Talib would be worth it but he will resign with the Patriots. Moreover going after a CB makes sense but unless Miami wants to bring back losers like Clabo and Jerry The Dolphins have to get going with the OL. Mckinney should be resigned for one year because he and Pouncey were capable but the OL need is so huge that the only way is to get at least two starters and pay them big bucks from free agency.

Nick, if you know how to keep Patterson healthy AND playing, hell, 14-15 games, then by all means, share.

I thought the defensive line was lazy and slow. We had no rush and didn't put pressure on any QB's. I'd worry about getting some quality defensive lineman. Our tackles are below average. They would fit better in a 4-3, we need to go to a 4-3 with the talent on this team. Without QB pressure no CB is going to look good
------------------------------------------------

LIKE this post...but Grimes looked dam good even with the truth you spoke above...he had one bad game (2nd Bills game)...other than that he was MONEY...

So Pay the man Hickey.

This to me speaks to the fact that the defensive coordinator and coach don't believe in last years 2 draft picks at all. Disappointing to consider that Philbin and Ireland preached they were together but weren't. Or is that the coaches haven't coached up the players enough. No matter what, troubling.

Most importantly Armando, are there any "scandals" brewing in Indy on which you can report?

CBs Priority?

Grimes is the priority, but the position doesn't need to be answered in free agency.

Salguero, do you even watch the Dolphins game? Or are you to busy watching the redskins game and high fiving during the game.

Grimes will be franchised or resigned. If not, FIRE HICKEY!! CB is not a priority for the fins.

Dolphins free agent priority

#1- LT
#2- RT
#3- OG(left or Right)

Our priority in free agency is fixing the line. This Draft is weak on offensive linemen. Only two good LTs in this draft and both will be drafted in the Top 10.

Cut Patterson and Carroll. Sign grimes to a multi yr contract and have jamar and smith battle for the other side or heck they can rotate all three. James is right, without any pressure from the DL our CB's won't make a difference regardless who it is. I say we sign one of the two and draft a another and go OL heavy first from FA then draft. Another priority they should consider is a safety as Clemons and Jones are GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!

Armando, you've done a lot of columns blasting Philbin and mentioning ESPN analysts also blasting Philbin.

I realize a blog isn't about fair reporting but is "opinion".

What do you think of this take on why Philbin may not have known:
http://mmqb.si.com/2014/02/21/nfl-players-on-what-joe-philbin-didnt-know/

Excellent point in the above: Where was the player development guy. How about an interview with him?

The Dolphin run a 4-3.

Soliai and Starks are built for a 3-4. Any real Dolphins fan knows that.

Pass rush wasn't the problem. We have 4 DEs that can rush the passer. 2 of them combined had 20 sacks, Wake and O.Vernon.

Do some of you even watch the game?

Let me guess you want the Fins to Draft M.Sam because we need another pass rusher. Buffoons.

It's hard to believe that we are in the same place as a year ago, still talking about LT and the O-line.

And I'm left with the same observation : Sign an efficient LT, the best available in Free Agency, and solve that problem FIRST, so we are not still discussing it another year from now !!!!!!

Krist !!!!

Wasn't Grimes already franchised by Atlanta? He would be more expensive than the regular franchise tag as originally expected.

I am just happy to read any football news that does not include Michael Sam or bullygate. Just sayin

Your right Dashi, I got the 4-3 and the 3-4 backwards, but I stand by my statement that we had no passrush to speak of. That's why 3rd string hacks QB's like Buffalo and the Jets looked like MVP's. Our Defensive line was not very good. Did you watch any games??

Grimes is a MUST to keep. IT should be a 5 year deal, with ALL the guarantees in the first three, with the last two being predicated on performance. What's so friggin' hard ?

Keep Grimes and move on....

Perhaps this position wouldn't have been such a need if either Will Davis or Jamar Taylor had shown just a little potential. But it's hard to judge their upside when they're usually inactive on game day. I hope they can come to terms with Grimes - he seemed to deliver and was a good signing. Typical Ireland - one step forward, two steps backwards.

Great article by JoeK.

We will never get such an objective article like that in here for 2 reasons.

1. Salguero isn't Objective.

2. Salguero will never work that hard on an Article.

Chris...true..but we need to stop kicking the dead mule...Ireland's gone

That was then, this is now..let's move on to football..

J.Monroe,

We had a pass rush. We have 4 DEs that can get to the passer. And Odrick can rush from the DT spot.

The problem was Coyle and his play calling.

The Fins will force offenses to 3rd and long, and Coyle will run 2 plays. MLB Blitz, leaving the middle of the field wide open, or Prevent Defense, Everyone will play 10yds from the LOS and we will only rush 3 players. Giving the other QB all day on 3rd down to throw.

If the Fins would do a better job at calling plays on 3rd and Long on defense they would've been a Top 5 Defense. To many drives were extended by bad play calling on defense.

Just don't draft that homo. The last thing we need after the locker room problems is to have players pissed off because some pervert is snooping around the showers, not to mention that it is the last thing the NFL needs to do if it wants to keep the sport safe for children to watch.

Not sure about this, Armando, unless they consider busts the 2 CBs drafted last year, which is unlikely. No make sense to me. More sense to me, sign one or two FA Olineman.

We have no OL, so to look else where, we would be making the same mistake as las last year. I would really like to see at least 2 olineman signed in free agency, specially LT. Maximum 2 rookies in the line and preferably at guards.

Grimes should defenetly be signed, he was great and no off field problems with him. Talibb won't come here, failbin is afraid of those type of players, I don't think he can handle trouble makers

There are 7 rounds in the draft, but never more than a couple of starters. We are so mess up in the line that realistically is going to be difficult to address any other position. Personally I think we got more needs at lb than cb. Our lb (wheeler in particular) are weak against the run, that is not good

Aside from a player or two and a new oline is what I expect this team to look like for 2014

And remember who will be doing the Picking, yes sir, the 8th best and last candidate in the gm list, the guy that helped Tampa pick no. 7, and a horrible 4-12 record last year, and 28-52 the last 5 years....those numbers they just don't happen, you have to really suck to accomplish them....Ireland sucked, but I believe that with dickey we downgraded...8-8 sounds like a dream record right about now

Tough times ahead dophans

Dashi is absolutely correct @ 8:15!!! $hitty playcalling gave up first downs on wayyyy too many 3rd & long situations. Cam Newton's long run at the end of the first half comes to mind. Here ya go, Panthers. Have these 3 points, we don't mind. I wanted to smash my tv!

Mando,

Have you already heard that the te doesn't like jamar Taylor or will Davis? Last time I checked, it was the OL that needed work. I agree that grimes should be resigned or have a younger, more affordable FA replacement for him, but I think that Taylor and Davis need to step up.

Why would the dolphins be asking about cornerbacks? Unless hickey has already talked to grimes' agent preliminarily and does t like the numbers? Grimes wants $10 mill per season guaranteed and as much as I like his play, he's not worth 10 mill per year for 3-4 years.

There is a mental sign in Psychiatry called alteration of thought form, where the thoughts are so disorganized, that the person afflicted, as much as he/she tries, can never make any sense. It is frequently called by the layman with another term. Poor people.

Rdubs's Astute Combine Observations"

- Michael Sam lifts like a girl

-Yankey from Stanford is JMart 2.0. Weak bench press, unathletic and looks like Jmart

-Seastrunk is athletic as hell

-Lewan looked amazing

-This years TE class does not look that exciting

-the FB Copeland looks like a beast at FB

-Tre Mason did not disappoint

Pray for tanne to improve in the long ball, if that doesn't happen, matching last year record would be the ceiling

Yeah I don't see how CB is a priority either. I get that Grimes, Carrol and Clemmons are "free agents" but Grimes should be signed fairly quick. Also see no issue with resigning Clemmons, he played quite well last year IMO. Better than Jones did. And they drafted 2 guys last year. This offseason is all about the OL. They need a young core group of quality players, even if a couple vets man a couple of the positions next year.

I thought Jamar Taylor was a 'steal' in the draft...1st round talent who fell down the board due to a freak kidney disease.

WTF? Does he have mad skills or not?

What about a QB and some RB's?

Resign grimes and bring in dominique rodgers cromartie or alteraun verner. And draft the best free safety in the 3rd round. Or we could just sign the best fs available to go alongside jones, sign grimes and and another cornerback since we have two rookies both with upside. And go oline in the draft. And bpa in later rounds

Cornerback my ass...we need offense offense and more offense as usual... Defense is fine w/or without grimes

How is it that Philbin still has a job?

BREAKING NEWS!!

DEFENSE IS NOT THE PROBLEM!!

I'd concentrate elsewhere. Obviously OL is a bigger issue.

If you:

-Resign Grimes
-Resign Carroll for a reasonable amount or walks
-Keep Patterson (if healthy he is great, could be big if)
-See if the rookies can contribute if Patterson gets hurt or Carroll walks. If both happen THEN sign a CB.

-Keep Clemons at modest money if possible, he's better than he gets credit for.

If they want to save cap maybe cut Matt Moore. Hes a solid backup, but this team isn't in a position to win with a solid backup. If Tannehill gets hurt the season is over, and Moore isn't likely to be a Franchise guy at this stage. Basically a pointless insurance policy.

Focus on the OL/DL. That will make the RB/CBs job easier. Starks/Soliai is a tough one, but are good, both deserve money.

still need a qb

Save cap?? WTF?? They have 40 mill in cap space.
Change your name from common sense to non sense!

Yes I would Like to keep Grimes and Patterson if it was up to me, Grimes was outstanding and the Dolphins have not been to the playoffs 5 straight years. He is good and worth paying same with Patterson. A lot of what Hickey does will determine how the Dolphins do this season, they need play makers at running back and Linebacker while keeping all their good players like Grimes and Patterson, this is what Ireland could never get right he would bring in a good player to strengthen the team and then git rid of another player to weaken the team in another area like not resigning Bush for example .

Hopefully Hickey is smarter than that we will see. What he does with Grimes Solia and Patterson will tell us a lot.I didn't even mention the o line but that is a no brainier, he is what I think bring in two free agent line man left tackle right tackle and use your first overall pick on a lineman unless there is a dynamite running back or offensive playmaker like Tavon Austin or something. We need to score more points period.!!!!!!!

Agree w/ 2 watt. We are going nowhere without a QB upgrade.

Dubs,

Lewan looks like the best LT in this draft.Yes, G.Robinson is a big guy. But Lewan is a better Athlete. Really impressed me. I would trade up to the Top 10 to pick T.Lewan.

The Mason ran pretty slow to me. A.Williams just moved up to the best RB in the draft for me. He is about 30 lbs heavier than Mason and is almost as fast as him. C.Hyde is a joke!! Guy has Bust written all over him.

My under the radar guy.Ja'Wuan James I think he looked great at the combine. He looks big yet not a fatty. He had some nice loose hips and his feet looked pretty good. I think he could be a plug and play at RT. I think he would excel in a zone blocking scheme

Dashi,

I was unimpressed with Andre Williams, now Yankey looked pretty darn good though

Mando, Mando, Mando you are still missing the big picture. Its the OL, the OL, the OL. Yes the Dolphins have needs at CB, but if the Dolphins can't score, CBs and such are a moot point. Hickey stated last week to our FAs to "see whats on the open market" That tells me Hickey doesnt feel the "need for speed" at CB, if he's willing to let Grimes go and If I was Grimes, Id take that comment as the Dolphins don't care what I do. Getting back to the OL. Id rather not see 5 Rookies lined up on the OL come opening day....Dolphins really need another FS.

Dashi @ 8:15, don't get me started on Coyle.

Now that the world knows about martin he is my next target.

Frank from PA, jamar and Will will get an opportunity to play but the team needs to sign at least one starter. The reason why mando is talking Cb and what he didn't mention is this is the deepest class in all of free agency. At the moment there are about 20 starter quality corners hitting the market - that's a lot. And it is an excellent oportunity to sign a ver good player for a low cap hit.

It would be nice if Mando did mention these pertinent facts.

But make no mistake signing two quality starting linemen is the priority. The line can't go into the season with three unknowns in rookies/first time starters. That's suicide - it will probably be one rookie and one first time starter in one of Brenner/Thomas/Garner

I agree with CommonSense, cut Moore. The team isn't talented enough or coached well enough to win if Tannehill isn't carrying the offense. makes no sense to allot enough moeny to get a front line starter somewhere else in matt Moore who is not a front line starter. Wouldn't that money be better spent in signing a front line guard, running back or MLB than a guy to stand on the sidelines?

I remember someone would come on here and say you didn't need an O-line to have a good Offense. Hopefully after the season we just had, No Dolphin fan will say something so Ridiculous.

..Trying to project any prospect just from the combine is a joke. The teams doing the evaluation know so. The only people selling the combine results are the TV guys. Fans buy it up. But there is nothing to be gained by the exercises on the field. Going back to what Bill Polian said last week, confirmed by Marvin Lewis Friday. Outside of the medical, and the interviews. What do you learn at the combine?

It is one step in the process. It is weighed as a part not the whole. So what did we learn about any of these players this week? We already knew that say Andre Williams can run the ball, we also knew he doesn't catch it, and can't block. If he could. He would be a first round pick. Since he has never been asked to do so. He falls to a 3rd-4th round guy. Nothing he did at the combine changes that.

Clowney..He will test off the chart today..Is he the top pick now? Maybe. But everyone on the planet knew this was going to be the case.

The Combine is for the fans. Simple. It is brilliant actually. It is why the NFL is boss. What other league has sold payer workouts to its fan base? People eat it up.

I remember Aarom Rodgers and the PACK winnin the SB being one of the TOP 5 most SACKED QBs in the league...

I remember BIG BEN the STEELERS winning the SB being one of the TOP 5 most SACKED QBs in the league...

ahhhh...

memories....and facts...

Cut Carroll.
Cut him now.
Can hi worthless ass.

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