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The future for Incognito and Martin

The much anticipated Ted Wells report that will put to rest the nightmare that followed the Dolphins for the better part of a month during the 2013 season will be delivered to the NFL either late this week or early next week. The assumption is the NFL will release the report soon afterward.

And while much has been reported (and misreported) about this whole affair, what I have been reporting for months is certain: Neither Richie Incognito nor Jonathan Martin, the principals in the scandal that rocked the Dolphins franchise, will ever play for the Dolphins again.

And that deserves investigating because all is not exactly as it seems:

It will seem, on the surface, that Incognito will never play for Miami again because the Dolphins are moving in a new direction on the offensive line and their former left guard is a free agent about to hit the market.

The truth is the week after the scandal broke, The Miami Herald reported Incognito was "done" with the Dolphins. That seems obvious now in hindsight but when it came out, several media outlets contested the report.

At any rate, the question today is not whether Incognito will return to Miami. It's not even whether he'll be able to return to the NFL. As The Herald also reported on Dec. 11, Incognito agreed to be suspended for the entire rest of 2013 (with pay) possibly in return for not losing 2014 playing time.

And this is where we begin to dig because, well, Incognito is a good player. He has a history in Miami that includes the golf course assault of a female greens volunteer. He obviously had previous issues he's addressed before arriving in Miami.

But did I mention he's a good player?

That's the thing. That's always the thing in the NFL. Players who can play can find jobs in the NFL. Barring prison stays, even guys who have off-field troubles but have on-field gifts get opportunities in the NFL. 

And that's Incognito. He's got demons he must address. But he's not in jail and he can play. Voila!

He'll be on a team in 2014.

So what can happen with him? Some team will undoubtedly sign him as a free agent. If I were a general manager and needed a relatively cheap ($3-$4 million) guard, Incognito would be on my list. But ...

I would only do it on a short-term basis. No way I give Incognito a four- or five-year contract.

One year for me. Two years max and even then I'm uncomfortable.


Because for whatever issues Incognito has beaten in the past and whatever failings he had with the Dolphins, he is usually a smart guy when he's on his meds. And he knows that he must be on his best behavior with his next team.

And he probably will be watching every p and q he texts teammates from now on -- at least for one year.

This isn't a new dynamic, by the way. Plenty of problem children have found a year or two of peace in new surroundings while they try to prove to the media, fans, coaches and mostly other GMs holding purse strings, that they can be trusted.

Folks like Randy Moss or Terrell Owens often had banner seasons the first or even second year with new teams. But give them a long-term deal and they get comfortable. Pay them and they start to feel entitled again. Commit to them and the old habits resurface. They blow up teams.

The way to manage players like that is keep them on a prove-it basis.

And it usually works for everyone. The team gets the player's best because he is motivated to get paid in his next one- or multi-year contract. The player obviously puts his best work on tape because, again, he wants to get paid next year.

Unless I miss my guess or there is a seriously trusting GM out there, that's the kind of deal Incognito will find waiting for him in free agency.

And then there's Jonathan Martin.

The common thinking here is the Dolphins will keep him on the roster until they can find a suitable trade partner that won't totally take them to the cleaners. I understand the logic. The team paid a second-round pick for him so it would be good to get something in return for him.

I have an alternate idea. No, not bringing him back to the team.

The Dolphins should simply waive Jonathan Martin. Good-bye. Godspeed. Lesson learned for everyone. Let's start a new day. Let's turn the final page on that chapter. Let's enjoy the game of inches and embrace all the cliched metaphors for fresh starts and simply cut Martin loose.

Why such a move, you ask?

Because unless new GM Dennis Hickey is a man gifted with the ability to perform the Jedi mind trick, no other team is going to really give him anything of significance for Martin because everyone knows the Dolphins want to get rid of him. It also didn't help owner Stephen Ross said as much in a press conference.

And even if some team is willing to give a seventh or perhaps even a sixth-round pick for Martin, the negotiation process is going to take a while.

And Martin will remain on the roster during that time.

I argue the value of cutting Martin swiftly and sending a message to the rest of the players in the Dolphins locker room -- who incidentally do not like Martin too much -- brings more value than peddling him like a medieval beggar trying to barter for food scraps.

Cut him. Give him what he most wants, which is his freedom. But gain, in the process, the franchise's freedom to move forward.

(Peanut gallery: But Mando, that would hurt the Dolphins cap. You don't know anything about handling a roster. Come to think of it, you don't know anything about football.)

Yes gallery, I am actually aware the NFL operates under a salary cap. Thanks for that. I am also aware the move I propose is almost cap neutral. Cutting Martin would cost the Dolphins approximately $957,734 in dead money if done immediately, less if designated for after June 1. But that total pinch would be mitigated by the fact the Dolphins would not pay Martin his $824,933 base salary for 2014. So the actual cap hit would be $132,801.

For that pittance, the Dolphins would break the chains of this story dragging on while they shop Martin. Hickey would be free of pundits saying his first significant move was getting taken in a trade. And did I mention it would give the team a reset?

Resets are good sometimes. While the conditions are different, the New England Patriots reset quickly when Aaron Hernandez went all Al Capone on society. They didn't keep him around to wait for the legal system to decide his fate. They cut his posterior immediately. They separated themselves from an ugly situation.

No, Martin does not represent an ugly criminal situation. There is a sizeable portion of the population that sees him as the one and only victim in this drama. I get that.

So fine, let's reward him for his anguish. Cut him. Allow him to be free.

And, more importantly, allow the Dolphins to move forward.


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Thanks. But another reason I say keep Martin or trade him is that if you cut him wouldn't he have all the right to sue and win?

Everyobody wants to avoid the franchise tag- franchise included. It's a horrible use of cap space.

...I would try to trade Martin to 1 team...The Indianapolis Colts. It makes sense. Pep Hamilton OC, Luck, Fleener.. They need a tackle.

Now if the Colts pass..The Phins may have no other option but to cut Martin. To me, the Colts are the 1 team that makes any sense as a landing spot for Martin. If they don't want him, who else would take him in a trade?

Jake Long didnt want the rinky dink Dolphins anymore.

I've yet to see any player on any team. who wanted the franchise tag designation. Nothing remarkable about Grimes not wanting it.

My best friend Sally is a baboon. She likes toast and almonds.


I want Martin gone ASAP. He's the worst type of a player....a coward! Simply drags the team down. No way do I want this guy on the team when its time for OTAs. The players don't want him there and he doesn't want to be here. Wash our hands of him and move on.

I feel ya Craig and if they just release him that is fine. I just think if the Phins just keep him and put him on backburner and ignore him and act like he is on the team. It would drive him nuts, just because of his personality. He needs some form of punishment. But if I were GM I wouldnt devote too much time to him at all

If Richie is exonerated, then I think the RIGHT thing to do is offer him an apology and welcome him back. But there's other stuff that's been uncovered that's unrelated to bullying (like drugs, locker room mentality) that also need to be addressed. But if he's no more guilty than any of the rest of the locker room then why not earn the trust of your team (that you have their backs) and keep him here for a one-year contract. The safe play is to kick him to the curb, but the play that goes against the grain that could bond the team together is to keep him while maintaining a short leash.

Richie's taken ownership of his mistakes and he's been upfront, honest, and dealt with things in a way that's shown remorse and efforts to support/hold up his teammates and organization. Don't you feel that deserves some consideration?

As Dolphins fans, I think we have almost unanimous support for him now that the facts have slowly been revealed. Allow the truth to speak for itself (not perception). Do the honorable thing and win over your team by bringing Richie back to the team with open arms.

For those who want to keep Martin - that would use up a roster spot that could be used on another player who could actually contribute to the team. I say try to trade him quickly and if no one bites release him.
The Phins need to put this saga behing them ASAP and keeping Martin around is just another unwanted distraction.

Richie sounds like a fun guy to hang around with but nobody has ever accused him of being a leader. Cut bait with both of them and concentrate on winning. You couldn't win with both of them on the team, so why waste time and money? Just concentrate on what it takes to WIN. It's all that matters.

Also, what is the rush? What was done is done. Now the Fins have all the Cards, not Martin.

The Fins have all off season to do what they want with Martin.

I would keep him until I know it is the last possible moment. Make him anguish a little.


Release him the day before they start.

That way Free Agency and the Draft would be over. Teams would have already filled their holes.

Martin only wants to play on the West Coast. Those 4 teams wouldn't want him by then.

Forcing Martin to quit the NFL.

The Roster goes up to 75 until the last game of preseason.

You can carry 90 players on your team in the offseason.

Roster spots are only important once the regular season starts.

I'd take Martin back in a second if the locker room is cleaned up.

No trades until the new season starts. Have some conversations now but if no one is interested then cut his ass. This guy is a cancer and no one wants him around. Move on.

Hickey and his staff need to be getting some deals done on our free agents and preparing for the draft.

Incognito sucks as a player. At least for the last 2 seasons he has.

I agree with what someone said earlier. One of the reasons J.Long left was probably cause of Incognito. Jackie probably didn't like Jake hanging around Richie.


Not true. Jake Long and Cogs were really tight. Cogs didn't want him gone.

Anyways Long is old new too....


Maybe because Cogs mighT have tried to lift Jackie Longs skirt with a pool CUE? LOL

Why try to punish anyone? What purpose will it serve the team? Devoting resources to keeping Martin on the roster is a spite move that doesn't help us win. No more "Days Of Our Lives" we need to WIN.

Hopefully the racism has been cleaned up. But I dont think the Dolphin locker room is ready for Michael Sams.

Jake Long left because he and his wife hated living in South Florida.

But I get it, the true story isn't 'sexy' enough so let's just make up other stuff instead.

her skirt or her curtains?

Craig, DC, and Others,

How is Martin a distraction? (We don't play a real game til September. Martin is never stepping foot in Davie.)

To whom? (The Media)

The distraction already happened during the season. Martin hasn't left California since November. He will never be back in Miami.

The coaches and the players aren't worried Martin will be a dolphin. Doubt they are worried about him causing a distraction. Or worried he will take someone's spot.

I don't see a reason to get mad. Martin is a non issue.

well now we know why Farmer didnt further pursue the Fins GM job.....Browns are a mess

Jake Long knew that Ross, Ireland, Failbin, and Tannebust were hopeless.

Kind of a silly column, Armando.

Why WOULDN'T Hickey and the Dolphins brass at least see if they can get ANYTHING for Martin---even a 7th rounder? That is simply doing their jobs.

You seem to think Martin still technically being on the roster is some kind of 'distraction' but that's beyond ludicrous. The season is OVER. There are no games, nor are there any offseason activities that Martin will participate in. His Miami tenure is over, clearly.

If they can't get anything at all for him (probable) then you simply cut him. But you at least TRY.

I realize the offseason means fishing for ANYTHING to 'report' but this one is really flimsy.

and another ding for the many uninformed dopes here who have no idea whats going on behind the scenes....obviously Farmer took his name out of the running because he knew what was brewing in Cleveland....as opposed to having some big issue with Miami--but hey, why wait for any facts to surface, things to play out.....nah


New season starts in March. There's OTAs right after the draft. This guy will be part of things. Dolphins can't suspend him or force him to miss under the CBA.

This guy has a bad stench around him. They need to be done with him ASAP.

Yeah, J.Long and Incognito were tight. And you know how?

J.Long and Henne were friends. That is a fact. Another one of the reasons Jake left. Jake felt the fins did henne wrong. They preferred to keep a less talented player(M&M) and the team turned its back on Henne.

J.Long and Incognito were teammates. Nothing more.

Remember Incognito saying Jake didn't call him back or even respond when he became a Free Agent.

J.Martin and Incognito were friends. Even after the scandal the channels of communication were still open.

Salguero tries hard but I think he's one of these Fundamentalist types who actually believes the Earth is 6000 years old and that thousand year old men built wooden boats that carried two of every kind of animal on it (how did the kangaroos hop to Australia, anyway?).

Anyway, nice guy but not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

Oh, puhleeze. Craig, you're too smart a guy to actually think Martin would show up for OTA's.

No offense (really), but you are SERIOUSLY grasping at straws with that. You know damn well that would not happen.

Martin is NOT a distraction to anything or anyone right now. They'll trade or release him outright at whatever time they feel is appropriate.

I'm also hearing that there will be a fine or loss of a draft choice for the Fins. We will know pretty soon.

I agree with this whole article, Mando. Tired of the Phins being indecisive. Tired of wait-and-see, tired of trying to squeeze this-or-that out of a situation. CUT MARTIN. No one is fooled by you putting him ou there for the trade market. He is a much worse cancer in any locker room than Incognito.

You guys say Dashi and Rdubs are holding some sort of grudge towards Martin.


It is you guys that sound like a scorned lover.

We are talking about making a sound business decision. Getting something for Martin makes perfect sense. If not you cut him at the last minute.

Craig, reread my post. I know that OTAs start right after the draft. I said the same thing.

And like I said the team has moved on from Martin.

You HONESTLY THINK that even if Martin was on the roster come OTAs the fins will automatically insert on the starting roster. Ridiculous.

I'm also hearing that there will be a fine or loss of a draft choice for the Fins. We will know pretty soon.

Posted by: NFL Insider | February 11, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Even though they took action and suspended Incognito?


Thats what I'm hearing. We'll know in a few days.


The Colts have spent a high draft pick and big money on their Tackles. I've heard that if the Colts do trade for him they want to turn him into a OG.

And I don't mean Original Gangster.

I'm also hearing that there will be a fine or loss of a draft choice for the Fins. We will know pretty soon.

Posted by: NFL Insider | February 11, 2014 at 11:59 AM


Hearing it where? Post the links or it doesn't exist except in your imagination.

I agree Mando, let them both walk. Between the draft and FA I think we can bring in some talent to offset the loss. If you remember, they were both playing pretty crappy prior to the scandal. Let them go and let's move on. As usual, I am drinking the coolaid regarding Hickey. He said he wants to win in the trenches and that's where it all starts so let's see how he plans to do it an who he targets. Go Phins!


You have been wrong a lot lately. Can't take your word serious.

Thats what I'm hearing. We'll know in a few days.

Posted by: NFL Insider | February 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM


Getting those voices in your head again?

Watch and see.

Marco (NFL Insider),

Who are you kidding?

What is Armandas right versus wrong taly now? There has to be some sort of slaughter rule, right?

Watch and see.

Posted by: NFL Insider | February 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Translation: I have no links to provide. I just pull crap out of my ass in the desperate hope you all will see me as someone with "inside info" instead of just another guy with a keyboard and an internet connection.

Who, exactly, do you think you are fooling?

How about we trade all our second round picks for the next five years. We seem to be snake bit it that round.

How about we trade all our second round picks for the next five years. We seem to be snake bit it that round.

Posted by: Biggs13 | February 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

That was Ireland. And almost all the picks!

I also agree, but mostly because I dont think they'll get a late round pick for him at all--has nothing to do with what Ross said because everyone knows the situation and the position Miami is in....they cant keep him, dont want him, Fin players dont want him--so why would a team offer anything in a trade when they know Miami will release him at some point anyway? Ross just stated the obvious, but it didnt matter....cut Martin and move on.

Incognito is a big JACKASS and I'm glad he's off my team. Another poor judgement by Ireland signing him.

Resets are good sometimes. While the conditions are different, the New England Patriots reset quickly when Aaron Hernandez went all Al Capone on society. They didn't keep him around to wait for the legal system to decide his fate. They cut his posterior immediately. They separated themselves from an ugly situation.


The day that NE released Hernandez, making him an unrestricted FA, Goodell announced that no team would be allowed to sign AH without permission. In other words he is still NE property. Why? Because when the charges are dropped Kraft will have Goodell reinstate AH's contract.

When Don Shula was asked about Incognito he said he wouldnt have him on his team. "You win with good people on AND off the field."


You're dead wrong about Cogs and Long. You need togo back and read Cogs' comments when Long was a free agent and undecided.don't take my word for it. Go back and check it out and then tell me these guys 'were just teamates'. They were TIGHT.


Are the same things that Long said to Incogs.


You're dead wrong about Cogs and Long.

Posted by: Craig M | February 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Tell us something we dont know!!! LOL


Incogs with sandpaper condoms.

Sandpaper condoms! Ha ha ha ha

I'm hearing a lot about Zach Martin for the Dolphins at 19. He's mostly just a name to me but I'm hearing he might be good inside as a guard. What would guys think about that and then adding running back and safety in the second or third? I realize we could use another TE. What about a guy like Brandon Pettigrew in FA? Maybe add someone like Jason Collins in FA too?

Sorry meant Anthony Collins from Cinci.


Martin would love OTAs, wear shorts - he wouldn't be with teh starters, he can hang with the kickers, you give him a virgin daquiri and he would be in heaven.

If we take a guard in teh first round - he better be the next coming of Mike Iupati... over the last couple of days I noticed I had the LSu alabama game on my pvr wo i watched it. man, that was a cj mosley highlight tape. If he tests out and he's there, add him to the players I would take before an o lineman at 19. give me the best at a position instead of the 5th best who may be similar to a 2nd round talent.

I would try and trade Martin for a 6th or 7th. There's no games to be played and there will be no distraction. He won't show up to OTAs. If they can get nothing for him, cut him.

Craig M, I have heard Zach Martin a lot also. He seems to be in that tier of offensive tackles that don't really jump out to me like Robinson, Matthews, and even Lewan do.

At 19 overall I would want a lineman that could plug right in to play right tackle or guard. If Martin could do that I would consider him. I think Hickey should take RB in rounds 2-4. There will be quality backs there.

I'm not a big fan of the free agent TE's unless they come for cheap. I would rather lock Clay up long term. I would love if the team got Ebron in round 1 as BPA and playmaker. Him, Clay, and Wallace could create matchup nightmares. Just my 2 cents.

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