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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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Probably from one of the more ignorant fu-ks here. I guess you should be grateful that a bi-racial Person has attained such a high degree of Education and well being in this Country because the way is open for you also to attain the same thing, and if not you, your children and grandchildren.

oscar for how many years now have you been ardently practicing celibacy?

Dr. Canosa how do I heal black bunions on my toes?

I see that many people have opinions on how to solve the problems with the Dolphins, not just posters, but columnist with various organizations.

They say to sign this FA and keep Grimes and Solia or Clemons or franchise Grimes and keep whoever and get Byrd; you all know what I mean.

If the situation were that simple, it would be great. But, what if people don't want to come to Miami? What if our own FA's don't want to stay here? We can only franchise one player. With about 30 mil to spend the franchise tag will take about a third of that, more if it's Grimes.

The top LT in FA will cost also, and Albert is the only one that I can see that their team definitely will let go without tagging him or out bidding us( Raiders have big money). So, we are probably shopping from the mid to bottom of the FA barrel, like where Clabo came from.

More money can be obtained from cutting players and reworking contracts, if the players are so inclined, but you still have the concept of whether FA's want to play here.

I think Hickey will be best served to build through the draft. Draftees have to play where drafted. This is a deep draft, especially at OT and RB. I don't see much difference from the mid first to the mid rounds in talent. I also think this could be a very good draft to find late round talent( I won't use the term acorn).

Sorry but I totally disagree with the "quick cutting" of Martin and letting him "be free" so easily.

Look I am a realist so I get the whole clean cut, sever ties imediately jive as Mando and so many are proposing but lets face it...a 5th found Zack Thomas. Lagarette Blount was an UDFA. We found a damn decent safety that played for years in Mia from Notre Dame. Hell Tom Brady was a late round pick. The Broncos had WR Rod Smith that was also a UDFA that has over 10,000 yards 3 Pro Bowls and was in 2 SB's starring in one. Yet another find WR Wes Welker anyone?

The moral of the story is that outrageously good players can come from any part in the draft as well as undrafted guys. That is precisely the reason why the Fins need any and all 6th or 7th round choices they can get. The draft is nothing more than a flesh lotto. You take your players and hope/pray that they are who you project. First rounders bust out all the time and late rounders make it on squads every year to help teams win for years.

Martin is now considered one more bullet in Hickey's chamber of rebuilding. This team is missing a good number of bricks from it's foundation so you need as many bricks as you can get.

You hold out as long as possible and play riverboat gambler as long as you possibly can creating some interest where you can. Martin was a second rounder, most pundits said it was a decent choice at the time (I never did think much of the pick), unfortunately he has shown holes in his game when he played. We can only hope an egotistical guy like Harbaugh(and others) will say I can build this guy up and jump a round or two on the draft compensation to nab him.

As many have said, maybe Luck campaigns to bring him in?

Plus how much distraction can Martin be when the teams aren't even playing?

It would appear that Mando, Craig M and a host of others and I are in exact opposite corners.

Time will tell. Hickey Dawn Joe need to do the right thing and play out this loser of a player er, hand.


Martin quit on his team, plain and simple. If we can get something for him before the draft then great. If not he gets cut, as it should be. No one on the Dolphins will ever trust him so there is no way he stays.

Ha!, you kinda of "drifted" into Football talk.

If Martin had ever exemplified any professionalism, regarding to talent or mentality, he might be trade bait. He is in essence a bug that slid through the walls of the NFL. I can't see a competent GM letting him on the property, let alone trading for him.

If you ever wonder why the world is so messed up...
look no further than the clueless bloggers here.

Posted by: Charles Brown | February 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Well, any fan with half a brain left deserted this crappy franchise years ago.

Martin will be a an effective starter in the NFL for 10 more years. Lets hope its with the Dolphins now that Incognitos gone.

We should just release Martin, it makes things easier. We should focus on getting our line all fixed up.

For all we know, Martin, like Cogs, might be suspended after the Wells report comes out on its recommendations. If not, maybe, maybe, an adventurous West Coast Team might offer us a 5th Rd pick for him. Maybe.

Incognito needs to go to drug rehab.

I have to agree that Martin is a quitter at the very least brenner mckinney pouncey clabo and jerry did not quit. Martin should be released. To think he could have finished the year at RT could have worked to improve, but he didn't he quits and takes incognito with him. A real man would have improved to make his team better.

Forget about Martin the guy is a loser who will be remembered as a quitter!

2014 just keep hoping!!!!!

Oscar, thank you for a magical night. I'm exhausted!

This Draft is deep in OLinemen and QBs but not in RBs. Tre Mason is more or less a smaller Reggie Bush clone. We don't need that here.

Come on Oscar, what do you see in Martin that makes him worth a fifth round pick?

Glad to see the lazy and spoiled American athletes like Shawn White take it on the chin in the Olympics.

They are a national disgrace.

Listen, Jameis Winston, aside from his problems, is some kind of seriously talented QB. Up for grabs.

JMart has never had a Big League Coach teach him. Perhaps, Jim Harbaugh now, Carroll. A 5th better than nothing.

what do you see in Martin that makes him worth a fifth round pick?

Posted by: Coltrane | February 11, 2014 at 11:28 PM

The guy started his 1st 2 years in the NFL. 5th rders dont even do that.

If you are looking for first round rbs, I don't see any, in this draft or seldom in any. But there are a lot of good solid backs. I can't see drafting a back before the third round. If the GM knows what is needed for the offense, he can get a back in the mid to late rounds.

We need a strong downhill runner that can pick up the blitz. We also need a FB that can catch and block. This draft has several of each. Just for measurement two that I think are a couple of duds are Hyde and Sims. I see many want these two, although I don't know why.

The guy started his 1st 2 years in the NFL. 5th rders dont even do that.
Posted by: Mike | February 11, 2014 at 11:38 PM

Richard Sherman did.

Every team in the league knows that we will have to cut Martin. The owner went in front of the press and stated that he would not be on the team. If Hickey can get a 7th round pick for him, then he is the Count of Monte Cristo. I just don't see it happening. You can't get compensation for something everyone knows you are throwing away. Hope I'm wrong.

Will Hickey bring in a FA QB to push Tannehill (since Philbin want to push him) or will he pick a late round QB?

Gerrard probably would have started two years ago if he didn't get injured. Is he still available?

What about Freeman who Hickey probably knows better than most?

Tannehill has shown flashes of greatness. 2014 could be it for him.

Fifth rounders have to excel to start in their early years, early rounders often start because they are expected to because the incumbents are so pitiful.

The only way Shoes is if a successful team figures he's a decent swing man tackle option as a rotational player. That's probably worth something and they know if he's cut he'll never make it to them. Only a loaded team that has picks to spare and possibly a coach that is familiar with him (SF) or players (Indy).

How are Ronnie Brown's wheels?

They could probably get him on the cheap just for third downs. That's probably all he's good for.

Let Brown end his career as a Fin.

Let Brown run the wildcat on third down.

Nugget, did you know that Oscar wears a turban and bikini briefs when he posts here?

Don't care about Oscar.

Freeman, Vick or Gerrard could get Tannehill motivated.

Let's see if Hickey hires his old boss Dominik and other Bucs staff.

They drafted well. It's the Glazers coach hiring that has had the Bucs in a mess.

good night.

I think there are very few times it is feasible to pay for the big money FAs. These players are too often mostly motivated by the money.

To achieve motivated talent, you have to draft well or pick up players that are hungry.

Yeah i saw how good player Incognito was as opposing de-lineman ran by and around him making sacks and tackling backs in the backfield.


With Martin, we as fans see the negative stuff about his play.

What some GM and especially gifted coaches might see is a player that strength trained in the off season because he knew he needed to get stronger. A young, athletic OL that "may" blossom with the right coaching and seasoning. He was probably rated as a 2nd or 3rd round guy depending on who's board you looked at.

The team that gets him for a 5th or 6th round pick is gaining 2-3 rounds in value. Teams like Seattle and SF are loaded with talent so having many picks is not as beneficial as it's harder to make those teams.

I am sure there is some crazy stuff going on in the lockerooms of nearly every team. I bet there are more than a few coaches saying "That Miami lockeroom is way worse off than mine. That young guy won't be subject to all the junk he was there. With our strong leadership, we will fix him."

The key being the team that trades for him won't have to jockey for his rights as a FA. BAM! Draft pick coming for a soon to be cast off.


There is nothing to gain by cutting Martin. Teams routinely take on players with a far worse history than Martin. The one who spoiled the game was Ross sticking his foot in his mouth saying Martin wouldn't be back.

Richie Incognito is a good player? You can't be serious! His PFF rating is terrible, placing him towards the bottom of all NFL guards! Do your homework before you make a dumb statement like that!

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