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Hester or not, Dolphins can use return competition

Devin Hester apparently is going to have a decision to make soon.

The former University of Miami standout who happens to also be a former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl returner is apparently noticing his market in free agency is heating up and he has a decision to make.


So, yes, with God's help Hester is going to decide where he'll be playing in 2014. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel last week he'd like to play for the Dolphins. I'm certain if a paper in 30 other NFL cities had been asking, he might have told them he'd like to play for their teams as well.

It's called marketing.

I suppose that's why he's visiting the Atlanta Falcons today and has other visits set up as well.

Yes, Hester back in town would be good for him. But it's also about the right money and there is no knowing what kind of value the value conscious Dolphins would put on a 31-year-old returner.

But I will say this ... The Dolphins should put some value into improving their return game because last year it took a something of a step backward.

The Dolphins averaged 21.3 yards per kickoff return last year and that was 26th in the NFL. A season earlier, in 2012, the Dolphins averaged 27.1 yards per kick return and that was No. 3 in the NFL.

Marcus Thigpen saw his kickoff return numbers drop from 27.4 yards per return in '12 to 22.5 yards per return last season.

On punt returns the Dolphins went from 11.2 yards per return in 2013 to 7.8 yards per return in '13 and that meant a drop from the sixth best return unit in the league to 23rd. And again, Thigpen's stats suffered in direct parallel to the team's.

Thigpen averaged 7.8 yards per return last season with 20 fair catches. He averaged 12.2 yards per return with only six fair catches in 2012.

And Thigpen, who had a kickoff and punt return TD in 2012, didn't score on either a kickoff or punt return last season.


He averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return, which ranked him sixth in the NFL last season. And he averaged 14.2 yards per punt return, although he only had 18 of them with 11 fair catches.

Now here's the rub ...

How much would Hester expect from the Dolphins? Or anyone?

The last time he signed a new contract was 2010 when he got a four-year, $21.956 million deal from the Bears. That was a different time and different set of circumstances.

The Dolphins aren't likely to pay anywhere close to that because, well, Hester's not 26 anymore, they don't value him as a wide receiver as the Bears did back in the day, and the team has approximately $19,185,752 of salary cap space as of Monday afternoon.

Also, Thigpen is cheap by comparison. He's only scheduled to make $570,000 in 2013.

So whether Hester is a fit and whether the Dolphins value him enough to outbid other teams for him is the question.

But as to Thigpen, there is little question.

The team will either replace him or bring in some competition for training camp. If he wins the competition, great.

If Thigpen cannot win the competition, the same relatively inexpensive salary that makes him so attractive also makes him a target. Because if the Dolphins cut him before the start of the regular season, they will carry only $2,500 in dead money.


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", the same relatively inexpensive salary that makes him so attractive also makes him a target

Target for what? Not like hes old. You dont cut young guys that have shown promise that cost you nothing to keep on the roster but a roster spot



The decrease in yardage on kickoffs and punts could be a blocking problem too. I've never been a big fan of Thigpens but I guess he is a (wink wink) Joe Phibin kind of guy. Whatever that is.
That's why I cringed when we signed Cortland Finnegan b/c if anybody ISN'T a Philbin guy it would be Cortland Finnegan. That's OK b/c I ain't exactly all that enthralled with Philbin. As Jim Mandich(RIP) used to say He doesn't make my toes tingle all that much but Ross is the boss.

Hey, I like Hester. He says he still runs a 40 in the 4's. Test him. Most importantly he is experienced. Thigpen sometimes looks a little hesitant. I am sure coaches notice minute hesitations. Hester has proven he can break them from time to time.
Last year they score late and we start off at the 20. If they score and we start off at the 40, that is much bigger. Less plays to make it into scoring position. Starting off at the 40 and we go 3 and out they are starting off at their 10.
So I sign the guy, today. 2 years at 3 million per with an incentive based contract to bring him to 5.

Thigpen never seems to cross the 25 yard line on kickoffs

As GM, I offer him $1 million signing bonus, vet min for 2 years and $500,000 per TD.

picking up Devin hester is a know brainer,miami needs to go out and do what they need to do.the needs to let the gm do his job.we need to pick up a veteran running back.either there serious about winning or there not,it is time to put up or shut up.It has been way to long since miami has made the playoffs. The owner does not know norhing about football.

We don't need Hester

Posted by: klndry | March 18, 2014 at 06:34 AM

Agree, time him in the 40

Hester is older now and has developed a fear of getting hurt in the return game. thats why he wanted a conversion to WR but that also didn't go well.. stay away! holliday,signed by NYG, was a better option.

IMO the Dolphins havent addressed the skill position that could actually directly lead to TDs and wins running back.The team in its infinite wisdom let R.Bush walk because of management problems,the OC and GM and possibly Philbin and Aponte not agreeing with each other.I thought that was the NEW speil this year hiring people that could work together,thus far I dont see any major changes in skill on the Dolphins.

The same story about the offensive line being the building blocks of the offense is true but you can have the best blocking in the league, and without skill players to exploit it you wont improve in the MOST important area winning games.

It seems the NEW regime has taken a new mantra VALUE.I hope they have the same idea for ticket prices because there not that much better than last season at least on paper.Dont try to convince yourself that the o-line changes will make that much difference in wins and lossses,its about scoring TDs on offense.

We don't need an aging returner sorry

We need OL

And maybe a RB

I like Thigpen myself, I thought he should have been in the offense more last season, I believe we threw one screen pass to him and it went for 50 yards and we never tried again for some reason. Thigpen has shown in the past he can make people miss and take it the distance even though he didn't break one last year he did have some good returns. The only way the Dolphins get Hester is if it is on the cheap and that probably won't happen.

If they get anything out of free agency, they should bust their buts to try and get MJD as their running back

The Dolphins give me diarrhea

I would take a Knowshon or MJD in free agency, since they will be cheap. I dont think it is essential to grab an RB in the draft. Tampa has had a pretty goof stable of running backs, dont you remember Tampas 3rd and 4th string running all over us and lets not forget about Doug Martin,who is a fantastic running back. All of these players were picked by Hickey, so I will trust him in getting us a quality RB in the draft. My choice TRE LA SOUL!!

I'd make Thill run back kicks

I'd make Failbin run back punts, and he's not allowed fair catches

Thigpen was completely under utilized by that dope Sherman. He scored the winning TD against the Pats on pass out of the backfield. I think I can recall less than a dozen Offensive snaps with Thigpen in the lineup. He is a decent sized guy who has wheels. I'd think you would want him involved more? Especially given how little he costs the team in salary.

Return specialist's are only comfortable when the play is in front of them. Many of them were RBs in the beginning also. That is why the receiver experiment with them often fails. When they turn their back to the D to run patterns, they get disoriented and nervous.

Hester like Ginn can only run stuff like fly patterns and outs, and maybe some bubble screens. I think Hester could be more effective out of the backfield than at WR.

Ultimately, in as much as I like Hester as a return man; I think the best avenue is to bring in a real WR of RB that can challenge for their position and as return man.

need a qb
not hester

I agree, I dont think you can have a roster spot for a PR/KR when thats all they can do. He needs to be able to play a position too. I hope Thigpen gets cut, I dont see anything spectacular about him and his constant fair catches killed us and put us behind the 20 multiple times!

Jpao, I hear what your saying about having him on third downs, but remember in 2012 when he was put into the game more regularly after we had few injuries, he dropped alot of balls and was inconsistent.I just dont see anything remarkable about him

I don't care if they sign Hester. They should not over pay for his services though. I'm still kind of shocked as to why the dolphins spent so much on finnegan. I cant wrap my head around the deal other than to say that starting CB around the league average $5.5 mill so he was paid the average. I think to this point, it's been hickeys only mistake in his signings is paying too much for finnegan. And I still can't figure out how the hell NO signed strief to that deal with literally no cap room. Is the guy playing for free or something this season?

The OL still needs addressing. Brown, Winston, Clabo, Newhouse. Another OT had to be brought in...

Maybe if the RB they drafted in the 5th round last year could do something else than just suck!! We would have a KR.

The Fins have to many holes on their roster to be worried about getting a specialist for 4-5 plays a game.

Draft a Mid-round RB that can also return Kicks. Get rid of Gator Brain and Thigpen.

I also forgot to mention Penn, Britton, or even Levi brown.


You know Tre Mason returned kicks in college ;)

On Hester playing another position.


Most UM fans know this about Hester. Hester has a Major Learning Disability. He is borderline retarded, He makes Ocho-Cinco look like a Genius. So don't expect Hester to learn any plays!

Reason Hester is so "Special" at returning kicks. He doesn't have to think.

So can we please forget that Pipe Dream.

No to Hester, his best days are behind him.


You know Dashi already proposed how to fix the RB problem, IF THE FINS FIX THE O-LINE IN FREE AGENCY.




Mason and Williams will replace the 3 Backup RBs. Thomas, Thigpen, and Gator Brain.

Mason and L.Miller can return kicks.

Dashi's Dream Depth Chart

1- L.Miller
2- A.Williams
3- Mason

Also, by all 3 of them being on their rookie contracts. You will be paying about $1M for all 3 for the next couple of seasons. Allowing you to answer other questions on the roster.


Uts funny, Ia ctually think their is a legitimate chance Tre comes to Miami.If so I will purchase a custom Mason jersey with TRE LA SOUL where the name goes.Yes, I know thats gay!


Hester isn't the threat he once was. With his age and with more importantly the kick returns becoming less and less with them moving the kickoff point up, Hester and return specialists can't make as much of an impact as they once could. However, it clearly still has a part in the game and although I don't think Hester is capable of multiple returns a year anymore I do think he gives you that threat and a punchers chance as much as any top returner. Obviously salary is going to play a part in it but I know every time Miami is ready to recieve a punt or kick I would be holding my breath if Hester were back there thinking this could be the big one. I won't however hold my breath on them signing him though.

Charles Brown looks to be the best of the rest, but he got beat out of his starting job at LT, and the Saints liked Strief at RT better. Money could have something to do with it, since Strief took bottom dollar to stay there. Perhaps there is something that the Saints are not letting out of the loop. Nevertheless, he looks like he can fill the RT and be a back up plan if Albert goes down.


That ain't gay. That is what he is most famous for right now. His Daddy. ;)

I am not one to judge. I have a #17 jersey that says T-Sizzle.

At least you are getting a jersey to support a player you like. Some people don't care which player they are wearing just the team. For that get a Team Shirt and not a jersey.

Now if Tre goes to another team, like Kevin would say from Shark tank "You are dead to me!" LMAO

Mando, you do understand that Thigpin needs blocking?

. For that get a Team Shirt and not a jersey.

Posted by: Dashi

Provided we 'fix' the OL in FA, what you are proposing is to burn three of our top four and possible our top three on a WR and two RBs. I like the two Rbs , but value on them is at an all time low in the NFL. Benjamin may even fall out of the first round due to his poor routes and suspect hands. I just can't see it.

In what decade will the Dolphins finally get a franchise QB?

Bruce there are about 18 teams out there asking the same thing

2020,hang in there
it's right around
the corner

wildcard not being talked about is jacoby ford the former raiders wr/rt. 4.28 at combine should b around 24-27 not sure age wen he came out of clemson. st coach rizzi wanted him before.

Thigpen was rather bland last year. The biggest thing I saw was penalties on kick return. Even if he made it out past the 25 there was yellow on the field and we started at the 10 or 15. Just made me want to see him down it in the zone so we caould just start on the 20 at least. Kick return needs to be cleaned up this year, on all aspects.

If you want to address the return game, Jacoby Ford is still out there. A lot younger and faster and cheaper than Hester. Can also act as a backup speed receiver if something happens to Wallace.

Frank, it's because a good capologist will always find a way to make it work. The $19M or whatever we have right now is a fortune. When a player of top quality is available, you fit him under the cap and work the situation. There was only one player worthy of doing that for this year though and that was jarius Byrd. If only we didn't sign Rashad Jones to that ridiculous contract... would've been better to franchise him even...


How ya feeling bro? Your head still hurt?

rdubs, I do have a sneaking suspicion you will get your wish of Tre mason in the draft ... for some reason I just do ... not that it means anything.

Coltrane, Charles Brown getting beat out by Terron Armstead shouldn't be an indictment of his ability to play. Armstead is as talented a LT as the guys taken at 1,2, and 4. he just played at Arkansas Pine-Bluff instead of Oklahoma or Texas A&M so it took him longer to get adjusted. but he was standing up by the end of the year. That is a 10 year starter New Orleans picked in the 3rd round.

,,,Marc Mariani.. He is the guy. He played at Montana so he is better then all of them!! He is a pro bowl return guy. Set the record for all purpose yards in a Pro Bowl. So that obviously proves he is better then anyone out there.......



rdubs, much better this AM, thanks. Man, i fukked myself so hard last weekend 9and not ina lobstertube sort of way). The wound is healing up nicely (wife was worried I would scarred but I told her it would look cool even though the story behind it is shameful). Rough ride though - headache from Saturday morning up until last night...

The guy has the right first name ... don't knwo anything else about him... usually Italians aren't known for their superior return abilities though ... they make better linebackers or tight ends... except for john nalbone.

somebody put a
roofie in u'r drink
at that party
kidz or not
u pixxed some1 off

2 watt, felt like that - although i never got sick - just felt like my head was mush...

and i wasn't drinking at the kids party - i was drinking the night before...

RBs we can get on day three that can fill many needs:

T. West
A. Williams
S. Johnson
I. Crowell
J.Wilder JR
M Grice
D'A Thomas
L. Taliaferro
K. Bibbs

There are others , but these are my highest rated. All have talents that can be used diversely.

WRs that are a fit for us on day three:

J Huff
B Coleman
C. Latimer
D Archer
C. Hoffman
And here id my sleeper of the entire draft not just
WR: Jeremy Butler UT-Martin
He is pushing 6-3, a solid 210 lbs, is expected to run in the 4.4s today at his pro day. He has another pro day on the 21st with Vanderbilt.

This guy attacks the ball and has good hands. He is a converted DE from high school who went the JUCO route.
He may be a secret to many but not to SF, Packers, and the Colts of whom have announce to him they will be at his pro day.

He may not be a sleeper much longer.

..MIT..I don't know if Mariani would even make the team. He is coming off 2 freak injuries. He hasnt't played in 2 years because of said injuries. This is a personal wish. I would love to see him get a chance to make a roster. Why not here?

Favorite Montana player of all time. If he did manage his way onto the team. You guys would love him. Great return guy.

Bishop Sankey is the best rb in this draft and one that totally fits Chip kelly's type of offense if that is what we are running...

..D. Thomas probably has a decent idea of the Chip Kelley offense. There is our return guy.

And maybe a RB
Posted by: Marc from nj | March 18, 2014 at 07:50 AM

Maybe?????? we definitely need a playmaker at this position! So what if we have bolstered our OL, doesn't mean sh**t if we don't have a playmaker on offense especially at RB who can't compliment the blocking upfront......

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