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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.

Hester?

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.

Comments

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Phans need to be realistic as it's nearly impossible to rebuild an OL in one off season. That being said the Dolphins have taken some major steps towards achieving such a goal by hiring one of the best OL coaches in the business, Benton, and signing arguably the best free agent LT available. They would have added a RT in Strief but he didn't want to leave New Orleans. The Dolphins will surely use draft picks to add potential starters and depth to their OL. Not to mention comb the waiver wires and practice squads on up through the early half of the 2014 season.

DD,

The Simplicity of the C.Kelly Offense is what I love.

Like you said the whole offense is based on the 2 running plays.

They run the Bubble Screen off it. Then they run the fake. Or fake the screen and run the ball. They basically call one play and whatever the defense gives them is what they run. If you press the bubble screen, they throw it deep.

The reason I love watching College Football. Coaches can experiment with more schemes. If you can't recruit like the Big Schools you better out scheme them on the field.

its obvious garner is a full-time backup (versatile).

dallas T im guessing is a philbin pick as JI didn't care about OLINE. he & Brenner need a chance to bulk up & step-up, as ANY new draftee will need to. maybe its their year?

Z martin (who WAS gonna play LT is penciled for RT, which is way better). its shaping up.

plan c/d is Winston & others are in the wings.

Last year, L.Miller was a little gun shy as the season progressed.

Andre Brown is a brute, would love to get him.

dashi, good news is RT is not gun shy w/ that OL. I could see why RBs would be gun shy with DL/LBs in the backfield play after play.

my biggest problem with Thomas is his lack of patience. not time for hole to develop, WEHN the actually did develop, so he tip toed 1" behind the OLines as$es. no way/no wehre to run that way.

Andy, yes on Shazier!

Resign R.Brown.

2 year deal. So he can retire a Dolphin.

Cut
D.Thomas
Gator Brain

Sign Hester on a 1 year deal

Cut Thigpen

Draft A.Williams in the 3rd or 4th.

RB Depth Chart

1-L.Miller
2-R.Brown
3-A.Williams
4-Hester

DJ,

Agreed. Thomas has zero vision as a RB, plus he injury and Fumble Prone.

NeMo and Coltrane

I haven't been on the blog often. Nice to see I have company with that. I hate that school from ohio but Shazier just sticks out as the best player on that D every week. He's awesome, plain and simple.

Coltrane - Yeah he's the type of hard nosed, physical runner Miami lacks. He runs hard and has has very good size. I still am hoping for Tre Mason in round 2, think he has potential to be a faster Ray Rice but Brown would be a vet I'd love to bring in. The OL was terrible but RBs and LBs definitely did thier part in stinking it up as a group as well.

well...now youre being a H8R...Gillislee will be good. and hes cheap. and good on ST, so that makes no sense.

DT, gone, sure. Gilly can take his role.

no drafting of RBs. FA only

Hester wont sign 1yr deal.

Mack in Toronto: Bli gleep?

Toronto,

just commented to NeMo about it above. I love Shazier. He was the one player I loved to hate which makes you earn respect for him. Sort of like how I hated Jim Kelly, Thurm and the rest back in the day but it turned into respect.

Shazier's ability to just flash is something you can't teach. You will see a stretch play going opposite side of the field and he shoots the gap from weak play side for a 2 yard loss. OR how about vs Michigan State he pushes 3 linemen 2 yards back by himself and blocks the punt. Diving pass deflections, interceptions, tackles downfield, etc. Honestly I used to think he was a Strong safety he made so many game changing plays all over the field. I don't think I truly realized he was a LB until this past season.

Now as a Michgan fan I can't say the same for Hyde. I've seen alof of Hyde. I like Hyde but like Tre Mason much more and it's not even close.

JAGS JUST SIGNED TANDON DOSS WR/PR

Evidently he's 24 and led the league with a 15.6 yd punt return avg last season.

Dolphins caught sleeping again.

Andy,

I keep looking at this draft and keep thinking that Xavier Su'a-Filo is more a possibility than Shazier or Martin. The reason I think we would pass on Martin is Filo was strictly a OG and in my humble fan opinion is a lot better prospect at the position than Martin. IMO Martin is best suited at RT and there are many of those through the draft and 3 rounds deep.

As for Shazier (whom I like and would be very happy with) I just get the feeling the Fins coaching feels good about the LB's we currently have and will look to add depth. (Just a gut feeling)

My hope for the draft is that Evan's slips to 19. It is a slim chance but I've seen stranger things in the draft. Either way there will be a lot of talent available at 19 so we'll see what happens.

Yeah, to me based on what's expected to eb available it's either hageman or Shazier. Both would eb excellent talents... Ebron or Amaro would also be in the mix... really awaiting that Ebron workout on march 25 ... will tell us how much Ebron really sticks out from the pack at TE. That being said though Amaro really showed a lot of athleticism in his testing and nobody was more productive at TE than him... a lot of Gronkowski in this guy...

Frederick Of Hollywood,

Have you met Crack Of Dawn?

Andy, as a watcher of Big 10, what are your thoughts on hageman?

Texas, I like Sua-Filo a lot too. I'm not sure about taking a guard at 19 though. I guess if he is pro bowl caliber it would be well worth it.

My pick right now is going to be Shazier based on who all the mocks have available. I don't see Ebron slipping to us.

Gillislee on special teams? Exactly which unit would that be? Not sure what Ireland was smoking when he drafted this guy, slow, small, weak, unathletic... pure college player.

Texas_D

I hope your wrong about the coaches feeling good about the LBs. From the naked eye and just watching the games last year and rewatching them on DVR I would watch the running plays vs the Bucs and Bills and even late vs Ravens and what I saw was Miami's LBs standing still and waiting for the play to come to them. I don't see anyone filling holes, taking on blockers or for that matter taking on RBs. They stand still, wait and then make a tackle. I noticed this in the preseason as well they just lack instincts to take angles, fill holes, make splash plays.

Ellerbe has some skills but needs to be a weakside LB. He's terrible as a MLB. My lasting image of him is a twisting Geno Smith looking like Cam Newton backing him into the end zone. How you don't plant a QB is inexcusable.

Wheeler is horrible. I don't know what Ireland was doing with him. He has more aggression then Ellerbe but is just a bad tackler. Led team in missed tackles by a landslide.

Misi is just ok and serviceable. Great at nothing. Good vs run, ok in coverage, adequate blitzer.

Jenkins is wild card. I hope he develops for the sake of the bad and mediocre LBs but the game was way to fast for him as a rookie. He got better as the season went on but watch the Jets game he didn't belong on the field that day. Terrible!

As far as your guy Sua-Filo I havent researched him enough but I might have to take a look. I thought he was a 2nd rounder but have seen some recent buzz as a late 1st rounder for him. I personally don't want Filo or Martin at this point.

diarrhea of the fingers.

Toronto,

Love Hageman. He was actually a toss up with Shazier and probably even had the nod over him until we resigned Starks and got Earl Mitchell. I don't know much about Earl Mitchell other then he led all interior DL in tackles last year which counts for something. So I don't see Hageman as anywhere close to a need.

Hageman as a player is a beast. He can be flat out dominant at times. If he gets the right coaching and lets hope its not Belichick he has the potential to be very good/star type.

Given the frequency when we started on the 20s, advanced the ball but did not get it over to score, I think we could do better - probably several field goals and a few touchdowns over the season with a better run back game. Hester is more likely to do it than Thigpen. Hester may only upgrade us for a few years but it is fine to sign him to a short term contract with lucrative incentives for yards gained and touchdowns. A few million one way or the other will not break us. But a few touchdowns and field goals over the season may make the difference between playoffs and no playoffs as we continue to build out team.

MIT,

That has been my whole argument about Gillislee. What does he excel at?

Calling him a good college player is a Stretch. He had 1 OK year in 4 years of College. At UF, Which has only produced 2 Good NFL RBs in 100 years of existence.

What Does Gillislee do well?

He isnt a special teams player.

At best he can become a guy you give 5 plays to at the end of games if you are winning.

come on, say the same for your beloved miller too then.
in that regard, keep D Thomas only.

Andy, then we see the draft the same way, I think hageman is a great player - would even slightly favour him over Shazier (slightly), but we need a LB more so it may sway us away from. I had us slotted to take Sheldon Richardson at 12 last year too. Richardson/Hageman, hmmm...

I agree Dashi, Gillislee is not an NFl player. Maybe 5 plays at the end of the game, some guy for our defenders to hit in practice to give them confidence, other than that ... nothing.

Mark,

I'm back from the dead too. Had the worst flu I've ever had in my life. Couldn't do anything for a week. Even sleeping hurt. I don't wish that sickness on anyone. Even scared me straight on taking the flu shot from now on. I thought I was Wolverine because I don't get sick, but I got caught. Now I'm getting it every year. Even if I only get 1/2 the flu, it'll be better than the cr*p I just went through for 7-10 days.

If this is what I have to look forward too this side of 40, I'm looking into the Jack Kevorkian special!

I was so sick I couldn't even enjoy the start of FA! That's sick people. Eat your oranges.

Toronto,

It's only a guessing game at times with the draft and I always have 2 guys I want in round 1. And I can indeed say I wanted Sheldon Richardson last year 2 but he was plan B. I wanted Tyler Eifert or Sheldon Richardson last year. Player I hated on the most was of course who we ended up taking Dion Jordan lol. Oh well.

I've been hit or miss with my plan A and B but here's a look at past drafts on this blog. lol

2013 - Eifert/Richardson
2012 - Tannehill/Luke Kuechly
2011 - Ryan Mallet/Mark Ingram - terrible!
2010 - Earl Thomas/Brandon Graham
2009 - Clay Mathews/Hakeem Nicks

So the Saints just signed FB Erik Lorig from the bucks. N.O has no cap room, how did hey sign him? Something fishy is going on here.If I am Jimmy Graham I am super PO'D!

Toronto,

If you go back to 09 and start with my first pick Clay Mathews and follow the timeline we'd have one hell of a D.

09 - Clay Matthews
10- Earl Thomas
11 - Ryan Mallet
12 - Tannehill would be canceled out cause we took Mallet so we get Kuechly
13 - Tyler Eifert

Not sure if my eye for offensive talent is there with Mallet and Eifert but on Defense Im nailing my picks! lol.

Andy, I saw the same as you at 12 except well, I had it inverted Richardson/Eifert. At four I had Lane Johnson but not disappointed with Jordan at all.

If we didn't trade down, the first three rounds for us would've netted us Richarson, Jamie Collins, Terron Armstead, Brian Schwenke, and Da'Rick Rogers (who wnet undrafted, haha)

With the trade down, Lane Johnson, Terron Armstead, Brian Schwenke, and Da'Rick Rogers.

A lot of players that would've solved our needs right now. Either way, I can't believe they passed over Armstead AND Schwenke .. two perfect fits in our system at o line, a position of great need at the time and even moreso now...

whats next fellas, talking about high school girl friends that coulda woulda shoulda?

Andy, I think we should coapply for the Gm postion, or just put up a poll in this blog for the pick, I bet we would be better off...

I also wanted Mallett that year. Since we didn't take him, I didn't bother getting too deep in the draft the next year because there was only one option and that was Tannehill..so i dind't have a 2nd option.

More Thigpen.

DC, that sucks man, weather been brutal this year so when you get the flu, man it's lights out...luckily i escaped it this year, especially with teh wife knocked up and all, wouldn't want her getting sick.

Want to avoid teh flu, stay ydrated at all times

Toronto,

Ireland was a bad GM, period. Swapping out of LBs which couldve been on Philbin too. The lack of over sight that the OL was going to be terrible to drafting D. Jordan at 3. Ireland hit here and there but struck out far too much.

My guys at 19 this year Shazier/Tre Mason.

I know, I know probably HUGE reach for Mason but don't think he makes it to where we pick in round 2. He's a faster Ray Rice. He's shifty, strong, GREAT balance to get yards after contact which is something Miami lacks since Ricky in his prime. I know it won't be a popular pick at 19 but Shazier/Tre Mason are my guys!

If we can somehow get both then that would just be insane from my point of view. But again think Mason is best RB in this draft already with an even HIGHER upside.

Fair comment DJ, questioning the relevancy of what could've been. But it's an idictment of management when two guys who make a fraction of what the so called specialized talent evaluator makes would've done a better job...

I'm more convinced than ever that these Gms are shooting blanks when it comes to the draft. There is enough information out there that they aren't necessarily in the top 1% of people in the know anymore..

Alot riding this year on this team..

Players and coaches are in a show me year.

too many to list....

Aaron Donald
Taylor Lewan
Khalil Mack
RaShede Hageman
Dee Ford
*Jace Amaro
*Ryan Shazier
*Greg Robinson
*Brandin Cooks
Jason Verrett


My top 10. Now I expect after Ebron's workout that Amaro will go down a bit and Ebron will sneak his way onto the list. SO of the guys i expect to be avialble on the list it looks like Hageman/Ford/Shazier.

DT and DE are probably position of riches for us so that may knock Shazier up the list...

Ebron would be very high on my list possibly knocking off the REACH of of round 1 in Tre Mason (my guy) but I usually only consider guys I expect to be around.

Ebron to me won't make it past Giants. They have nothing at the position. But there's several other teams who might take him late top 10 like Bills or even Titans.

Big fan of Ebron's game.

I am not alone with my love for TRE MASON. I am not the only one who would take him in the first!

When Lamar Miller was running the ball down hill at ease everyone was screaming for Sherman to RUN THE BALL.
We will sign a big big/change of pace back to compliment his skill set.

McKinnie stated he wil move to RT. O line and run game = no worries.

Here is what this team needs:


Moreno who last played for the Denver Broncos scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,000 yards for a team that was primarily pass happy. He added over 500 yards receiving as well. A solid blocking back as well, Moreno could be the Dolphins answer for their tailback search eliminating the need to look at this years draft.

Productive and can BLOCK!!!!!

L.Miller played 2 years of College football. Both of those years he was productive.

L.Miller beat out D.Thomas his rookie year for the #2 RB by the end of the season, and was the starter by year 2. Gator Brain can't beat out Thigpen for the #3 Job. C.Clay got more Carries than Gillislee.

M.James would have been a better pick. He is a Kick Returner and a Short Yardage Back. Would've replaced Thigpen and Thomas his rookie year.

How many freaking rookie RB's do you guys want?

I don't understand what the hold up is, sign this guy already!!!

Only a fool would jidge a QB or RB behind an abysmal Offensive line.

1-Ebron TE or OG
2- S.Henderson RT
3- C.Borland MLB
4- A.Williams RB
5- FS
6- L.Thomas QB
7- Santos K

You guys should probably should be talking o-line at 19 or you may be disapointed.

Main thing is that it's a guy who can play and at a high level. For a change.

Name 1 Great Running Back that was praised for his Blocking.

Barry Sanders?
Jim Brown?
O.J. Simpson?
Payton?
Peterson?

Running Backs are suppose to excel with the ball in their hand. Not at Blocking!!

YOU WANT A RB THAT CAN BLOCK!! PUT A FB OR AN H-BACK IN TO BLOCK!!

RBs RUN THE BALL!!

@AndyNJ
Your LB assessment is SPOT ON!! Nailed it, I believe Jackson was the 1st f/a Hickey brought in for a looksie? Based in that alone Hickey/Staff sees a void that needs filling, I would be extremely surprised if a LB is not drafted by round 4 but think it could be within 1st two depending on bpa..

It’s being reported by ESPN that the Miami Dolphins and free agent tailback Knowshon Moreno are closing in on a deal, this according to a text I received earlier from someone who saw it on ESPN. They don’t cite any specifics only that Moreno hopes to get a deal done. The Dolphins are looking for an additional running back to pair with Lamar Miller.

Moreno who last played for the Denver Broncos scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,000 yards for a team that was primarily pass happy. He added over 500 yards receiving as well. A solid blocking back as well, Moreno could be the Dolphins answer for their tailback search eliminating the need to look at this years draft. There are still questions about what the Dolphins will do with their current roster.

Mike Gillislee did little to prove his value to the club and Daniel Thomas has been inconsistent while showing at times signs that he can help the team win. Marcus Thigpen who has been mainly a PR/KR specialist is not likely going to make any strong push for more playing time in the backfield.

Drafted in 2009 by Denver with the 12th pick in the first round, Moreno has put almost 3,500 yards on his running resume while adding another 1,400 through the air. While his numbers are good, his durability has been a concern. He played 16 games last season but only eight the year before and seven the year before that. Still, when Moreno gets into a groove he is a hard runner to bring down.

The Dolphins have also been reported to be looking at Maurice Jones-Drew and as a trade interested party to Chris Johnson of Tennessee. However the team has made no moves on either front as of yet and it’s likely that Moreno could end any speculation of another runner entirely.

.
.
.
Sign Moreno Hickey!!!!!!

Rdubs

Wow. Ok bro! I didn't think anyone else was on board with that one.

Miami's biggest need of the offseason was clear and they added a Pro Bowl LT B. Albert and supposedly a rising player in Shelly Smith. The 2 most important parts of the OL are set and add to the mix a bunch of solid guys with starts under their belt and the Oline appears not all the way set but much improved already. The draft is deep at RT and they could be taken round 2 or 3. Maybe even add a vet like Winston or Davin Joseph.

To me it's clear RB is the most needed position now on this O now. When I see what Philly did and it was mentioned earlier that an offense like Chip Kelly's requires a RB that can run inside zone plays to set everything else up. Tre Mason a very creative runner, shifty, strong, great balance and good speed to go along with his tremendous vision. I see the perfect RB for this system if it is what I think it will resemble. After the success Philly had this past season at the very least many parts of that O will be in Miami.

Nice to see someone else see's what I am seeing in Tre Mason.

Andy,

MIT and Dashi could tell you.I have been riding Tre Mason's jock for awhile. I see him being one of the NFL's best running backs for years to come. I have dubbed him Tre La Soul

Andy, I wouldn't be so fast on crossing Ebron off the list. last year, yes, this year, not so fast. Ebron is not Vernon Davis atheltically as he was expected to be before this process started. in addition Amaro overperformed vs expectations and the two are WAAAY closer to each other than most expected. Amaro is also big enough to block in line - Ebron not so much... again, I'm just saying... I'm not predicting, but the management should be ready to know what to say if Ebron is on the board....as someone may prefer Amaro to Ebron...

Posted by: Dashi | March 18, 2014 at 01:16 PM


yes Dashi i do want a RB who can block, and rush for 1000+ yards and receive for 500+ yards yes i do!

I am tired of watching rookies blow there assignments.

He was coached well in Denver. We need his skills on this team badly.

Garn79,

Yeah I'd be surpised too if they didn't add one by at least round 4. You're right that Miami bringing in D. Jackson was clearly an indication they plan on doing something at the position.

I think the whole finesse LBs who can run was a bad plan. Miami was so worried about pass happy teams they added 2 LBS who may have fresh legs but neither are excactly fast by any stretch and neither are instinctive. Dansby not a burner but had instincts as did Burnett.

Ellerbe as a weakside LB has value and use but not at MLB IMO. Wheeler is not a starter. He's a decent blitzer but terrible in coverage and in running game. He's a reserve at best. Again let's hope Jenkins comes along but that's anyones guess.

haha, get ready for that Moreno jersey? marino??? Got that one already... NO, MORENO!!!

Oh sheesh, first spending big on Finnegan, now this? Still no RT? I hope they don't offer Moreno more than $12.50/hr.

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