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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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Rdubs,

hahaha cool nick name!

Toronto,

Im with you no thanks on Moreno. He played in an offense where teams DARED Denver and more like BEGGED Denver to please run the ball.

Moreno is a hard runner, no speed, no elusiveness and probably not the the bulk to add any dimension as a short yardage back that Miami would need. I don't see any fit other then adding a vet back for the sake of adding one with one.

I'd be highly disappointed if he was added to be honest.

So now that the Patriots are loading up at CB. I guess the Dolphins need to be able to run the ball effectively.


The Knowshon story, is a non-story. I have checked up and down and have not seen anything about it. I am not a huge Moreno fan, but for a 1 year 2 mil or less, I would do it

Moreno is an upgrade over Miller, and most definitely over Thomas. If they got him relatively cheap, 1-2 year contract, then it would be a good signing. Nothing long term though as he's injury prone. He is PFF no. 1 FA RB, a very good receiver, and at 220 lbs. is plenty big and strong enough for short yardage. I watched a few Denver games last year and he can run, and he can break tackles. He's a very good back, but nobody you'd want to break the bank on.

How much speed do you need to get first downs. The NY Giants didn't sign RB's for speed but for power to get first downs. WR make the big plays...And i am for keeping Miller too..

God the guy is not slow...

I don't love any of the RBs still on the free agent market. Still for one or 2 years at 2 mil or less I'd look at Moreno, Blount, or maybe MJD.

his pass-pro is poor.

his screen game is exceptional, which hopefully fits into a system that Lazor is gonna run.

if Moreno comes, its all about the Shady/Spoles combo concept...

Admitted homer Jimmy Cefalo said we need 2 new RB's. He said none of our RB's can block, run, or catch. YIKES!


The Knowshon story, is a non-story. I have checked up and down and have not seen anything about it. I am not a huge Moreno fan, but for a 1 year 2 mil or less, I would do it

Posted by: Rdubs | March 18, 2014 at 01:39 PM


Excactly 2 years 5 mil

Someone Miller, Guilislee and if you want Tre Mason can learn from...cut Thomas already....

The reason Miami's return game was ranked at the bottom last year is summed up in two words: Marcus Thigpen. He wouldn't be a return man on any other team in the NFL. When was the last time Thigpen ran a kick back for a touchdown? Not last year. In addition, he fielded punts inside the 5 yard line multiple times giving the team bad field position. That's something that most rookies know! To say that Devin Hester would be an upgrade is an understatement!

I might have pushed a LB to 5th rd had we not resigned Starks & p/u Mitchell but with those 2 signings I see no more potential f/a signing @ LB giving option for LB via draft while negating a high need for DT in draft.

While I do like Moreno for his pass blocking I don't see him fitting in, would seem like a waste of $$ imo. Someone mentioned R Brown as a cheap signing, if he was brought in strictly as pass protection? Thoughts? I like the novelty of seeing him back in a teal uni..

Dashi did I hear you say FB? Lol jk..rhetorical question..

BOYCOTT THE FINS UNTIL ROSS SELLS THE TEAM! WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE LOSING! WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE CHEAP CLUELESS OWNER! BOYCOTT AND HELP MAKE THE CHANGE!


Moreno is an upgrade over Miller, and most definitely over Thomas. If they got him relatively cheap, 1-2 year contract, then it would be a good signing. Nothing long term though as he's injury prone. He is PFF no. 1 FA RB, a very good receiver, and at 220 lbs. is plenty big and strong enough for short yardage. I watched a few Denver games last year and he can run, and he can break tackles. He's a very good back, but nobody you'd want to break the bank on.

Posted by: MassDolphan | March 18, 2014 at 01:43 PM

right on!!!

So Miami is going in next year w/$10 mil in cap space based on a projected $140 m cap. That's good for 30th in the NFL.

$140 m is a $7 million increase from 2014. For sake of discussion, let's assume it's $150 m. That makes $20m in space. Now, let's assume we can carry over $10 m to next year & that's $30 m.

Now factor in FA's Odrick & Clay. Factor in picking up the 5th year on Pouncey's deal. They'll need to be paid. SO, let's say we cut Ellerbe, Wheeler, Finnegan & Starks to save cap space.

That then leaves gaping holes at DT again, LB & the OL will still be a huge issue. We'll have less than almost every team in the league to pursue needs & we'll be on a tighter budget than almost every other team who will be more freely spending their money.

This is why FA is not the answer. Oh, let's not forget, at some point, we need to pay BIG to a QB. How could this team EVER afford a top flight QB with FA spending like this?

Simple, we won't!

The other reason I like Brown would be just to mentor the RB's in that aspect alone..

Phinmanski,

Jimmy is dead on. Lamar Miller is fast and that's it. He's a one trick pony. Now you cant teach his blazing speed so I do see a role for him as a change of pace guy and kick returner. Starting RB? No way! Please just end the agonizing Daniel Thomas and the debate of him being traded for a like 10 draft picks (sarcasm). He's not good. He won't come back to haunt us. I promise you lol.

Enter Tre Mason! Enter Andre Brown!

While I do like Moreno for his pass blocking I don't see him fitting in, would seem like a waste of $$ imo. Someone mentioned R Brown as a cheap signing, if he was brought in strictly as pass protection? Thoughts? I like the novelty of seeing him back in a teal uni..

Dashi did I hear you say FB? Lol jk..rhetorical question..

Posted by: Garn79 | March 18, 2014 at 01:50 PM

Ronnie Brown just to block???Now that is a waste of Money....

Anyone thinking we will have a cap crunch next year with minimum $30M available in cap space next year just doesn't get it...

Sorry, but you're missing the boat....

@ Wallyfin - that is the one thing every Finfan can agree on..our rb's can't pass block- R Brown can even @ 32 lol how much u think he's gonna cost? League min I'd say..
The most costly part about him I see would be his roster spot. But mentoring Miller & whichever rook RB we being in..priceless!

To sugggest you need cap sapce to sign Clay and Odrick when you ahve $30M in cap space already is just not that bright... Even if those guys get signed to $5M a year type deals, that still leaves $20M+ as the cap hit on the first year's is always less than the deal average... again no cap squeeze coming next year...you can even jump the gun and sign Pouncey early and still have plenty to make 1 or 2 free agent additions easily.

You have to be active in free agency ... no team is built with 22 starters that were their own draft picks ... NONE...

Mark is very sensitive on the issue. Has been for days.

I wonder why? I see no one else clamoring like he does about how great our cap situation is in. When compared to others in the league, it's bad. 30th out of 32 is BAD. Except to Mark.

Just the other day he said we were fine cause we would carry over 20-25 million. Our cap this year stands at 19m & with drafting & needing cash on hand, we'll be lucky to carry over $10m, half what he said a few days ago.

IF all of your assessments on the cap are half off as this gaffe, we're in bad shape.

The only 1 who won't agree is Mark.

Pass Protect for P.Manning. A Joke. P.Manning let's go of the ball in under 3 Seconds. And add that P.Manning tells him who to block before the ball is snapped.

Real Difficult.

Moreno is a joke. And you are even more of a joke if you think Moreno is any good.

Moreno has averaged 3.8 yds a carry multiple times in his career. He Fumbles!!

I would sign R.Brown before I sign K.Moreno.

cheap ross
pockets the
change
.
lol

A few days ago we were at $27M in cap space then they decided to blow $5M on Finnegan... which surprised everyone... $2M more on Shelley Smith who wasn't on the team at the time..

So yes, at the time I made that comment that we are presently looking at rolling over $20M after the draft ... well that's because that is what it was going to be at the time.

I did not expect that the team would use it's single biggest cap allocation of free agency on CB #109 of #110 when they hadn't spent on getting another solid vet o lineman... if you had predicted that significant cap spend at the time then well you are a better fortune teller than I.

if tpuke would connect
on the long ball the
running game would open right up
football 101 homers
.
lol

Mark, point is you are only thinking about next year. Next year is when the cap numbers get out of hand.

The 1st 2 years of deals aren't the issue. It's 3rd year & beyond.

Do you think it's a good idea to sign guys & rent them for 1-2 years & cut them when their cap # is too big?

LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's some team building, lemme tell ya. All I can say is THANK GOD you ain't running anything but, your Madden league.

Dolphins stand to net ~ $5M in increase in cap over the next two years by designating Wheeler as a June 1 cap cut...hope they pursue this option.

like andy said ^
teams beg manning 2 run
as do teams that
beg tpuke 2 throw
.
lol

Building a team based on how Mark spouts off about 1-2 years then release him, IF we ever got to build a decent team, our window would be 1 year.

Unlike the truly great teams like the Niners, Haks, Ravens of the last 6 years.

We'd be lucky to get into playoffs once constantly rebuilding the roster every season.

Miami fans bettr hope Hicke can draft his a*s off because that is the ONLY way, this team can have any kind of long term success.

Are you clown or do you jsut play one on weekends... tell me one time when I said we should build a team through free agency ... name ONE ...

You can't because I never said that ... all i said is that when you have cap space, and you have needs, you should address them through free agency, thus freeeing up your draft for BPA.

I see a multitude of others saying the same thing, yet it's my jock you like to sniff....

And yes, you have to continually manage the cap and that means cutting bloating salaries if they can't play to their salary levels there are always cheaper options available in the draft and free agency down the line.

If you want to show me the team that is comprised of 22 starters through the draft .... I'm still waiting.

Even the best team of building from within (Seattle) has significant starters that came from outside - which is all I suggest to do when opportunities arise...

@ Dashi was your last post a shot at me in regards to Moreno?

MIT,

I prefer the ones that come inside LOL

Tell me how the Ravens would've won without Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones

Or the Seahawks without Marshawn Lynch...

MIT,


By scoring more points?


Couldnt help myself

Dashi, STFU !

Bryant McKinnie
Cliff Avril
Michael Bennett
Chris Clemons
Zach Miller
Sidney Rice
Marshawn Lynch
Anquan Boldin
jacoby Jones
Tony McDaniel


That's just the last two champions with free agent help...

I was hopeful that Lamar Miller would be a good back but he has been a huge dissapointment. When he cant excel over D Thomas he certainly is not a starter.

yes rdubs, by scoring more points, haha

like andy said ^
teams beg manning 2 run
as do teams that
beg tpuke 2 throw
.
lol

Posted by: 2 watt | March 18, 2014 at 02:21 PM


Exactly right. Opposing teams just put 8 in the box to stop our run knowing TannePuke wont beat em passing. A franchise QB would open up our running game.

There is nothing a franchise QB can't fix on the Dolphins.

I will agree on one point though, the time for free agent spending should be just about over. I wuld've hoped they would've spent more on the o line though - that Finnegan signing ate up more cap than I would've hoped...

Mike Wallace. " I should have had 10-15 more TD's in 2013 ".

Tre Mason is another straight up runner with speed...I'm trying to think of another s****y Dolphins running back that fits that mold...oh wait


You have to be active in free agency ... no team is built with 22 starters that were their own draft picks ... NONE...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 18, 2014 at 02:04 PM

Given the fact that players hit the market in Yr. 5 leaves little to no window for error with the best teams in the draft Yr. after Yr. in the FA ERA looking to bat .500!! 2 to 3 picks a Yr. making your team and landing a starters Pos. (the G.M. would be in line for Exec. of the decade!) equals 10 to 15 players in that 5 Yr. span. As long as I've been watching this game really only the 49ers of the late 80's under Walsh had anything like that in terms of return. The Cowboys under JJ also come to mind but they were playing with their picks and the Vikes picks for 3 Yrs. Simple elementary math tells you that FA is a must!

The thing about the NFL that makes it unique were you just never know from Yr. to Yr. is the way the CAP rules punish teams who go over. The same 49ers saw there DYNASTY dismantled in 95 because of going as far over as they did. In the NFL you have some Owners with much deaper pockets than others so the T.V. asllocation to each team is the Max they can spend in order to insure a competitive balance. If there were a luxury tax like in the NBA (J.Jones and Snyder pushed the agenda last CBA stand off) then you'd have Owners simply going to Hawaii and doing there business at the Pro Bowl led by the 2 Owners I mentioned.

Pass Protect for P.Manning. A Joke. P.Manning let's go of the ball in under 3 Seconds. And add that P.Manning tells him who to block before the ball is snapped.

Posted by: Dashi | March 18, 2014 at 02:11 PM


Yes. Top QB's dont need great OL's.

MIT,

I thought you would dig the Cortland signing. I know he has trailed off, but he was top notch and will play well next to Grimes. I hope Corty can aggravate the pizz out of receivers like he did Andre Johnson. All NFL teams are looking for 6"2 CB's, we are going against the grain with 2 pesky corners who play with a little fire!!!

Mike Wallace hates TannePuke.

We need to go ahead and resign Chris Clemons. this guy is solid and nobody wants him. He is good depth and start, as we all know1

If Mike Wallace knew how pathetic TannePuke's accuracy is he would've asked for MORE MONEY!

The only team I can remember built mostly from within was the Packers. The only outsider that really stands out from that super bowl team a few years back is Charles Woodson.

Seattle had a chunk of outsiders on that team. Sidney Rice, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril. They saw all those guys available at the right price in trade or free agency and took them.

I think what Mark is trying to say is that if free agents are available at the right price take them.

If they don't perform cut them, but if they are doing well keep them obviously.

They had to add a CB. I'm not sure Finnegan is the right answer but what they gave him wouldn't have stopped them from signing another o-lineman.

My guess is they had a plan on what guys they were targeting and hit on some and missed on others.

I'm still thinking the plan along was to draft at least 2 o-linemen if they didn't get who they wanted in free agency.

( . )Y( . )

rdubs, why would I like a player who's played like total arse for the last two years and counts $5M against our cap.

We already have Wheeler and Ellerbe for that.

f4l, right on. i went over that exact same math yesterday. If you have 10 starters from your draft over a 5 year period, then you drafted pretty well. The combination of the other ~ 12 starters will be older players and free agents..

MIT,

Cuz Cortland is/was good as a nickle. I think it could go either way, but there is a chance of a huge upside!

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 18, 2014 at 03:02 PM

Opinions are like A-holes. Every body has one but yours really stinks.

who needs
linemen when u have
tpuke for a qb?
.
lol

Rick, they targeted (erroneously) Strief and beadles who went elsewhere. leaning on teh draft was not teh answer but Hickey didn't have a plan B in free agency and now he's going to lean on teh draft it appears... risky business...

tpuke sends
every1 on the phinz
o
to Hawaii
every
season
.
lol

@ 3:06, it's the creatine. Helps me lift like an NFL prospect but has it's side effects...

NeMo, that is all i'm saying but somehow that's a controversial opinion for me to ahve around here, haha

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