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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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who needs
linemen when u have
tpuke for a qb?

Posted by: 2 watt | March 18, 2014 at 03:07 PM

TannePuke could have the Great Wall of China protecting him and it wouldnt help. He's just terrible.

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..

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 18, 2014 at 02:15 PM

Here IMO is were you seperate the smart teams from the dumber ones!! Finnegan's made his career off being a cheap dirty player, a big diff. between playing hard and being a cheap player!! I always felt that when the Opposing WR's tuned him out and his average skills began to errode his career would be over! My fav. mental impression of this guy was watching A.Johnson lay a big UM styled smackdown on him a cuple of Yrs. back followed by the one B.Marshall gave him that same Yr. here in Miami.

With 2 high 2013 draft picks invested in the Pos. I would have given that 5 Mil. to a player in a Pos. of serious need like was the case with LG Zane Beadles who I really liked. He got 6 Mil per from Jax and you add the Mil to what we gave Finnegan and today you subtract some of what you gave Smith and WALA!! Either Taylor and davis are 2 collosal busts or Hickey didn't think this move through IMO! Again FA is a must in a League driven today through it but you also need to be smart with your money and the players you add!


Hindsight they probably needed a two pronged approach to free agency. Like Aponte meeting with one while Hickey met with another.

I'm sure they didn't think so many would cone off the shelf in the first week though and of course no one is getting signed without the Dawn seal of approval on the spending.

Free Agency has turn into a game of little more than "musical chairs" for the NFL.

True, a team has 4 to 5 years to "DEVELOP" their "DRAFT PICKS", or get max use of their "IMPACT" draft picks before they become available for this "Business Version" of "musical chairs".

Therefore, because of the EXTREME COMPETITION for these player(FA) services, "DRAFTING" is the chief way to build a team. "FREE AGENCY" is only a device for "placing the cherry on top".

"SALARY CAP" is why it's impossible to "build thru free agency". "SALARY CAP" is the NFL's "GREAT EQUALIZER" in "leveling the playing field".

Free Agency sends teams that have "DRAFTED WELL" and are on the "CHAMPIONSHIP BUBBLE" into "CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES". If you do not draft well, free agency only merely "keeps you afloat" from sinking to amongst "WORST OF THE WORSTS".


I agree totally F4L, that same Finnegan money would've gone a long way in paying one of the premier O linemen in free agency after Albert... A mill more gets you Beadles or Saffold or Collins, take your pick...

Hopefully benton is a wizard in Miami like he was in houston.

c'mon mark
u gotta luv
the attn.
good or bad

@3:13 .. hey YG has a new name...

Hickey sux compared to Ireland


Love your Green Bay post(Charles Wooden). Exactly how the big picture is programmed to work.

Draft well, then acquire an available impact piece or two(fa) that puts you over the top(SB win or appearance).

Rick, rookie mistake i guess ... however he was around for 18 years in the front office. He didn't know how it would go? Was his job to take the corporate sponsors golfing or something???

2 watt LOL @ 3:09...I'm no homer but I'm willing to give Tanny another year. I think the tools are there I'd just need to see a huge jump in his consistency. If we're seeing the same issues by week five next year then blow it up and start over.


Have to keep Dashi "in check". He'll attackme even when I ignore him. So, just for the un of it, I'll pre-emptively strike him.

Dashi loves dysfunction and disorder. I know you prefer to stay out of the "Dashi Wars", but, you're "a smart man" youre fully aware Dashi's a "blog dope". :)


I think they were looking for someone to compete with Taylor and if he does win the starting job he won't slow Taylor's progress for too long.

As I've said a few times already I still think there were better candidates out there. Or at least a few who had better seasons the last two years. I was hoping for Munnerlyn or Tillman. Both probably wanted a guarantee to start though.

If you haven't seen it yet check out the E:60 on Finnegan though. It doesn't mean he can still play but it probably will change your outlook on him off the field.

Sadly, all signs point to Hickey drafting o line in the first two rounds, which to do in this draft is an absolute travesty. Other teams basically know what we're doing so we have ZERO leverage, trades or otherwise, going into the draft. Nice Work!

Opinions are like A-holes. Every body has one but yours really stinks.
Posted by: Canadien Bacon | March 18, 2014 at 03:06 PM

And gutless name changer's opinions count more why exactly?

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

And he is not worth even that much.

Finnegan seems like an overpay. 5.5 mil for a guy who was bad in 12 and horrible in 13. 5.5 mil is high end corner 2 money. Its the same amount of money Sean Smith is getting paid to be a top number in Kansas City.

I guess the upside here is that Finnegan was a top 5 or top 10 corner in 10 and 11. Maybe Coyle said he was a great scheme fit and pounded the table for him. Same thing goes with Benton and Shelley Smith. I think Philbin and his coaches have more personnel power now. Hickey has the final say, but Ross wants them working together. Ireland ignoring Philbin seemed like a big part of the reason he got fired.

For the 5.5 mil Finnegan got I would've gotten Geoff Schwartz and Nolan Carroll. I would obviously be hoping that Taylor or Davis beat out Carroll as the starter and would have a quality guard.

That's just playing fantasy GM at this point though. Its fun, but won't be reality at this stage. I'll be rooting for Finnegan to regain his 10 or 11 form or at least be a good number 2.

"Also, Thigpen is cheap by comparison. He's only scheduled to make $570,000 in 2013."
And he is not worth even that much.
Posted by: Franchise Of The Fallen | March 18, 2014 at 03:29 PM

Thigpin is part of another group the regressed in 2013 other than defense. Our special teams short of Fields regressed big time. A lot of that is on him but I think some of it had to do with unit we put out there.

@ 3:26, I agree acompletely and that was my fear going into this offseason ... that we would abuse the draft to just complete a starting lineup...

Of all drafts too - the one that is arse deep in WR and pass rush playmakers

"Also, Thigpen is cheap by comparison. He's only scheduled to make $570,000 in 2013."
And he is not worth even that much.

Posted by: Franchise Of The Fallen | March 18, 2014 at 03:29 PM

And Ross LOVES cheap players!! Talent is not a factor.

yeah neMO, with the way this free agency panned out, the onus will be on the coaches to get these guys playing better than they did before because the track records of the individual players outside of Albert leave a lot to be desired...

Now again regarding CB, why pay such money to an insurance policy in Finnegan when it appears playing CB for the Miami Dolphins is the easiest CB job in football? All we ask the CBs to do is play 58 yards off the line of scrimmage, have the WRs catch the ball and tackle them.

Lol Mark. Maybe the plan is to get away from that.

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

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

so glad you are not our GM.....


Love your Green Bay post(Charles Wooden). Exactly how the big picture is programmed to work.

Draft well, then acquire an available impact piece or two(fa) that puts you over the top(SB win or appearance).

Posted by: SAM I AM | March 18, 2014 at 03:18 PM


Charles Woodson was cast off by Al Davis in 2005 because he spent 03-05 practically on injured reseve and was one of the slackers on hard partying under-achieving team! Really sometimes you guys have selective memory. The 05 Packers which Woodson joined were coming off a 4-12 Season if memory serves that saw H.C. Mike Sherman fired! Everybody had pretty much written them off when they signed S.F. OC McCarthy as the new H.C. and they went 8-8 in 06!

C.Woodson was a P.R. move to please the fanbase but I remember at that time alot of people wondered the logic in the move and with the size of the contract Ted Thompson gave him which I remember was 6 Yrs. at over 50 Mil. It panned out given Woodson re-dedicated himself and got better conditioning which helped the injury bug but that move was as much blind luck as it was anything else on a mediocre team at that time! Heck I remember the fans in G.B. wanted Ted Thompson's head on a stick which would have been granted in Favre hadn't gone crazy putting up serious numbers in 07 which got the ship righted!

G79 from earlier,

I wasn't talking about you. Making a generalization about people who think Mr.Black is a Good RB. They probably like him because he has a Spanish last name. You know how Bandwagon Miami Fans can be.

Has Philbin been fired yet?

This Miami Dolphins roster, as presently constructed, is a "chief example" of piss poor drafting.

When needing to draft a wr, there's "yo mama a ho'". Jimmy Graham's available, "draft John Jerry". And so on and so on..... You guys know the story.

Free Agency in Miami, for the "PAST 6YRS", has been in attempts to "ERASE DRAFTING MISTAKES". Not "ADDING THE CHERRY ON TOP".

And some here actually believe Ireland had done an "OK" to "VERY GOOD" job. When "FREE AGENCY" becomes a tool for "erasing drafting mistakes" you "PERRENIALLY" sit at "8-8 or WORSE" as a "WIN-LOSS" franchise.

Isn't this where the Dolphins have sat for the past 5yrs? Is not that proof enough for you? We'll soon see if Hickey drafts better in the "FIRST 3 RDS". "The most important rds for any GM. All of the rest is only gravy over the top.

Hey Zonk try this!!


Mark, the scheme frustrates me at times, but I think it would've worked if our linebackers weren't terrible stopping the run last year. Our points per game was actually very good and so were our turnovers until that damn Jets game.

Coyle seems to be able to at least teach corners. I hope it works with Finnegan.

I hope Benton can work with the O-line. Here is kind of how I am looking at it now trying to be optimistic. The 2 most important positions are set. We have 2 pro bowlers in Albert and Pouncey at left tackle and center. Maybe Benton after watching tape thought he could coach up the 2 young guys Brenner and Dallas Thomas or help push Garner or Smith from a good backup to at least a decent starter. I'm guessing they have their eye on a couple guys in the draft.

I hope Benton is a huge upgrade over Turner and I think that is at least a possibility.

Ireland > Dickey


"The only Major Sticking Point IS" "DRAFTING YOUR QB!!!!!", You Taint Licker


Has Joe "I know nothing" Philbin been fired yet?




Dooshy, tell us again what a great draft choice Pat White was LMAO!!

Obviously in rebuilding mode, not win now.

This regime has at least 2 years

Only a great catastrophe can save us now

Posted by: SAM I AM | March 18, 2014 at 03:51 PM

The trap side to the process no doubt! Hard arguing your position here and yes were never in position to get stronger or Playoff caliber because were always addressing the draft day misses were Parcells had a hand in the mess! It was after all Parcells who began the OL woes by adding the often injured Smiley (lucky to get the one injury free Yr. out of him) then he turns around and hands him a 5 Yr./35 Mil deal in 09 along with nearly 40 Mil handed to Carey and the kicker the 14 Mil guarantee to Grove which would bite us all hard in 2010. It's not just missing in the draft were he did miserably with S.Murphy and D.Thomas but then in over-paying often injured guys that strap your CAP in the short term, just a collosal mess!!

Pray for big fukkkkk up

So the philosophy is that signing Finnegan will somehow push the younger guys, and signing Albert will...teach Thomas and Brenner about diet?


Why pay so much for an "INSURANCE POLICY"?


Nolan Carroll was a 4th or 5th rd pick. A 2nd rd pick is expected to come in "DAY ONE" and become a starter. Unless he's a "quarterback".

Obviously, they felt Finnegan would at least be "an upgrade to Nolan Carroll". If not, Carroll would have the $5.5M counting against the 2014 salary cap.


Taylor had "ZERO 2013 IMPACT PLAYS". In 9 games, Taylor had 3 tkls. So, lets just go ahead and "ANNOINT" him the starter opposite Grimes with minuscule insurance.

Friends dont let friends buy Dolphin tickets.


If we're going to make fools of ourselves anyway why not do it for that extra week?

Usually only first 3 rounds give you a high potential to land impact players
Of course there are gems even as undrafted players
But the norm is top 3 rounds is where the vast majority of the perennial pro bowlers come from.
So a trade back from 19 to 30's if it brings another pick in the late second or early third round could be a good strategy
The key is finding that trading partner who has his eye on a specific player that is still there at 19

I seem to remember and correct me if I am wrong hat JJ traded our 19th pick too early and we lost the chance to bring in a heck of a receiver to Miami who ended up going to the Vikings

So we need to look carefully at who is still on the board before we trade our 19th pick away. A tentative agreement can be reached with the caveat that we might not trade if our #1 target is all of a sudden there at 19 - Most teams understand this
So this draft will tell us how good our new GM is at drafting
We all agree that we need to have a superb draft and pick up some immediate starters and forget about drafting potential that might not make the team (Like Egnew and many others)

Yeah, I'm not buying this benton can make chicken sald out of chicken shite philosophy either... A line with a combination of 3 rookies/career backups is not putting me at ease here...

I'm just sdaying if they wanted cover at CB there are other ways to di it without throwing a $5M whooping stick at it.

I feel better about our CB prospects than our O line prospects and there is ZERO cover there..

Posted by: fin4life | March 18, 2014 at 04:01 PM

EXACTLY! Youre a very smart man. We've missed in both draft and free agency over the past 6yrs.


You are a very smart and clever man!

The only insurance Finnegan can give now is that He is going to be burned often

Delmas tends to get beat by big chunks, so expect a lot of fire truck sirens in the secondary this season

And it is only getting darker


Yeah Mark...I mean, at least Taylor and Davis have sniffed some playing time

We need to get to the witch...that is the only way

2013 Dolphins > 2014 Dolphins

Going south baby, non stop


If we go into the draft with Albert and Pouncey as our only to viable starters on the o line then we have ZERO leverage in any draft day trade.

I predict doom days ahead

Be strong


I looked at the "mock drafts", which also tell those team needs, and based on that. I found not 1 team, that could be a "willing trade up partner".

I see players "mocked" to "teams behind us" that "SUITABLY" meet their needs. I saw "hint of nothing" where a team would give us an extra 2nd rd nor 3rd rd pick to move up to our "19TH SPOT".

If we traded draft spots, it's "FAR MORE LIKELY" trading up vs down. The value in the team needs behind us just isn't there to trade up to our 19th spot.

Hester averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return and 14.2 yards per punt return. That's all i need to know. Do we need more reason to upgrade out kick return game?

The truth is that most FA's dont want to join the Fins because they have no chance at the SB and little chance of even making the playoffs ( 1 in 15 years). So we have to overpay if we want good players but Ross seems unwilling to even do that.

At this point in Hester's career(age) I see him trying to sign on with one of the "top 8" playoff teams in 2013.

That means teams that "advanced to the 2nd rd of the playoffs". Unless Ryan Tannehill "truly catches fire" this season, we're "one and done" wildcard playoff fodder at best, evn with Hester.

Hester is too old and is a shadow of his heyday years. We are 12 years late to the party regarding Devon Hester. He has slowed down substantially and now has back problems to boot.

I said it once, said it a thousand times. I'm a believer in Hickey for one reason only from his 1st press conf. "Football games are won & lost in the trenches" I'm a firm believer in that philosophy & think excellent trench guys can cover up a lot of weaknesses in other areas.

Originally I thought Hickey might draft a DT in 1st 2 rds but with Odrick, Starks, Francis & Mitchell I'd be very surprised to see one drafted with the other needs. A great LB can really help our run D, Hickey sees it I'm sure. Highly unlikely we get 2 starters on Oline thru draft (but no way we don't draft 2) so there's either another one coming via f/a or confidence in whTs there from last season. Personally I'm happy (for most part, Finn $ exception) of what Hickey had done to date but also what he HASNT done. Glad there's been no RB f/a signed to date which gives me hope he's eyeing something tantalizing in the draft.

The 1st 4 rds I think will be (in no specific order) 2 Oline, LB, RB I don't even necessarily think either 1st 2 rds go to linemen but prob one. With other picks going to either a WR, S, even a CB depending on BPA & don't be surprised if we were to even draft two LB's if the right guys were there.

If Hickey misses on this draft, I'm gonna be pissed, if the ShaFinnegans doesn't work out I'm gonna be pissed, if the Oline isn't working by wk6 I'm gonna be pissed. If Jordan doesn't get figured out I'm gonna be pissed. My gut tells me Mitchell was the right move but if not I'm..wait for it..gonna be pissed. If Wallace isn't fight'n for balls(as he said he needs to work on) I'm gonna be pissed, if don't see some dynamic play calling by wk3..you get the idea.

Till then I'm gonna reserve judgement, too many variables to get into & some I'm certain none of us are even aware of..

Dashi..just chk'n..cheers

forget hester

fanspeak has kind enough to presetn me with this mock draft today. if only ...


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