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OL free agency possibilities: Stopgap, projects

Zach Strief re-signed with the New Orleans Saints today. He got a five-year deal worth $20.5 million with $8.4 million in guaranteed money, per a league source.

The Dolphins offensive line, meanwhile, will continue to seem incomplete as general manager Dennis Hickey now shops for bargain additions.

The Dolphins have a guard and right tackle spot open if one assumes sometimes NFL starter Shelley Smith -- signed Friday -- can become a fulltime NFL starter for the Dolphins.

So at guard one name that become prominent for the Dolphins now is John Benton. No, he's not a player. He's the new offensive line coach. And he happens to have been the Houston Texans offensive line before he came to the Dolphins.

And he's got his guys in his sights.


The Dolphins have shown preliminary and lukewarm interest in two former Texans linemen -- guard Wade Smith and tackle Ryan Harris.

Harris, 29, has been mostly a backup type during his six-year career with Denver and Houston. He started 10 games for the Broncos in 2010 but that's the last time he actually has been a starter. His time in Houston was spent mostly in a backup role. He is a depth guy and would likely be insurance, if signed, to a rookie draft pick starter option.

Smith is familiar to Dolphins fans. He was once the Dolphins starting left tackle.

That's right, that Wade Smith.

Smith was Miami starting right tackle in 2003 -- his rookie year after being drafted in the third round out of Memphis. And it wasn't a great experience (I recall one three-sack game). Smith started only two games the next three seasons and nobody seemed to notice when he departed in 2006.

But after languishing four four years and two teams, Smith's career hit a stride when he joined the Texans in 2010. He was a guard by then. And he was a starter -- putting a string of 64 consecutive starts at the position the next four years.

Smith is a veteran guard option for Miami. He's 32. He's a stopgap guy.

He'd like to return to the Texans but they have a new coaching staff and would like to upgrade their line. They encouraged him to test free agency.

As Benton has been his coach for years and the Dolphins will run the same (or very similar) zone scheme he's known in Houston, Smith could be an answer for the Dolphins. And the Dolphins could be the way he bookends his career, finishing where he started.


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Please allow the "PROFESSIONALS" to do their jobs. Is Hickey trying to tell you how to write your columns?

To become a serious championship contender, this team is far more than a "single offseason" QUICK FIX. You of all people should now this.

Posted by: SAM I AM | March 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

I really like the idea of McKinnie to the right and insurance for the Left. Seems like a smart move. Albert has had back problems.

I also like the idea of not breaking the bank on the o-line. When Sparano was running the show didn't we have like 120 million tied up in the line and they didn't exactly look that great.

You guys want to do things through the draft. That is what Philbin wants to do. Feels like the way Greenbay does things. The other side of the coin doing things the Greenbay way you have to be patient.(Dolphin Fans are not) We try to break everyone down, when as true fans we should be talking them up.

I live in Ohio and I can promise you Bengal and Brown fans drink the cool aid. And they have a ton more to complain about than Dolphin FAns

Crap Cleveland and Cincy both spent about 500 million building new stadiums for owners who always live on the cheap. Miami fans cant even get behind Ross on a 4 or 5 million dollar discount every year. Crap updated stadium and better team would have to pay for that much.

We need to give Philbin and Hickey three years. Dont care if the 49's are going to throw Harbabugh to the street pretty soon. We tried that type of coach Saban and I bet he will end up doing the same thing going back to college to boss the kids around.

Lets try slow and steady. Philbin has been endorsed by the Don. Shula cares more about the Dolphins than any one of us could profess. Its painful and we have suffered for a long time but I think given the time to implement his philosophy we can redevelop the Dolphin way of doing things. We were once a great franchise because we stayed true to our coaches through thick and thin. I get ansy about Philbin but I bet Cleveland wishes they would have stayed slow and steady with Belicheat.

This is the Green Bay ways friends. You asked for it you got it. Build through the draft over a period of time it works.

Go Dolphins!!

who would want to come to this train wreck of a francise? screwed up front office; crappy coaching staff; idiot owner...we are the Cleveland Browns of the South.

Sam(antha) is nothing but a bitter old lesbian braying at the moon. Ignore her.

As of right now, cutting Ellerbe & Wheeler outright next year will save a whopping $5.85m in cap space. June 1st designations for next year are unavailable.

Cutting Wheeler saves $200k next season! You have to wait until 2016 to get any real cap savings out of Wheeler.

You gonna replace 2 LB'ers for an average of $2.93m per year? UHHH GOOD LUCK!!

You won't save diddly on Moore because he's not even on next years cap.

SPEND SPEND SPEND...CUT CUT CUT. Never Improve! Dumb fan philosophy!


Mit loves him, and I see, so do you.

Ryan Shazier is projected an ILB. Not that I don't like him, but spending a 1st rd pick to create an even further logjam at "OLB" is sort of ludicrous.

Ryan Shazier's "SCOUTING REPORT" says he needs to get better at "SHEDDING BLOCKS". This means if you throw him "in the middle" teams will begin "running right at him. If he doesn't "shed blocks well' he's not going to be great in the middle, at least not right away.

He has 140tkls last season, but that means with his speed and athleticism, he was great "chasing plays down". You do not have to shed blocks chasing plays down. And he chased plays down from the OLB, not MLB position.

Shouldn't a guy with as much money as Irsay have a driver. Specially if you are going to be taking drugs. Shouldn't the person driving at least be sober.

Jim Irsay is a Joke. A Big Baby. With Donkey Brains.

Irsay has zero common sense.


Mit loves him, and I see, so do you.

Ryan Shazier is projected an ILB. Not that I don't like him, but spending a 1st rd pick to create an even further logjam at "OLB" is sort of ludicrous.

Ryan Shazier's "SCOUTING REPORT" says he needs to get better at "SHEDDING BLOCKS". This means if you throw him "in the middle" teams will begin "running right at him. If he doesn't "shed blocks well' he's not going to be great in the middle, at least not right away.

He has 140tkls last season, but that means with his speed and athleticism, he was great "chasing plays down". You do not have to shed blocks chasing plays down. And he chased plays down from the OLB, not MLB position.

Posted by: SAM I AM | March 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Just FYI, next year Ellberbe is on teh cap for $10M none of it guaranteed as per Spotrac.com.

If you think 1) the Dolphins paying that for an underwhelming player is probable and 2) him being let go creates a huge hole on the roster

Then you understand less about the business side of football than I gave you credit for.

I know you love me and continue wanting to harass me on this blog but the more you come at me, the more stupid you come across.

The Dolphins should/probably will get one high end prospect for the LB crps in this draft and probably another one next year to shed themselves of these albatross contracts. Also Jenkins is still very much in play for OLB in the future. Impressive rookie campaign for a backup.

Ryan Shazier Scoutig Report:

"It would be ideal if the junior could add 10-15 pounds before going pro. Shazier would be best off in the NFL as a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He could play on the inside of some 3-4 defenses".

The reason Dallas Thomas could not find playing time last year was the coaching staff made the mistake of putting him at T instead of G. Every pundit, publication, etc. stated he was projected as a G in the NFL and not a T. So this ingenious coaching staff puts him at T of course. If they finally smarten up and put him a G, expect him to see playing time, or even start next season.

I can't believe anyone wants to draft a defensive guy first. We had a good defense last year. It was built to stop the big pass plays that we had been giving up in past seasons. If the offense had scored some points, we would not have been concerned about the rushing yards we gave up. The other teams would have been playing from behind or at least trying to keep up.

When Buffalo sits on your slant routes, you know that you don't have a playmaker that they fear getting behind them. We need a playmaker, and Wallace ain't it.


Can you start peppering your posts with terms like "hip pivot" and "initial burst" in a desperate attempt to sound like an informed analyst instead of some schmuck who will never be closer to pro football than your couch?

"Field awareness" is another good one.

well, lets see FLH....apparently several highly regarded FAs wanted to, like Grimes, Albert, Mitchell and Starks....any other strange and clueless questions?

Clueless in Toronto,

You're the guy who banged the table saying we needed Ellerbe. What happened with that? He was a fit, remember? He'd be worth the money, right? Now look at you with an about face! PRICELESS FOOT IN MOUTH, TAIL BETWEEN THE LEGS!

Your idiotic philosophy of spend big on a guy NEVER works. You've wanted all kinds of guys to sign this year. TO have what happen? Another Ellerbe or Wheeler?


You use the cap as a parachute to get out from under the idiotic & moronic signings you want the team to make every year.

I don't harass you because I want to. When I encounter stupidity, I have to challenge. Stop making idiotic & utterly incompetent statements & you'll see the truth countering "harassment" stop.

Posted by: SAM I AM | March 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Shazier can just hang out with Albert or McKinney (if resigned) and he'll put on 10-15 lbs. easily. It won't be muscle but who cares?

The Dolphins should take McKinney back as a one year stop gap right tackle, draft Martin from Notre Dame as an OG and then next season go after a RT.

I don't have Irsay money but if I am not sober enough to drive, I usually call a cab or have someone as a designated driver.

And popping Pills. What is it with these honkeys popping pills and driving.

(Yes, Honkeys, cause black people don't pop pills, and normal white people don't abuse them)

Irsay, It says it on the bottle. Don't Pop and Drive.

For what it's worth, Kiko Alonso was projected as an OLB in last year's draft for the same reasons...

so we know Wheeler sort of sucks, so lets see if Jenkins is any better...again, how much worse can he be?--if its alot, so be it, but we wont know until he plays...we DO know, though, that Wheeler stinks

just thinking that the answers to several of our positional questions/issues....are already on our roster


Don't get e wrong, I see Shazier a very tremendous NFL talent, just that using a 1st rd pick on a player to immediately change the position he highly excelled is a "HUGE GAMBLE". As a GM, "you're betting your livelihood on it working out right away.

As simple bloggers, our greatest risk is only having "a few trolls" mock us. :)

Eric Fisher struggled for awhile last year....so did Lane Johnson....Joeckel was too, before he got hurt....so is would it be the worst thing if D Thomas struggled for some time, before finding his footing?--no shame in that, considering the top few picks struggles as well....let the dude play

Cheap inaccurate QB

new "Cheap safety"

more cheap below average discounted offensive linemen after signing and way overpaying a Fat Guy who sat out the last four games of the 2013 regular season because his "knee felt funny"

True Dat
Fat Albert sat out the last four games of the 2013 regular season with a "precautionary knee injury"

Nothing wrong w the knee
Butt Fat Albert sat out cuz it "Felt Funny"

Ha Ha
The joke is once again on the Dolphins

and why build now?

Let's keep having a 3-4 yr plan that never has even come close to working out


Why be like Denver and compete for the Superbowl right away

Miami Dolphin Football fans like to wait 3-4 yrs and then start over and wait another 3-4 yrs and so and so and so on

Soon it will be 50 YEARS since the Dolphins won a Superbowl and 14 yrs since they won a Playoff game

So why build a good team now

think about the team in 2016-2017


Go Fish !

If we landed Shazier in the first instead of Mosley I would be fine with that, but any other pick besides LB in the first round that isn't Eric Ebron would be a total misfire on Hickey's part...assuming Ebron would be available, that is.


You have no common sense after posting that the Dolphins keep Ireland, a GM who unloaded Long, Marshall and others without having replacements. You are the one without any common sense.

FYI, players don't always work out no matter how good the signing appeared to be before hand.

But if a player can't live up to his contract, then you cut him and move on.

And the Dolphins paid Ellerbe - just under $10M for two years work and can be done with them - explain how this type of risk is horrible? I accept errors as a result of effort anyday over not even trying.

The one upside is that there is almost not chance we could even conceivably have a WORSE line than last year. The odds are anyone with enough ability to even be in the game would be an upgrade.

Daryn Colledge is a guy I'd love to see signed as insurance at G.

The real talent for us will be in the draft. We just need competent guys to get the line cohesive.

Alonzo is being moved to OLB this season as per signing spikes. Team cited as wanting Alonzo to not take such a beating so as to prolong career..

Let's see....
The Rams got Long
The Lions got Bush
The Bears got Marshall
The Cards got Dansby
The Colts got Davis

Were any of those teams in the Super Bowl. Didn't think so. SHUT UP ABOUT PLAYERS THAT ARE GONE!!!

..MIT...I do not see the conservative approach the Phin took(FA period) as copping out. I see it as the right way to go. How much better with some of the higher profile FA's that were available. Not so much better it was worth the effort, or the amount of money it would have taken to commit to them...

The extra salary cap number that each team received sort of screwed us. It brought more teams into play, it also raised the price of some of the players we probably desired, but just were not willing to overspend on. It is a smart way to run a team, especially a team that is so far from being a contender.

We cannot just fill the roster with free agents and ever expect to turn this around. FA's should be complimentary pieces. Not the cornerstones of your franchise.

Now it is time for the FO to really do their jobs. Go draft some players. Other teams re-treads no matter their star power are not, and should not be the identity of your team..


..@12.33..How much better would this team have been this year with....

Whatever happens on opening day we can ALL agree on ONE thing lol..
Miami's O line will be under the microscope & scrutinized like no other Oline in the league!

We got on legit O Lineman in FA.

That's how serious Miami was about fixing things.

They continue to be a joke.

Make that....."We got ONE".....

Make a run at restricted center Alex Mack with a contract offer Cleveland might balk at matching. He is a young, tough, pro-bowl type player. Move Pouncey to left guard, insert S. Smith or D. Thomas at rt. guard, re-sign McKinnie for a year as a stop gap right tackle, and draft a quality rt. tackle and guard this year.

THED, that I agree with. Shazier, Ebron those types offer full value for the investment fo a 1st round pick. Zach Martin, ech, he won't fail you but won't being you greatness either.

IMO, this draft shapes up where none of the highly projected talent falls. At #19, we'll be looking at guys we could have had were we drafting "further back".

So, the #19 position is pretty much a position that would have us "slightly overdrafting" no matter who we take. Because we signed Albert, taking Z Martin, would have us slightly overdrafting too.

We have to many holes to fill to trade up, giving way ammunition. So, at #19, we may be "forced into" trading back for extra picks(hopefully a 2nd rd'er) to get our "best value" in this draft.

just have a plan, and a contingency plan, thats all...best you can do....to me, re-signing guys like McKinnie and/or Clabo (and yes, even Jerry) would be the contingency plan, or most of it anyway--any depth guy that we might bring in will have warts, sort of the definition of a contingency plan/depth, so at least there is familiarity with these 3

DD, I didn't want them to fil the roster with free agents either but I think spending significantly on one more offensive lineman was warranted. I mean, to me the difference ina good versus meh free agency period was a few million bucks.

To me, right now, a lot of things up in teh air have to go right for that o line to be significantly better than it was last year. I hope my concerns are overblown - time will tell.


You are absolutely correct! I read a week ago that Buffalo is highly considering moving Kiko Alonzo to OLB too.


everybody knew that Ireland was desperate and on the hot seat last year, so some of his moves not working out shouldnt be surprising....thats the danger of letting a desperate guy reach and overpay mediocre players....but most here knew this, and were talking about, same for local media--a few end up not working out....not shocking.

As far as I am concerned, the biggest free agent signing wasnt a player.It was John Benton, I feel he has done enough in the NFL to warrant our trust. I think he can pull something out of Brenner and Thomas and the new guys. I will admit, I am always overly optimistic!

That's fine re: Alonzo but he also played a dam near pro bowl MLb in his first year.


Adding to your post, teams never allow players that are "cornerstones to their franchises" to hit fa any way. They "ALWAYS" resign them, right6?

MIT agreed one more significant Oline was needed, potentially changes a lot of different strategies at filling needs..

I agree that if no playmaker falls to 19, try to trade that pick away for late first rounder, plus either a 3rd or if lucky a 2nd. Very deep draft, need as many picks in top 3 rounds as possible. If no additional picks are gotten in either rd 2 or 3, in that scenario, or other trade scenarios, it would be dissapointing.
I hate to say this because he is an awesome player, but trading Wake for extra picks this year would be a good idea.

i know they have holes to fill on the Oline but reaching and overpaying (to way overpaying) mediocre players is not the answer, sorry....just makes a bad situation worse...thats part of what Ireland did last year with the LBers, and look where we are--its true that we dont have great "Option B's" at the moment, but overpaying for crappy players (Option A) is a terrible idea

I think the Dolphins should draft Carlos Hyde, RB with their first pick. This is a 6'0" 230 pile mover that doesn't put the ball on the ground. He is considered an excellent pass defender and recognizes blitzers and stops them dead for the most part. He would be as integral a part in pass defense as any OL plus, you throw in the fact that he has soft hands and doesn't go down easily, you address a lot of issues. Miami needs a premier RB, a 3-down RB that gets stronger as the game progresses. He's that long term answer to 3rd and short that we've thirsted for since Czonka. A good running game negates a lot of pass rushes.


This roster is just not good enough to go the experimental route with a 1st rd pick. Have you checked our track record with 1st and 2nd rd picks lately?

Still, even if this were not the case, our team situation dictates draft exactas, not possibles. Especially in the "opening rds".

we do have guys on our team still, brenner, samuda, garner and thomas. plus the draft. i also think some guys will get cut. rome wasn't built in a week, and neither will the dolphins.

..MIT..I agree. I wish that the team could have signed another o-lineman as well. But the Raiders went nuts and set the market for guards. I do not think that the extra money teams received can be understated. If this doesn't happen. I think we get a premium guard.

As I see it. The team had 2 priorities. Albert-Grimes. you could add Starks in there as well. These were must have players. The other players that we showed interest there had to be a cap on what we were willing to spend.

Now, I don't think we are done. Plenty of signable free agents out there.

Back to the blueprint of our squad. The drafts under Ireland have been mediocre. Lots of guys that will not see second contracts. Lots of guys that will see second-third tier free agent contracts(which is fine)..But not enough playmakers, or game changers under his watch.

This has to change..

Zach Martin is a tackle and a good one....
He never played guard at Notre Dame

His arm length means nothing...

Conversely, if this team trades away picks to move UP in the draft, that would be a huge mistake for an 8-8 team with so many holes to fill.

It takes a couple of years for even talented college OL to become effective at their positions. Complementing this issue is the fact that none of our backups were good enough to become an effective starter last year - even Garner who has been here for some time. We need to pick up another guard in FA. We either pick up a FA right tackle or decide that McKinney or Clabo can do it - McKinney probably could, Clabo not so much. At that point with the basics of an ok OL in place we can then draft our best players without the whole season turning on their rapid development. I think our defense probably is talented enough . . . . BUT we are way susceptible to injuries. We must get a starter big RB since Thomas is inadequate. It would be a big plus to get a starter TE who can block - to complement an emerging Clay. We need at least one tackle and one guard. These 4 positions probably come in the first 4 rounds but if there is a lot of talent at MLB and at safety I could see extending the choices to the first five rounds. The latter portion of the draft is all Offensive Linemen projects.

Ebron on the way...

Or Tre Mason.


Have you heard of Jay Prosh?

He's the fb rom Auburn that lead the way for Tre Mason. I think getting him 5th/6th rd could really help top boost our run game.

Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn
Height: 6-0. Weight: 256.
Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
Projected Round (2014): 5-7.

2/22/14 Prosch was a phenomenal run-blocker in 2013 and put on clinics against Georgia, Alabama and Missouri. He did a superb job of paving the way for Tre Mason and Keith Marshall to tear up defenses.

Prosch is extremely strong and physical, but has some quickness. He ran the ball 12 times in 2013 for 38 yards with two touchdowns. Prosch had five receptions for 95 yards, too. He had a mixed performance at the Senior Bowl.

8/3/13: Prosch is a heavy lead blocker who is also a good special teams player.

There are five or six of them outside.

I forgot---that was for Darryl.

This is an improved article Armando b/c you include relevant information pertaining to the potential future of the team. Again, though-> why the biased negativity. Shelley Smith may not be the answer, but I've read a lot of positive comments regarding his play from last year (especially as a pulling Guard), yet you only include a critical comment? He may not be the savior to our O-line (and he isn't), but come on, man. Demonstrate some objectivity, please.

Neither Hyde or Mason are projected as 1st rd. picks. They will not be picked at 19. Plenty of RBs in this draft for Rds 2 and later.

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