Today is the final day of official contact-but-no-contract courtship between NFL teams and representatives for players. Starting tomorrow, it becomes serious. Starting tomorrow at 4 p.m., players are able to sign with new teams.
The past few days?
The agent wild west.
As most NFL teams don't tell the media anything (rightfully so) about their plans for signing other teams' players at the opening of free agency, all the information is coming from agents. And some of that is misinformation.
"Love my agent counterparts for putting out such an awesome account of misinformation re: players, team interests, and team free agent activity," agent C.J. LaBay of Relativity Sports, tweeted on Sunday evening.
He's right. Many agents want to create buzz for their clients because buzz can raise the price on players. So a player who has talked to one team other than his own can be said to be "talking to multiple teams showing serious interest, according to a source."
And, of course, the teams are not identified. And the agent doesn't have to put his name behind the information.
And the media (me) publishes it because teams don't typically confirm or deny the information and thus do not correct the record whenever such information is only tangential to the truth.
Yes, there are many upright, honest and professional agents who deal straight with the media. Not everyone works the same. But to suggest the scenario I just shared with you never plays out excludes the whole truth from what's happening through today.
So as with free agency for teams, buyer beware with the information out there.
There is some information about the Dolphins market that merits consideration as Tuesday draws nearer.
1. The Dolphins interest in Eugene Monroe was cooler than expected. Yes, they showed interest over the weekend but it was not the full-on courting of the player many believed would be the hottest LT talent available.
Apparently, teams were lukewarm on Monroe for some reason -- maybe they didn't like his price tag that was married to his uneven play in 2013 and lack of overpowering physical presence.
2. Branden Albert was apparently the hottest commodity expected to come available. A handful of teams had him as the best LT about to hit the market and the Dolphins are one of those teams. Perhaps it is price point, a more even ability to run as well as pass block ... I don't know. Obviously it is not his age (29) vs. Monroe (26).
3. The Dolphins believe they are going to get Albert. Does that mean a deal is done? No. Does that mean one will get done 100 percent? No. But is it likely? Yes. And the talk on the annual average salary is between $9-$10 million per season.
4. The Dolphins were also interested in Jared Veldheer as something of a backup option at LT. And his price tag is expected to be between $7-$8 million per season.
5. The Dolphins are doing work at the safety position. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said on WSVN's Sunday night sports show in Miami that he and the Dolphins have talked about a contract for free agent Louis Delmas. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Sunday evening that the Dolphins are "showing real interest" in Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills.
That's interesting if true because Byrd is expecting a contract that averages between $8-$9 million per season. Let me repeat: Jairus Byrd wants a contract that would pay about $36 million over four years and that would include between $16-$18 million in guaranteed money.
So are the Dolphins serious about that?
I remind you that last year the Dolphins signed Reshad Jones to a four-year extension worth $29.36 million with $15 million in guaranteed money. They are not cutting Jones because that would mean approximately $13 million in dead money.
So the Dolphins are going to have a starting safety duo that represents approximately $16 million in average annual salary? They're going to tie up eight percent of the $133 million cap on two players, neither of which scores touchdowns for a living?
And in the meantime, they've got questions about who starts at cornerback opposite Brent Grimes?
Look, I love Jairus Byrd as a player. As I've written, the man is a turnover machine. He averages one turnover every two games. And then I found out what his asking price is.
And it gave me pause.
Adding Byrd makes a ton of sense when you're not already paying big bucks at the other safety spot. He's a big luxury.