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Burleson would have been insurance Dolphins still want

The interest in Nate Burleson by the Miami Dolphins was not so acute that they would get into a bidding war with the Cleveland Browns. Indeed, it was portrayed to me as a chance to investigate a solid veteran receiver who might be available at a relatively inexpensive price.

Burleson signed a one-year contract with Cleveland instead.

But the interest the Dolphins had raises some questions because it suggests the team saw the opportunity to purchase something that should not go unnoticed and now is unattended: Insurace for the health of Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline.

Gibson and Hartline finished last season with knee injuries. Both are expected back for 2014 and, indeed, Hartline is conservatively expected back for June's mandatory minicamp, if not earlier. Gibson, who suffered a more serious patellar tendon tear in New England last October, is expected back at some point in training camp in late July and August.

But no amount of optimism about the recovery of two-thirds of the Miami starting receiver corps overshadows the fact the Dolphins felt a desire if not a need to shop for insurance (in the person of Burleson) against the possibility one of the two receivers (more likely Gibson) might not be ready for the 2014 season.

This raises the question whether the Dolphins will continue shopping for that insurance now that Burleson has gone to Cleveland? I believe the answer is yes. If another veteran receiver who the Dolphins think can be a good locker room add at a relatively cheap price comes along, I'd expect the Dolphins to show interest.

It speaks to having a secondary plan in case Plan A doesn't play out to script.

The script the Dolphins are operating under says Gibson and Hartline will be ready to play the 2014 regular season. Look for general manager Dennis Hickey to continue looking for opportunities to hedge his bet ... just in case the script doesn't go as planned.

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