SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE
Packers free agent quarterback Matt Flynn spent more than five hours meeting with coaches and front office officials at Dolphins’ headquarters Saturday, arriving at noon. He left shortly after 5:30 p.m., according to WSVN-Fox 7. Before that, the Dolphins put him through medical tests this morning, just a few hours after he landed on a red-eye flight from the West Coast.
The Dolphins would like to sign him in the next couple days and are widely considered the favorite. But they still need to agree on money, and that will take some compromise.
His father, Alvin Flynn, said Saturday morning he expects resolution in the next few days but isn’t sure whether Flynn will opt for Miami or Seattle.
“He’s excited to be down there [in Miami],” Alvin Flynn said by phone Saturday. “He is very fond of Joe Philbin. He has warm feelings for him. He was very fortunate to be drafted by Green Bay. They’re very good teachers, quarterback-friendly. Aaron Rodgers took Matt under his wing and he has learned a tremendous amount.”
Alvin Flynn said his son “could run that offense in his sleep.” (That’s the offense that, for the most part, will be used by Philbin and Mike Sherman with the Dolphins.) And with “familiarity, there is a sense of comfort.”
But Alvin Flynn said his son also “likes Seattle. He likes [Seahawks coach] Pete Carroll. They hit it off well. It’s two very good franchises. I don’t think he could go wrong” with either team.
Flynn visited with the Seahawks on Thursday night and Friday and his flight to Miami was delayed. That, plus a two-hour layover in Los Angeles, meant he didn’t arrive until about 6 a.m. Saturday.
The Dolphins could be helped by the fact that the Seahawks also are monitoring the situation with free agent Alex Smith, whose status is up in the air while the 49ers await a decision from Peyton Manning.
Also Saturday, Eric Winston - the top right tackle on the market - reportedly agreed to terms with Kansas City. He met with the Dolphins on Wednesday, but Miami didn't have cap space to sign him or the incentive to create enough cap space to sign him.
A few days into free agency, here’s where the Dolphins stand, by position, beyond quarterback:
### Receiver: The Dolphins haven’t landed any of the most sought-after receivers, including Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay), Eddie Royal (San Diego) and Laurent Robinson (Jacksonville), though they had interest in Jackson and Robinson. Several others, including DeSean Jackson, Marques Colston and Wes Welker, either re-signed with their teams or got the franchise tag. Brandon Lloyd is in serious talks with New England.
There is very little left in free agency, in terms of clear-cut starters. The Dolphins called about Mario Manningham at the start of free agency, but as of Friday did not have either the cap space nor motivation to be as aggressive as the 49ers and Rams, who both invited him for visits. Other receivers left who would at least compete for a starting job, if signed, include Roy Williams, Braylon Edwards, Deion Branch, Donnie Avery and Roscoe Parrish.
The top restricted free agents remaining are Mike Wallace (a first-round pick would be required as compensation) and Danny Amendola (Miami hasn’t called). If the Dolphins wanted to do something bold and outside-the-box, they could extend an offer sheet to Wallace (that would require clearing a lot of cap space), then trade its first-round pick at No. 8 for later picks, including a low first-rounder that would be given to the Steelers as compensation if Miami signed Wallace.
In that scenario, the Dolphins could add a No. 1 receiver in Wallace and additional second- and/or third-round picks in a trade down. But that’s unlikely to happen. Though the Dolphins still might add a veteran, expect receiver to be addressed in the draft.
### Running back: The Dolphins are mostly set here, with Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and Steve Slaton. With Lex Hilliard non-tendered, they could add a fullback before training camp to compete with CFL import Jerome Messam.
### Offensive line: Losing out on Winston wasn't surprising, but is still disappointing. For now, Lydon Murtha and new pickup Artis Hicks (who has made 71 NFL starts) will compete at right tackle, with John Jerry, Nate Garner and possibly Hicks in the mix at right guard. The Dolphins haven’t pursued numerous established starters in free agency, including Evan Mathis, Ryan Diem, Deuce Lutui, Robert Gallery, Bobbie Williams and Jacob Bell. But they likely will add another player or two to the right side of the line either in draft or in the second wave of free agency.
### Tight end: The Dolphins didn’t consider any of the free agents available to be a clear upgrade over Anthony Fasano. All that’s left is veterans past their prime: Dallas Clark, Visanthe Shiancoe, Jeremy Shockey and Donald Lee, and a few others who wouldn’t be an upgrade over Charles Clay: Jacob Tamme, Leonard Pope, etc.
### Defensive front seven: We’ll cover the linemen and linebackers together because some overlap in Miami’s hybrid 4-3/3-4.
Kendall Langford signed a four-year, $24 million deal with St. Louis on Saturday, with $12 million guaranteed, but the Dolphins stopped pursuing him after re-signing Paul Soliai.
The Dolphins are set at tackle, with Soliai, Tony McDaniel, Phillip Merling and the knowledge that Randy Starks and Jared Odrick are perfectly capable of playing end or tackle. They like ex-Jet Jamaal Westerman, who will get snaps at end and linebacker.
They still need another pass-rushing end or outside linebacker to get snaps on the other side of Cameron Wake. That’s why they’re in the mix for Patriots free agent Mark Anderson (10 sacks last season). Anderson will visit the Titans before making a decision.
There are few quality pass-rushers still unsigned: Anderson, Kamerion Wimbley (Miami hasn't called about him) and Andre Carter at the top of the list. Miami could draft one early if it doesn’t sign Anderson.
Otherwise, they’re in good shape at linebacker with Wake (who obviously can play end or outside linebacker), Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Koa Misi, Westerman and Jason Trusnik. They still might add another veteran there.
### Defensive backfield: A lot will depend on where Richard Marshall plays – free safety or corner. If Sean Smith has a good camp and Rashad Jones doesn’t improve, Marshall could slide in at safety. If Marshall clearly outplays Smith in camp, and Jones shows additional growth, then Marshall could play more at corner. Either way, the Dolphins have helped themselves with Marshall’s versatility and solid skill set.
They figure to add another corner in the draft or second wave of free agency to upgrade or compete with Jimmy Wilson and Nolan Carroll as the fourth and fifth corners. But it seems unlikely they will be in position to add a “name” safety available in free agency, such as Reggie Nelson (visited the Jets) or LaRon Landry.