The most widely asked question about the start of Miami Dolphins training camp is when they will try to address the guard position that no fan has a serious comfort level about, even as Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas are penciled in as the starters.
There are questions as to why the Dolphins haven't signed free agent Evan Mathis.
There are questions as to why the Dolphins are waiting to make what seems on the surface as an obvious move.
The answer is the Dolphins seem invested in Turner and Thomas and even rookie Jamil Douglas to the point they will start camp with those players vying for the two starting guard jobs. The players have gone through the offseason program. The personnel department and coaching staff have a level of comfort about those players.
There's investment there.
And now they young players are going to get a chance early in camp to show what they can actually do.
I liken this to how the Dolphins approached a similar situation in 2014. Remember last year the Dolphins went to camp with an obvious need at center. They felt comfortable enough with the players on the roster that they opened camp even as free agent Samson Satele remained available.
It wasn't until the centers in camp proved they weren't up to even completing a shotgun snap that Miami made the move for Satele. It took about a week of evidence gathering for the Dolphins to make a move.
Well, maybe Turner, Thomas, and Douglas get at least that long in this year's training camp practices, in the heat, in pads, in anger, to prove they merit the team's confidence.
Or prove they do not.
And, meanwhile, Mathis is not signed. Indeed, he has not even visited the Dolphins, according to a club source. So while there are social media types going around claiming Mathis has an offer from Miami on the table, that feels more like a rumor.
Typically when the Dolphins are serious with a player, they bring him to camp for a visit. Last year, even as Satele waited for the verdict on Miami's camp centers, he had already visited with the team.
Mathis has not.
So I would expect barring a major change today when players report for physicals, that the three guards who have been on the roster and have been part of the plan will get first crack at the open jobs.
If they fail, then Mathis becomes an option.
By the way, this says nothing about the kind of money Mathis wants. Even if the Dolphins wanted him, they're not going to pay him anywhere near the kind of contract he had with the Philadelphia Eagles, who were scheduled to pay him $5.5 million in 2015.
And Mathis wanted a raise from that deal to between $7-$8 million per year which would have put him in the upper crust of guard salaries. Obviously, no team has deemed Mathis worthy of such an offer or he would be signed already.
At some point, Mathis might come down on price. At some point, a team that is desperate might come up. But it would take some magical agent work by Drew Rosenhaus to get the kind of money for Mathis the player was expecting or even scheduled to make.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, would more likely want a player like Mathis for two years at perhaps $2-$3 million the first year -- a far cry from what Mathis would want. Oh, yes, and the second year of that contract? The player likely would never see it.
Mathis turns 34 in November.