Cornerback Chris Culliver was cleared to resume physical activities last week by his physician Dr. Robert Andrews and what ensued soon afterward was a mini free agency period for the former Washington Redskins cornerback.
And the Dolphins, San Francisco, Chicago and Arizona showed significant interest in signing Culliver. And last night, 10 days after their initial visit with the player, Miami signed Culliver to a one-year contract.
The incentive laden contract can be worth as much as $5 million but more realistically he will earn $2.5 million.
And the reason is Culliver is likely to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, which means he won't be on the regular roster until late October or perhaps early November. He begins the preseason on the active PUP so he is not practicing but rather rehabbing. The Dolphins are going to be cautious with a player coming back from a torn ACL and MCL suffered last November.
The moving of Culliver onto the roster today means the team cut linebacker Danny Lansanah and offensive lineman Jacques McClendon. Barring him running around like he's 21 years old and never seen the inside of an operating room, Culliver will be placed on that regular season PUP list after the third preseason game.
And the Dolphins are fine with that because they see this in the old Bill Parcells mode of adding talent. They see free agency as a refueling stop for top talent. They see the draft as a refueling stop for top talent. And they know the next refueling stop is typically next Spring.
Except Culliver, when healthy, is so good, the Dolphins believe they got a free refueling stop now that will begin to pay dividends as early as October.
(By the way, unlike most fans, pundits and cynics, the Dolphins believe they'll be in the playoff picture in October so Culliver coming on board then will be a significant addition).
Anyway, the addition of the 6-foot Culliver continues the ongoing remaking of the Dolphins cornerback corps. That corps is no longer a legion of smurfs. Brent Grimes is gone. Brice McCain is gone. The team doesn't want smallish cornerbacks.
The corps includes 6-3 Tony Lippett, 6-1 Byron Maxwell, 6-foot Chimdi Chekwa, 6-foot Jordan Lucas, 6-1 Xavien Howard. And now 6-foot Chris Culliver.
(The Dolphins view the slot position as a different spot that probably requires smaller, quicker corners).
The point is the Dolphins think they've reinforced with a quality player that other teams wanted. And they believe that player will begin to pay dividends during a playoff push in October or November.