Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dolphins Look to Improve Through Free Agency

With the Free Agency period beginning at the end of the month, we want to take this time and explore the Dolphins options. Bill Parcells took the economic route to improve the team last year by signing other team’s rejects. I'm not going to say it didn't work, cause look at the product that was put together. Sometimes it's better that why because no one has an ego and everyone plays to their full capacity to make sure they don't get bumped. This year, that won't work. Partly, because the players that we need to keep are not going to come cheap. Miami has to address their weakest positions (WR, CB,) before they can improve the rest and if they are not careful, that needs list is going to improve. It won't hurt to improve a running defense that gave up 101 yards a game either.

Miami Dolphins Most Valuable Free Agents

Channing Crowder (LB) - There is not enough i can say about how much of an asset Crowder has been to The Miami Defense since we drafted him in 2005. He stepped in and was fortunate to have a mentor like Zach Thomas for his first 3 years. When Thomas was released, Crowder did not miss a step, hesitate or back down from the responsibilities. He controlled the middle of the field and called plays for the unit. Reports out of Dolphins Camp say that the two sides are not close in making a deal. the Dolphins refuse to increase the offer the made to him last year and Crowder refuse to accept a "Special Teams Contract". This position is going to have to be addressed via trade or draft since the decent options are also big money.

Vernon Carey (OT) - The Dolphins will do everything in their power to keep Carey. They put together a Offensive Line that works and they want keep them together because they are only going to get better. They gave up 26 sacks last year as a unit. That was 10th least amount in the NFL. That’s coming from a line that consisted of a rookie, two 2nd year players, and two 5 year players making Carey the longest tenured Lineman that will have. Because of them, the Dolphins tied the record for least amount of turnovers in NFL history. If all contract talks fail he WILL get the Franchise Tag.

Andre Goodman (CB) - Already part of a soft defense back unit, the loss of Goodman will be a serious gut check. Goodman ranked in the top 20 among Cornerbacks this year with a 51 percent success rate defending passes. He is going to want top 20 money. Negotiations with him have fallen through but signs of restarting discussions are good. There are some decent CB's available this year but we have to make a move quickly.

Ricky Williams (RB) - Oh Ricky! Thank you for the ups and downs during your stay here. It seems as your day has come. Miami has Patrick Cobbs in the wings ready to take over the number 2 running spot. For our running game to be effective we cannot keep on splitting time between 3 guys. You have done wonders in helping the wildcat formation get into gear. The only way I see you staying with the team is if you keep your $735,000 price tag.

Yeremiah Bell (S) - Bell has been an injury prone secondary player for the Fins for quite a while, but last season he stayed healthy and showed his effectiveness. The Dolphins can likely place a Franchise Tag on Yeremiah in order to keep him here. He brings hard-hitting defense to the secondary unit and is very good at studying opponents and preparing a well-defined game plan. I would like to see Parcells and Sparano agree on keeping Bell for 09-10.

Notable Free Agent Line Backers

  • Ray Lewis
  • Bart Scott
  • Jonathan Vilma
Notable Free Agent Cornerbacks

Bryant McFadden (CB) - I believe Mcfadden is the Steel Curtain's best Corner. He has been a terror to opposing wide receivers. This past year he missed 6 games duo to an ankle injury and was not 100 percent the last week of the season and throughout the playoffs. I will not hold his Superbowl performance against him. He is a 4 year player with loads of talent and has a great career ahead of him. Hopefully, it's with the Dolphins.

Phillip Buchanon (CB)
- This former UM standout is part of the great Tampa Bay defense. He can bring a tough mentality to the team. He is a definite upgrade over CB Nathan Jones and CB Joey Thomas. If the dolphins are unable to re-sign Goodman, Philip will move right in to a starting spot opposite of Will Allen.

Sam Madison (CB)
- As a Dolphin fan my whole life how can I not be happy about a return of Sammy to our team. Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were the Mark Clayton and Mark Duper of our defense. Accept for last year that he spent most of the time on the injured reserves, Madison has been consistent and has not missed a beat. He brings leadership to a young core of backs. Maybe, we can get him for the league minimum.

Biggest Need - Wide Receivers

I don't want to knock Tedd Ginn, Greg Camarillo or Devone Bess because I think they did a good job but when Camarillo went down with an injury, you noticed the lack of depth that we have in that position. Our weakness is really exposed in the 5 wide spread formation when he have to line up David Martin, a TE, and Ronnie or Ricky. Devone Bess and Greg Camarillo play their best from the slot position. We need to add height to the squad and a true number two or one if we can acquire someone better than Ginn. Adding one good player can open up things for the rest of the WR.

Anquan Boldin (WR) - This is a long shot but will be a perfect fit for the Dolphins. He has everything we need. Some Height (6'1 is a improvement from our 5'10 and 5'11 WR's), Versatility, Deep threat, and some Shake and Bake in him. He will be a consistent 1,000 yard receiver year in year out. The problem is that Parcells is in the business of taking in draft picks not sending them out. Anquan will cost this year’s first round pick and then some. But hey, we never thought we will land Shaq either, so we will wait and see how things develop.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh (WR) - T.J. has averaged 1020 yards and has lead the Bengals in receiving touchdowns the past 4 years despite being lined up on the opposite side of Chad Ocho Cinco. Early signs show him leading towards the Eagles but maybe an offer of South Beach is enough to bring him down to Miami.

Jabar Gaffney (WR) - Jabar has been a quite threat for the Patriots as their number 3 receiver. He does most of his damage in the 5 wide spread set. As I stated above, that is a big weakness. He can come cheap and maybe for once we can take someone from New England and make them Great instead of the other way around.(Cite: Patriots signing Welker when he was a RFA)

Final Note

There are two big names out there in the free agent market when it comes to defensive lineman, Julius Peppers and Albert Haynesworth. It is very unlikely the Fins will pursue either one since they both come from a 4-3 set and they want to plug someone in who doesn't have to adjust to the system.

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