Miami Dolphins Free Agency 2012: Miami Finds Gold with Richard Marshall Signing

Cooper AllenAnalyst IIMarch 15, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11:  Cornerback Richard Marshall #31 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins opened up free agency with a bang, trading No.1 wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third-round picks.

Miami has also met with players like Peyton Manning and Eric Winston over the past few days, but there is one player that they signed that is being overlooked.

That is defensive back Richard Marshall, formally of the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

This past season, the Dolphins secondary finished in the bottom third in the league and going into the offseason many expected Miami to make an upgrade or two.

Marshall was signed to a three year contract worth $16 million with only six of it guaranteed. This is a huge steal for a team in need of secondary help.

While starting in nine games for Arizona in 2011, Marshall recorded 78 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

These are not amazing numbers, but according Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Marshall was the defensive MVP over guys like Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson and Pro Bowl alternate Darnell Dockett.

Although he is listed as a cornerback, Marshall played a lot of safety for Arizona in 2011, filling in for the injured Kerry Rhodes.

Marshall played only one year in Arizona and has left to the displeasure of the Cardinals defensive staff and a lot of their fans.

He is a stand-up guy and a great player who can be used in many different situations and schemes for Miami and is a huge upgrade over both Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones.  

This signing all but shores up the Dolphins secondary and allows them to focus on the front seven and the offense over the rest of free agency and going into the draft.