Miami Dolphins: Buying or Selling Latest Buzz on the Free-Agency Rumor Mill
On Saturday, the gates to the NFL's free-agent signing period partially opened as teams were allowed to speak to other teams' players before the official opening of free agency on Tuesday.
The Miami Dolphins seemed to have jumped into the free-agency pool head first and are ready to pounce on some much-needed upgrades along the offensive line.
As per usual this time of year, rumors are spreading like wildfire, while the day to officially sign said players feels like it couldn't come soon enough so that we can figure out whom Miami will sign and for how much.
For now we're just left with rumors and speculation, which we could either buy or sell.
That's exactly that I'm going to do now.
Buying: Miami's Interested in Safety Jarius Byrd
I didn't think Jarius Byrd would be on Miami's shopping list this offseason.
I figured that Byrd's price tag, plus the multitude of needs along the offensive line and the need to re-sign Brent Grimes and either of their defensive tackles would've made Byrd too pricey for Miami's budget.
This is, however, the same team that has been trying to upgrade at safety (more on that later) from free agent Chris Clemons, as well as the same team that surprised everyone last year by signing Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler (which I didn't see happening until it did).
According to Ian Rapoport, Miami is in the Jarius Byrd sweepstakes:
I buy this, and by this I mean the fact that Miami will make a run at Byrd.
What I'm not sure of is if Byrd is attempting to use the Dolphins to leverage more money from other teams. He is the best of the safeties available on the market and is due a big payday. Stephen Ross is known for being willing to pay money, and at times it has been used against him with other teams.
Despite how unsure I am of Byrd's real interest in Miami, I don't doubt Miami's interest in Byrd. He and Reshad Jones would be one of the best safety tandems in the NFL, and alongside the already re-signed Brent Grimes would give Miami an elite secondary.
Time will tell, as Byrd has plenty of other suitors, and Miami has plenty of other holes to fill. If Byrd doesn't choose Miami, we do know that there is a backup plan in place.
Buying Yet Selling: Dolphins Are Interested in Louis Delmas
Can I buy and sell something at the same time?
I have to here because I do buy that the Dolphins have an interest in Louis Delmas.
I plan on selling if their interest in Jarius Byrd is as real as I believe it to be and they wind up signing him (again, I'm iffy on Byrd signing in Miami).
According to Adam Beasley and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, "the two sides have begun contract negotiations, although a deal is not considered imminent."
Why wouldn't a deal be imminent between the two unless Miami was looking at other options at the position? That question is why I buy that Miami is willing to sign Delmas, but sell on him being the top choice, especially in light of the news on Byrd.
Selling: Any Devin Hester-to-Miami Suggestion
You knew it wouldn't be long until someone would suggest this.
Dave George of The Palm Beach Post made the suggestion in his column that the Dolphins sign Devin Hester (subscription required).
I can't see this happening, despite the reasons George listed in his piece that make good business sense, and that's because it didn't make good football sense.
Would he be an upgrade over Marcus Thigpen in the return game? Yes, but so would Lamar Miller if given the chance, or any of the multitude of potential draft picks or undrafted free agents Miami will have their pick of come May.
Each of those players will be cheaper than Hester, and it's not like Hester is a player a team will break the bank for (unless Al Davis comes back from the dead).
Along with that, I can't see Hester fitting in with Joe Philbin. This has nothing to do with personalities, as the two would probably mesh pretty well. This is about the fact that Hester really isn't quite a wide receiver. The Bears have played him at the position in the past as their deep threat, but he has never consistently started at the position (and this was before Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey got to Chicago).
That's not the type of player the coaching staff would like. Yes, Marcus Thigpen isn't an important part of the team's offense either, but Thigpen isn't getting paid the type of money Hester would likely command (which again, isn't going to be a lot, but still a bit too much for a specialist on the wrong side of 30).
Buying: Dolphins Will Not Re-Sign Randy Starks or Paul Soliai
I'm fairly shocked by two things regarding Paul Soliai and Randy Starks.
The first thing I'm shocked about is the fact that, according to Adam Beasley and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, neither player will be re-signed:
All indications are the Dolphins are poised to lose both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks — who have anchored the middle of the defensive line for the last half-decade.
There has been no progress on a new deal for Soliai, and signs are his time with the Dolphins is coming to an end.
The same can be said for Starks, who as of Saturday morning had not received a contract offer from the Dolphins. The talented Starks is headstrong — the middle finger he flashed at the Dolphins’ bench in the 2013 opener is proof of that — and many around the league believe that he’s not a personality fit with Miami coach Joe Philbin.
Here's the other shocking part of this: I actually don't have too much of a problem with it, provided they can replace them.
Each of those players is under 30, and I do think it's time for the Dolphins to get younger anyway.
The other option isn't a younger player, but someone who could fill in for two years as Miami drafts and develops his replacement: former Dallas Cowboy Jason Hatcher.
With all of these options (plus the options at defensive tackle in the first two rounds of the draft), losing Starks and Soliai doesn't have the bite I expected it to, and if there is a coach on Miami's staff that I have faith in when it comes to developing players, it's defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers.
Buying: Branden Albert Will Sign with Miami on Tuesday
Is he my first choice?
Not at all; that would be Eugene Monroe.
Does it matter what my first choice (or your first choice) might be? Not at all, as this report from Pro Football Talk makes it appear imminent that Branden Albert will be a Miami Dolphin at 4:01 p.m. on Tuesday.
I'm buying this report simply because of the history between Albert and the Dolphins. Miami wanted a deal done last season, but Jeff Ireland refused to give up a second-rounder to Kansas City despite the fact that the coaches wanted this deal done.
So here we are about a year later, and this time there won't be a need to give up a draft pick; just bring Albert in and have him sign on the dotted line.
Nothing is official yet, but this is as close to official as you can get for now.