Miami Dolphins' offseason shake up will continue in the coming days, as the Florida outfit will attempt to trade guard Justin Smiley.
Bill Parcells contacted Smiley to tell him the team's decision, although the offensive lineman made it clear that he wished to stay in Miami.
Regardless, Smiley was told to he need not report to Miami's training camp next week, and that the Dolphins would actively pursue trading him over the coming days.
A second round pick by San Francisco 49ers in 2004, Smiley joined Miami as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. However, his stay in Florida was blighted by injury problems, and he started just 12 games over the last two seasons.
His departure would free up a substantial amount of salary cap space, having signed a five-year, $25 million contract in 2008, with $9 million guaranteed.
Tony Sparano's signing of Richie Incognito appears to have given Miami enough depth to consider Smiley surplus to requirements, and the Dolphins will hope to pick up another draft pick in the mid-rounds.
Some media outlets are suggesting that a third round pick will be the price for Smiley, but a fourth rounder may be more realistic.
The Dolphins will be hoping that possible destinations, including Cincinnati, Seattle, Atlanta, and San Francisco, may engage in a bidding war which would improve his trade value. However, a third round pick will most likely be his maximum value, unless he is used in a trade for another player.
With Smiley almost certainly out the door, who will replace him in a position that has been troublesome over recent years?
Donald Thomas started regularly last season for the Dolphins before sustaining an injury, and would be the expected starter this season. Although he has proved he can dominate the opponent in run blocking, his game is not as well rounded as Smiley, and his pass blocking has been called into question.
Nate Garner will offer backup to Thomas, with Incognito presumably the other starting guard. On a one-year deal with a very basic salary, the former Buffalo Bills man must prove he is able to control his temper before being trusted by Miami to return for another season.
Another option is former CFL star Dimitri Tsoumpas. Standing 6'4'', and 315 lbs, Tsoumpas has all the obvious physical attributes to succeed in the NFL. Drafted as the second overall pick in the 2008 CFL Draft, Calgary Stampeders rated him very highly, but were unable to convince him to reject the advances of an NFL franchise.
Assuming that the Dolphins do not make any moves for a guard in free agency, having already signed Incognito, there is a possibility of a move in the draft. First Round prospects include Mike Iupati from Idaho, and Maurkice Pouncey is equally capable of playing guard as well as center.
Neither option is expected to go as high as twelve, so unless the Dolphins opt to trade down, a late round pick-up is a possibility. Mitch Petrus, who completed an incredible 45 bench reps at the combine, could be targeted in rounds three or four.
Obviously none of these options are a certainty to replace Smiley in the starting job, and none bring the leadership that he brought to the team.
It will now be up to star offensive lineman Jake Long to lead the line, and pick up the mantle that Smiley leaves behind.
Regardless of his replacement, and the leadership situation, it is clear that Smiley will not be a Dolphin when the new season begins. Miami will now look to build for the future, and hope to make a good trade that will allow them to address their needs in the upcoming draft.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!