The former New Orleans Saints’ tight end, Jeremy Shockey, last night decided to join the Carolina Panthers on a one-year deal.
This means he is out of the running as the tight end that the Miami Dolphins hoped to play opposite Anthony Fasano next year.
Shockey expressed his desire to join the Dolphins when he left New Orleans. He lives in Miami during the offseason and played college football for the Hurricanes. However, Miami failed to secure his services, although it is unclear what the reasoning behind Shockey’s decision is.
Instead, he opts to join Ron Rivera’s revolution in Carolina, where the new Head Coach hopes to turn around the 2-14 Panthers and make them a force in the NFL.
The decision does come as somewhat of a surprise, following Shockey’s open declaration that he wished to play for Miami. Although he played alongside Dolphins’ tight end coach Dan Campbell for the Giants, he also has links with the Panthers, having played for offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski while he held the same position at the University of Miami.
It is unclear what sort of contract Shockey signed with the Panthers, but when the figures emerge it may shed more light upon the Dolphins’ decision not to move for the outspoken tight end.
If Shockey wanted too much money Miami’s move is understandable, but if Shockey has signed an incentive-laden deal, it begs the question why the Dolphins did not make more effort to secure his services.
Although injury-prone, he did pass a physical with Miami. His outspoken nature may have been an issue, but if Miami wants to win, they will have to occasionally take a risk on a player, like they did with Brandon Marshall.
In addition, he could have been cut if he caused too many problems.
However, with Shockey apparently so willing to sign for Miami, it seems odd that the Dolphins would consider his character a stumbling block.
It should soon emerge why he chose to join the Panthers and in the meantime, fans can only speculate, but it is a disappointing end to another hope to solve the tight end problem.
Shockey is still productive and his Miami roots mean he is still popular in South Florida, so many fans hoped he would return to his college home.
Now, Miami will have to go in a different direction. With the Texans re-signing Owen Daniels and Mercedes Lewis being tendered by the Jaguars, it seems like Zach Miller is the best free agency option.
The Dolphins will have to pay Miller a considerable amount to secure his signature though, and there will be interest from other NFL teams.
Instead, they may look to the draft. Kyle Rudolph is the top-rated tight end in a poor draft class, but would not be worth a first round investment; he might be an option if Miami trade back and recoup a second round pick though.
DJ Williams is a quick, exciting talent, but at 6'2", he may not have the size Miami desires.
Instead, it could be a mid-late round prospect who fills the void.
Rob Housler from Florida Atlantic is an option; projected as a fourth round pick, he stands 6'6", weighs 249 lbs and runs a 4.56 40-yard dash.
Nevada Wolf Pack’s Virgil Green could also be considered in the fifth round, he is smaller at 6'4" and offers very little as a blocker, but is elusive with excellent hands and runs a 4.60 dash.
Finally, Schuylar Oordt, who stands 6'6" tall and weighs 258 lbs, runs a 4.59 dash and would offer a good seam threat, even if his blocking is suspect. He may offer a good reward for very little risk with a sixth or seventh round pick.
All have the potential to fill Miami’s need for a seam threat tight end, but it is still unclear which, if any, of the players the Dolphins are targeting. They may prefer to look to free agency for their man, but as of today their search for a tight end has not come to its conclusion.
One thing is for certain though: University of Miami legend Jeremy Shockey will not be a Miami Dolphin next year.