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Miami Dolphins: Veteran OLB Options to Pursue Instead of Jason Taylor

MIAMI - JANUARY 03:  Linebacker Jason Taylor #99 of the Miami Dolphins looks on as the last few moments of the game tick away against the Pittsburgh Steelers calls out a play at the line of scrimmage at Land Shark Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Dolphins 30-24.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIJune 30, 2011

I loved watching Jason Taylor as a Miami Dolphin as much as the next guy, but the fact is he is no longer the same player.

The Dolphins need some OLB depth, especially since it is looking like Quentin Moses will be an unrestricted free agent under the possible new CBA (not to mention Moses is not anyone to get too excited about).

However, I caution Dolphins fans not to jump on the "Bring Jason to Miami" bandwagon.

Taylor has already said that he will only play for the Jets in 2011 or will retire (and most likely go into TV).

While the Dolphins could use some veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball, sacrificing quality for age is not a smart way to go. I would rather have quality young guys who can play rather than have an aging liability.

I think the Dolphins have two great OLBs in Cam Wake and Koa Misi, but there is no one else after them.

So who can the Dolphins add as an experienced pass rusher?

One option is Mathias Kiwanuka, who is a five-year veteran. He mostly played as a DE but played some OLB and could thrive as an OLB in a 3-4 system.

Kiwanuka never fulfilled expectations in New York and is coming off a major injury. However, that also means he could come cheap. He is a risk, but his upside is very high.

Another option is Manny Lawson, who spent the last five seasons in San Francisco. Like Kiwanuka, Lawson has been a major disappointment. However, he is still young and a change of scenery may do him some good.

He does not have the high number of sacks, but he did apply more pressure per play than Cam Wake and Clay Matthews. He also broke up more passes than any other 3-4 OLB.

Lawson would not be as cheap as Kiwanuka, but he has a brighter upside than Kiwanuka and does not have the injury concerns.

Another option is Matt Roth, but that will never happen because of the ugly falling-out he had with the Dolphins.

So please, put the Jason Taylor dreams aside, Dolphins fans, and start campaigning for Kiwanuka or Lawson.

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