The start of the 2011 NFL offseason appears to be right around the corner.
What will be key for the Miami Dolphins this offseason is avoiding the free agent busts. With the short time period for signing free agents, there is a good chance teams will feel rushed and make a mistake.
Teams will have to be quick and to the point with the free agents and that can be a dangerous game.
Several free agents have expressed their interest in Miami and most of them are not the type of players Miami needs or should want.
Here is a look at five free agents that Miami must avoid this offseason.
I feel that most are just focusing on his 2008 season when he ran for 1,515 yards at a 5.5 yards per carry pace and 18 TDs.
Since 2008, Williams has been injury prone and his production has slowly decreased because of it.
I know the Dolphins want to make a splash with a veteran free agent running back, but that has very rarely worked out in the past in the NFL.
After the 2008 season, RB Derrick Ward had shown flashes of greatness in New York and got a big pay day from Tampa Bay because of it ($6 million in guaranteed money). Ward ended up only starting one game for Tampa Bay and was gone after the 2009 season.
Two of the biggest veteran RB free agents last year were Chester Taylor and Thomas Jones and they both were two of the least productive RBs last season.
Then you factor in RBs like Arian Foster, LeGarrette Blount and Ryan Torain—young guys who were on the waiver wire and were had for cheap.
I do not think it would be wise for the Dolphins to invest a lot of money in Williams, who is going to want a lot of money. Compliments to Daniel Thomas can be had at a much better value (Ahmad Bradshaw would be one).
The risk in signing RBs is always there, but the key is trying to minimize the damage if they do not work out.
While too many people focus on DeAngelo Williams' one good season, too many people focus on Young's win-loss record.
Yes I get it, he was 30-18 as a starter and just knows how to win. Yes I get it, when he was inserted as a starter in 2009 he went 8-2 down the stretch.
However, let me bring you down from that 8-2 cloud nine that you are on.
During that 10-game stretch the Titans only played three playoff teams. In those games, Young was 1-2, and that one win took a miracle last second pass against Arizona (an Arizona team that was playing without Kurt Warner as its QB).
Even Young's supporters will admit he is not the greatest passer in the World and his 42 TDs to 42 INTs is evidence of that.
However, then they will argue that he brings the running aspect that separates him from other QBs. Yet, he went from 552 rushing yards in 2006 to just 395 the next season in more starts. His rushing production has gone down every year since then as well.
You might think that is a good thing because it means he is looking to pass first. However, 2007 was his best passing season and that was only 2,546 yards.
Then you factor in that Young will probably want $8-10 million per year. Unless the Dolphins cut some players, that would take up almost all the cap space the Dolphins have.
Would one player really be worth that?
Some of you may not know Essex but he has been around for seven seasons.
You probably do know the Dolphins and how much they love versatile OL and the Dolphins are going to be looking for a versatile veteran OL (especially with Cory Procter and Pat McQuistan likely on the way out).
Essex can play four positions on the OL (center being excluded) and has quality playoff experience.
When people think of the Steelers they think of their power running game and the good OL that comes with that.
However, for the last couple of seasons that has not been the case. Many Steelers fans will tell you that the OL has been one of the most frustrating parts of their team.
Essex is right at the center of the frustration. He was very inconsistent when he did get playing time.
With the odd free agent market situation, Essex could bring in over $1 million per year. That would be far too expensive for a depth guy.
I would much rather see the Dolphins spend bigger money for a top-flight starter at guard like Marshal Yanda.
With DE/DT Tony McDaniel on his way out, the Dolphins could use some proven veteran depth behind Paul Solai.
The Fins need the depth not only for rotational needs but in case of emergency if Solai proves to be a one year wonder (though I am hoping not because I really like Solai and I think he can be a great player).
When healthy, Smith has been productive including five good games last season with the Browns.
He fits the mold of what the Dolphins would want, but the injury last year was a back injury. A 33-year-old DL with back problems is a major red flag. While he may fit the price range for the Dolphins, I think it best to look elsewhere for a 3-4 DT.
I think a guy like Justin Bannan would be a better fit. Bannan has ten years of experience and has been a starter and a role player DL. The key with him would be is if he is willing to go into a reserve role again after starting 16 games for the Broncos in their 3-4 defense last season.
The Burress to Miami rumors have been hot and heavy.
I cannot scream "NO" loud enough and luckily there have been no reports of the Dolphins reaching out to Burress. However, that does not mean it still cannot happen.
First of all, the last thing the Dolphins need is another WR who attracts the wrong kind of attention. Especially when the Dolphins appear to be really trying to develop QB Chad Henne.
Secondly, the Dolphins do not need to be wasting free agent money on a WR. The Dolphins needed a speed WR threat and they drafted that with Edmund Gates. Also, Burress has never been known as a speed WR.
Burress specializes in goal-line situations, which is what the Dolphins got Brandon Marshall for (even though they did not properly use him as such last season but that is a different story).
Then, you factor in that he has been out of football for two years and has a bullet hole in his leg and Burress makes no sense for the Dolphins.
If the Dolphins absolutely feel like they need a WR, which they do not, I would rather take a chance on guys like Mike Sims-Walker or T.J. Houshmandzadeh.