There has been some serious buzz about the roughly $50m these SoFlo Sea Mammals will have under the 2013 salary cap. However, as the current team starts to do some damage on the playing field, the idea of keeping them largely intact becomes more crucial. Between Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Sean Smith, Randy Starks, and Brian Hartline the Dolphins have some work to do keeping our free agents in house.
Guys like Long don’t come along very often. We’ve got to be actively working on a deal that honors the value of a Pro Bowl left tackle, while also honoring the fact that toward the end of his contract Jake will be no spring chicken. As of press time the massive lineman is 27.
Reggie Bush has found himself a bit banged up this season, but do you feel comfortable with handing the reins over to Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller at this point? All indications are that Reggie loves it in South Florida, and hopefully a reasonable deal can be struck to keep this good locker room presence, not to mention one of the top pass catching backs in the game, around Davie for a little while longer.
The Sean Smith situation worries us the most, and if it were our job we would lock him up yesterday. He’s the real deal, and other teams are certainly taking notice. Cornerbacks like Sean get paid in full, and if he hits the market we may be outbid for his services. Freakish size and great instincts, this kid is a touch matchup for any wideout in the game. He also just 25 years of age. How nice would it be to cement him into the lineup for the foreseeable future?
The versatile Randy Starks is one of those lunch pail guys who never seems to get enough credit. No doubt that Randy is one of the main reasons Miami has perhaps the most feared run defense in the league. Randy is about to turn 29, and it’s unlikely that another team will back the Brinks truck up to his house. Why mess with a good thing, when Starky can probably be re-upped with a reasonable, solid contract?
Brian Hartline is a nice guy to have around. Slippery with great hands, Brian is probably far enough removed from his Incredible Hulk performance in Arizona that he can be re-signed for solid possession receiver money. Still, it won’t be dirt cheap to keep him in Davie.
A couple of wild cards in all this? Our #1 wide receiver problem. In case you’re scoring at home we traded our undisputed Pro Bowl wideout to the Bears for two 3rd round picks. Sorry if that sounds judgmental, but it’s been our most glaring deficiency this season and it absolutely didn’t need to be. If we go out and grab a #1 wideout, whether in trade of free agency, said player is almost certainly going to want to be paid money for his services. Greg Jennings could be an interesting “discount” signing, given his health problems this season, his 30th birthday looming in the not so distant future, and his relationship with Joe “Crazylegs” Philbin.
Of course the bean counters will have to work overtime to lock up the above mentioned players as well as bag studly Kansas City wideout Dwayne Bowe. He’s is going to get paid big time this offseason, but given Dr. T’s emergence under center, and the crap shoot drafting a rookie wideout can be, it’s tempting.
The second wild card? The franchise tag. If we can’t work out a deal with Long, Smith or Bush, we could guarantee them a nice pay day and buy another season before saying adios or negotiating another deal.
Nice to have all that cap room, Just don’t count on a splashy payday for an incoming player. Free agency this offseason should mostly be about taking care of our own. And the way these Dolphins are playing, that ain’t necessarily a bad thing.
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