It's not what you think ;) With all the talk of Free Agency and the Draft and what players we want to add to our team, I wanted to take a look at the current roster and get a better idea of what we have and what we need. So for the purpose of this article, "sinkers" will be guys I think will be gone, and "floaters" will be guys that will stay.
Let's start with the offense...
QB - On the Roster: Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, John Beck.
- Sparano has stated that Pennington will be the starter going into next year. As far as the endless debate over whether he SHOULD be the starter, I'll save that for the many other threads devoted to the subject. I will say that it wouldn't surprise me at all if we used one of our 7th round picks on a developmental QB and let him compete with Beck for the 3rd spot. "At the end of the day" (c) Tony Sparano, I think all three will be back.
- Pennington - Floater, Henne - Floater, Beck - Floater
RB - On the Roster: Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs.
- This is one of our most talented, and deepest, positions on the team. The 3 of them combined for 1663 rushing yards, 748 receiving yards, and 18 total touchdowns. Ronnie and Ricky are a very good 1-2 punch, and Cobbs is the consumate worker, playing special teams, playing fullback, and doing whatever the staff asks of him. As with the QB's, I believe all three will be back. There's no reason to upgrade or change the guys here until further into the future.
- Brown - Floater, Williams - Floater, Cobbs - Floater
WR/TE - On the Roster: Greg Camarillo (WR), Ted Ginn Jr. (WR), Davone Bess (WR), Brandon London (WR), Ernest Wilford (WR), Anthony Fasano (TE), David Martin (TE), Joey Haynos (TE).
- At the WR position, we have youth, and no true 'elite' receiver. Camarillo and Bess were incredibly consistent, and Ginn and London are both still developing and learning the position. Wilford is playing golf. The TE's surprised the heck out of me, especially Martin, who couldn't catch a snowflake in a blizzard last season. He really came on this year and proved to be a threat in the passing game. All in all, I don't see much overturning at these two spots, but I do think we'll add a WR through the draft.
- Camarillo - Floater, Ginn Jr. - Floater, Bess - Floater, London - Floater, Wilford - Sinker, Fasano - Floater, Martin - Floater, Haynos - Floater
OL - On the Roster: Samson Satele (C), Al Johnson (C), Justin Smiley (G), Donald Thomas (G), Andy Alleman (G), Ike Ndukwe (G), Shawn Murphy (G), Jake Long (T), Vernon Carey (T), Nate Garner (T), Brandon Frye (T).
- Alot of people here to address. First and foremost, I'm happy with going into next year with the same original starting 5, but a) I'm not sure Carey will be back, and b) we may look for an upgrade at the C spot. Since I believe Carey will be re-signed, and I think we will try to find another center and tackle for depth purposes, some of these guys won't be back. Al Johnson, I think, will be the odd man out if we address the C position. I do think that if Smiley and Thomas are rehabbing well and look to be back at full speed come training camp, than we are good enough at G depth to afford not to add another player there.
- Satele - Floater, Johnson - Sinker, Smiley - Floater, Thomas - Floater, Alleman - Floater, Ndukwe - Floater, Murphy - Floater, Long - Floater, Carey - Floater, Garner - Sinker, Frye - Sinker
DL - On the Roster: Jason Ferguson (NT), Paul Soliai (NT), Vonnie Holliday (DE), Phillip Merling (DE), Kendall Langford (DE), Randy Starks (DE), Lionel Dotson (DE), Rodrique Wright (DE).
- This position was address heavily last offseason, with the additions of Ferguson, Starks, Merling, Langford, and Dotson. Merling and Langford will be starters, and Starks is a very good rotation player. We have to address the NT position because Ferguson is 36, and Soliai, while showing sparks of talent, was in trouble too often and I believe he'll be dumped once we bring in another guy. The DE position is set, and I think Holliday will hang around a little longer.
- Ferguson - Floater, Soliai - Sinker, Holliday - Floater, Merling - Floater, Langford - Floater, Starks - Floater, Dotson - Floater, Wright - Sinker
LB - On the Roster: Channing Crowder (ILB), Akin Ayodele (ILB), Reggie Torbor (ILB), Derek Smith (ILB), Erik Walden (ILB), Joey Porter (OLB), Matt Roth (OLB), Charlie Anderson (OLB), William Kershaw (OLB), Quentin Moses (OLB), Kelvin Smith (OLB).
- Let me get this out of the way: I have a gut feeling that, a) Crowder will take a big payday in FA and leave. b) Porter will be traded while his value is highest. Crowder leaving will complicate things, but guys like Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Karlos Dansby, and Jonathan Vilma could hit the FA market (although most are unlikely). If Porter is traded (just speculation), we could immediately replace him through FA with Peppers, or draft a replacement with our first pick (Cushing, Sintim, Maybin, and Selvie will all likely be in our range). The only thing complicating the Porter trade is the cap hit, so he will probably be back. Walden may also fit in nicely at the ILB spot, he was only a rookie this year.
- Crowder - Sinker, Ayodele - Floater, Torbor - Floater, DSmith - Sinker, Walden - Floater, Porter - Floater, Roth - Floater, Anderson - Floater, Kershaw - Floater, Moses - Sinker, KSmith - Sinker
CB - On the Roster: Will Allen, Andre Goodman, Jason Allen, Nate Jones, Joey Thomas.
- Probably the weakest unit on the team, along with WR, but also one with a smaller importance, comparitively, to the other defensive units. Goodman is a Free Agent, but I believe he'll be back. Will Allen did not look good down the stretch, and Jason Allen is still a project after switching primarily to corner this season. I think this position will be addressed in the draft early, possibly adding a guy like 'Macho' Harris in the early part of round 2. Overall, I think most of these guys will be back and competing through the preseason.
- WAllen - Floater, Goodman - Floater, JAllen - Floater, Jones - Floater, Thomas - Sinker
S - On the Roster: Yeremiah Bell (SS), Courtney Bryan (SS), Renaldo Hill (FS), Tyrone Culver (FS).
- Bell is a Free Agent, and I think we need to re-sign him before he hits the market. Bryan was cut and then brought back later in the year, but I'm not sure if he'll make it through the offseason. Hill is just not that good, but he was the 'QB' of the secondary, and unless we draft a safety early, I see him back in the starting lineup again. Culver was a welcome surprise, making plays when he was in the lineup, and I'd like to see him push for the FS job over Hill. Barring a stud in the draft or an unexpected FA pickup (the 'sign Dawkins' wagon has gained some steam) I don't see much change in the safety position this season.
- Bell - Floater, Bryan - Sinker, Hill - Floater, Culver - Floater
Overall, I don't see the same kind of overhaul taking place this year that we saw last offseason. There's a lot of young players that will continue to develop while contributing on special teams, and while some of the starters will be replaced, they will still be kept on for depth, since that is one of the biggest issues on this team. Depending on what we do in FA, and how the draft plays out, many of the 'Floaters' may end up losing their jobs in camp and getting cut. Post your thoughts below.