Keep or Cut? Benny Sapp

"What? Cut me? Really? C'mon man!"

With the need to essentially "manufacture" topics to discuss, I offer you the first installment of a new series. The idea is to just think about which veterans under contract could be let go between now (or rather, once the lockout is over) and the start of the regular season (whenever that may be).

So we'll kick things off a guy who many instantly disliked when the Miami Dolphins traded for him late last August, sending fan favorite Greg Camarillo to Minnesota in return.

Benny Sapp, Cornerback

Why the Dolphins should keep him

Despite coming to Miami and immediately feeling the ire of most fans, Sapp proved to be a valuable to this team in 2010, filling the void that was left at nickelback after the team decided to place Will Allen on Injured Reserve just before the season began. Though Sapp wasn't spectacular by any means, he was effective enough as the veteran slot corner to prevent the Dolphins from having to turn to an inexperienced corner to play the nickel.

Sapp was second on the team last year in interceptions (2) and passes defensed (10).

Sapp is also an effective tackler at corner and isn't afraid to mix it up in run support. He actually tied for first on the team among defensive backs with three tackles for a loss last season while tallying 37 total tackles.

Unless this coaching staff is going to trust the aging and injury prone Will Allen and a group of youngsters to handle the nickel in 2011, it's probably a good idea to keep Sapp around as he enters the final year of his current contract, costing the Dolphins only $1.9 million.

Why the Dolphins should cut him

Let's start with the money. It's not that his contract is particularly bad. But that $1.9 million could be used elsewhere if the Dolphins are willing to trust Will Allen. Allen, of course, is more than capable of handling the position. When healthy, he's been the top corner on the team since he came over from the Giants in 2006.

There's also the future to consider. Nolan Carroll was a training camp standout last year and then flashed at times during his rookie season. The question the coaching staff will have to answer is if Carroll has the hips and quickness to play the nickel or if he's more of a boundary corner. The only way to know for sure, of course, is to get the kid snaps at nickelback - something Sapp's presence would restrict (think the term "progress stopper").

The bottom line will likely come down to roster spots. How many corners will the Dolphins look to keep? Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, and Will Allen are all locks. Carroll is probably another lock. So that leaves Sapp competing with young Nate Ness - who offers position versatility with his experience at safety - and seventh round pick Jimmy Wilson. Wilson is more of a project destined for the practice squad in year one, though his special teams play could steal him a roster spot.

With all of those young guys in the mix, will the coaching staff feel like keeping the above-average at best aging veteran who is owed $1.9 million in '11?

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