2012 Free Agency: Miami Dolphins Bolster Defense, Continue to Wait For Peyton Manning

The Miami Dolphins have been busy this offseason, but it has not been the move the fans are awaiting most. Since the new NFL league year started on Tuesday, the Dolphins have rocked the fan base by trading their top wide receiver, brought back the keystone to the defense, and added depth for the secondary. But, the biggest hole, the quarterback position, is still in a holding pattern as Peyton Manning makes up his mind.

The Dolphins started the new league year by trading Pro Bowl MVP Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears. While the trade seemingly came out of no where, it was more the compensation the Dolphins received that really upset fans. Chicago picked up a receiver with five straight 1,000-yard seasons for the price of a 2012 and a 2013 third round draft pick. However, just after the trade was announced, news broke that Marshall could be facing NFL disciplinary action. Marshall was allegedly involved in a fight at a New York City night club, with a woman claiming Marshall punched her in the face, giving her a black eye.


Related: Brandon Marshall Allegedly Punches Woman in New York City

As the Miami fan base seemed to regain some composure and realize that the trade of Marshall may not have been as bad as it first appeared, the team met for five-to-six hours with free agent quarterback, Manning. The 4-time league MVP has been courted by four teams, the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and the Dolphins. While no team has officially been ruled out, the Dolphins appear to be the long shot of the four to get Manning - although the team has not yet given up on the pursuit.

While waiting for Manning, the team has turned its attention to the defense. First, the Dolphins re-signed nose tackle Paul Soliai. The Pro Bowler, who made nearly $12.5 million last year as the Miami franchise player, signed a two-year deal worth about $12 million. It puts Soliai's 2012 cap number at about $4 million, saving space for other moves from Miami this offseason.

Soliai already had a meeting with the Denver Broncos scheduled, with interest from the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers as well.


Related: 2012 NFL Free Agency: Paul Soliai Heading to AFC West?

Miami continued their defensive work with the signing of former Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals cornerback/safety Richard Marshall. Marshall, who has 500 tackles, 17 interceptions, and 7 sacks in his six year career, signed a three year deal with the Dolphins last night. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the deal is for $16 million, with $6 million guaranteed. Marshall will most likely be the Dolphins' nickel cornerback, but could also play free safety.


Related: 2012 NFL Free Agency: Miami Dolphins Sign Richard Marshall

Miami also held visits with right tackle Eric Winston, guard Artis Hicks, and linebacker Jamaal Westerman yesterday.

Meanwhile, the team is still awaiting word from Manning as to his decision. Manning met with Tennessee yesterday, spending most of the day in the Titans' team facility. Manning has, reportedly, flown back to North Carolina, where he's been working out at Duke University, to seclude himself as he makes his choice.

While Manning makes a decision, the Dolphins have begun to turn their attention to free agent quarterback Matt Flynn. Yesterday, reports surfaced that the team was talking with Flynn's agent, and could be preparing an offer for the former Green Bay Packers backup. Flynn has played his entire NFL career under Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin with the Packers, where Philbin was the offensive coordinator.

Today is day three of the NFL's free agency period. The Dolphins are nearing the salary cap, and may need to do some restructuring, cutting, or trading to free up space to continue to work the market. It could be a busy day in South Florida.

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