USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 Scouting Combine is here, with the first group of players, offensive linemen, special teamers, and tight ends, reporting today. However, it's the under the table free agent negotiations that are really the impact of the scouting combine.
The NFL kicks off their annual Scouting Combine today, with Groups 1 (Special Teams), 2 (Offensive Linemen), and 3 (Tight Ends) reporting to Indianapolis. Throughout the week, general managers, coaches, and scouts will be watching the players run, jump, catch, block, and, most importantly, talk. Teams will be given the opportunity to meet with draft prospects, trying to gauge the fit between the two sides.
But, more importantly, the combine gives teams a chance to talk to agents about upcoming free agents. Of course, any direct communication would be against NFL rules, but an agent could be hypothetically asked about a 29 year old wide receiver who is hitting the free agent market for the first time in his seven year career. This hypothetical receiver could have, say, over 6,500 yards receiving in his career, with over 50 touchdowns, and a yards per reception average over 15 yards.
How much would a hypothetical deal cost with a player like that?
Sure, all week we are going to be watching to see what Cordarrelle Patterson and Keenan Allen do in their 40 yard dashes. We want to know how high Kenny Vaccaro's vertical leap is. And, suddenly, wing span and hand size will be topics of conversation.
But it's the stories we won't hear, the conversations that "didn't" happen, that may be more important this week. It's those non-meetings that can shape the future of a franchise - especially for a team with as much cap space as the Miami Dolphins are expected to have this year.