Justin K. Aller
The NFL Combine puts some of the top prospects for April's Draft on display for coaches, scouts, and general managers. However, it's the free agency rumors and "unofficial" contact between teams and agents that may be the bigger story from the Combine.
The NFL Scouting Combine is about more than just looking at potential draft picks for April's Annual Selection Meeting. Instead, the Combine serves as an unofficial start to free agency, with teams and agents able to have hypothetical negotiations, floating numbers to sign unnamed players, all while avoiding NFL rules violations by talking to a player currently under contract with another team.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport is at the Combine, reporting on the most "buzz-worthy" stories of the day. Yesterday, the Miami Dolphins took the top spot in their search for a "playmaker," with the rumors linking Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace and the Dolphins continuing to grow.
The Miami Dolphins are poised to be big spenders in free agency, with more than $40 million in cap space. Who will they target? Expect a major push for an offensive skill player. In talking with general manager Jeff Ireland, he focused on landing a player who can produce explosive plays. That would seem to indicate their eyes will turn to receiver Mike Wallace. When I mentioned how a player with scheme familiarity could hit the ground running -- like receiver Greg Jennings, who spent time with coach Joe Philbin in Green Bay -- Ireland responded that it could be helpful. (Last year, rookie QB Ryan Tannehill eased his way into the NFL by playing in an offense under his old Texas A&M coach, Mike Sherman.) Early signs point to Wallace being the target, though.
Check out the rest of Rapoport's article for more on the New York Jets trying to trade Darrelle Revis, the Tennessee Titans and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and salary cap casualties from around the league.