The Miami Dolphins and free agent fullback Vonta Leach have been circling each other since the three time All Pro was released by the Baltimore Ravens. Miami wants to upgrade the fullback position, and Leach seems to want to come to Miami. With training camp set to begin this weekend for the Dolphins, talks between the two sides are expected to resume this week. The Dolphins' radio show The Finsiders, hosted by Jesse Agler, tackled the topic yesterday.
Jesse Agler: Jeff Ireland was out of the office last week, so that explains the quietness of last week. He was on vacation, everyone kind of knew that, so you sort of had the indication that conversations are going to restart and resume this week between the Miami Dolphins and Vonta Leach.
It's also been reported that Leach is looking for a two to three year deal. You would figure the Dolphins' offer, if there has been a formal offer extended, is a one year deal. That's just sort of the way they have been handling the veterans. And, for a fullback, you're not entirely sure how this offense is going to use a fullback over the course of the long haul, it would make some sense. But, right now, it sounds like Vonta Leach wants two to three years, and the Dolphins are offering, or discussing, a one year contract. And, now we sort of wait and see how that all shakes out.
We've heard Houston. We've heard Baltimore. We've heard the Giants. All sort of to be interested, also, in Vonta Leach. I imagine if any of those teams had been offering 2-3 years, he would have signed there. So, I think that kind of paints the picture of where we are at with Vonta Leach. None of this, Juice [former Miami wide receiver O.J. McDuffie], is necessarily new information, but maybe this thing picks up again this week.
OJ McDuffie: I think this is going to be a big week. A lot of guys, a lot of teams, a lot of organizations, want to lock in their rosters. They want to get that 90 set up right now, going into this weekend. Some of them don't go for another couple of weeks, though, so they're the ones who have a little more time.
Of course, Jeff [Ireland] being back in the office and getting ready for a big week, I think they would love to get it locked up. But, like we talked about, Vonta, when you have three or four teams looking at you, as they say, you have a little bit of leverage. And, being a veteran, you want to use it as much as possible.
I expect, I hope, for our sake, there's a decision made before this weekend. But, you never know. He's got that type of leverage right now. I've never imagined a fullback being in such demand, John [Congemi].
John Congemi: Vonta Leach is a heck of a football player, and he can do what he does. He moves people against their will in the running game. He's good against pass rushers, good pass blocker. He can do a little bit of everything for you. But, how important is he in the Miami Dolphins' offense in 2013? That's the big question mark right now for this organization.
If they are going to sign him, you'd like to sign him by Sunday so he gets a fresh start, he comes in, learns the offense. But, as you said, there are only two teams in that position that would have to sign him on Sunday to get him in right away with everyone else, and that's us and the Dallas Cowboys. So, there are other teams that are out there, they have the leverage and maybe have the benefit of another four or five days to let this thing go out.
McDuffie: And Jesse, I'll ask you really quick, how much of wanting Vonta so much is about that running back meeting room, having that veteran presence there.
Agler: It's a really, really young group. It's a talented group, it's a group we are excited about, but, what, Daniel Thomas is the veteran guy in that group? And, he's just starting to come into his own as a young veteran. Lamar [Miller]'s a second year player. These are the guys that are going to be carrying the load for the Miami Dolphins coming up.
[Mike] Gillislee is a rookie. Jonas Gray is a first year guy who didn't play last year. Daniel Thomas is the veteran of that room. And, by the way, Daniel Thomas is a really bright, intelligent guy. He's a nice person to have, sort of as the leader in that room, if it turns that way, but he's still a really, really young dude. So, who knows, maybe that is part of it, part of why they want to bring Vonta Leach in.
But, to me, and correct me if I'm wrong guys, if I'm Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin, numbers one, two, and three on reasons why I am trying to sign somebody are football reasons. On field reasons.
Agler: Ok, so hey, it's a bonus that he's a veteran guy, and all that kind of stuff. So, sure, it factors in, I imagine, to the overall decision making process. But, look, if they think that he can help as a football player, that's the main thing.
Kind of an interesting situation there with Vonta Leach. We'll continue to check in every day on the latest Vonta Leach situation.