Could estranged left tackle Jonathan Martin and the Miami Dolphins reconcile some time this offseason? Could Miami's 2012 second round draft pick really be back with the club in 2014 after he left midway through the 2013 season? Could the bullying saga, the Ted Wells report, and a lot of he said/he said in the media be put behind everyone for the goodness of the team?
According to a report from CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora, that could be exactly what the Dolphins are trying to make happen. According to the story, when the Dolphins and Martin's representation met during the NFL Scouting Combine this week, Miami General Manager Dennis Hickey "expressed the desire for the team to keep [Martin]." Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, however, was a little more aggressive with Martin's representation, according to LaCanfora, "staring daggers" at them throughout the meeting and expressing to them after the meeting "that they were the real problem and alluding that Martin's concerns could have been kept more private and handled differently."
Martin's representation told the Dolphins they believe it would be best if he continues his NFL career with another team, and that "he has no intentions of playing" with the Dolphins. Martin's contract has two years remaining on his rookie deal.
Martin was contacted by phone Tuesday, telling the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly, "I really can't comment. I'm just going to let the process take care of itself."
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also commented on the situation Tuesday during a media conference call, saying, "I was precluded from talking to him while the investigation was going on. Now that we've gotten the report, the lawyers are trying to arrange a meeting, which should take place relatively soon, I believe."
"I haven't heard what his feelings are. I've read the report. He wants to talk to me as much as [I want to talk to him]. I'm prepared to listen. When you've dealt with something, it's nice to hear from the person directly."
The real question would be, could Martin and the Miami locker room that was beaten down by the player misconduct allegations, a locker room that vocally supported Richie Incognito throughout the situation, come back together and find success? It seems unlikely, especially with the Dolphins' player rep, long snapper John Denney, opening up this week about the entire drama. Speaking to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, Denney first took on the Ted Wells report, which found Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and guard John Jerry, along with Incognito, had conducted a pattern of harassment toward Martin. "I have a hard time believing that you’re going to pay a guy good money to take his time to do an investigation," Denney stated. "Spend three months on it — all of us can agree he’s not going to walk out of there and address the table and say, ‘I’ve got nothing guys, sorry.’ You’ve got to come up with something. They’re paying good money to come up with something."
When asked if the team could welcome back Martin, and if they blame Martin for the situation, Denney responed, "You answered your own question. You know the answer to that. I’m not answering that question. It’s a little obvious.”
Obviously, there are still more twists and turns in the drama between the Dolphins and Martin. Will he actually return to the team? Could they hold on to his rights, hoping to work out a trade, and potentially fining him if he does not report to mandatory workouts and training camp? Would Miami take the cap hit of nearly $1 million simply so Martin goes away?
Whatever the final decision, the Dolphins will still be looking to address the offensive line this year in free agency and the Draft.