The Miami Dolphins did a great job of upgrading their roster in free agency and the draft. However, one position that could still use upgrading is inside linebacker. Of course Miami drafted Jordan Tripp, but he isn't expected to compete for a starting position straight away, and may be more suited to the outside linebacker position.
One player still on the market is Jonathan Vilma.
Jonathan Vilma is an instinctive inside linebacker that Miami lack. One of Vilma's biggest strengths is his ability to diagnose plays. As a quarterback on defense, the inside linebacker needs to react to the opposition's formation, and adjust his defense accordingly. This is something Dannell Ellerbe failed to do last year.
Vilma has also made the Pro Bowl in 2006 (coincidentally replacing Zach Thomas) and has a Super Bowl ring. His leadership would be vital in the locker room, and he would command instant respect. How many other leaders are on defense in this football team? Brent Grimes is, but who else?
The last time Vilma was healthy enough to play a full season in the NFL was in 2010 where he made over 100 tackles. Since then, Vilma produced 54 tackles in 2011 and last year only played in one game due to knee injuries. Will Vilma stay healthy in all 16 games in 2014? Doubtful.
There's also the small matter of the Bounty Scandal in 2012 with the New Orleans Saints. Apparently Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to anyone who knocked out Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship game. Since Miami's very own scandal, will Hickey take a chance on a player that has a chequered past?
At 32 years of age, Vilma is clearly past his best, while his body is unlikely to withstand a whole season. But that doesn't mean he can't be a role player on a team. Will that team be the Dolphins? Vilma would undoubtedly bring leadership skills and football intelligence, and it would be a fitting end for the player to finish his career in his hometown of Miami, but it's difficult to see Hickey taking a chance on a player with a chequered past. Miami are clearly trying to build a team of talented and dependable footballers that stay out of trouble. Vilma doesn't fit the blueprint, and is no longer talented enough for the Dolphins to take a chance on. Also, are Miami really ready to give up on Dannell Ellerbe after one season?
Do you think the Miami Dolphins should pursue Jonathan Vilma? Would he be a good addition to the team, or should Miami move on? Let's hear your views!
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.