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Discussing the Needs: Wide Receiver

We previously looked at the quarterback position.  Now we will look at the receiver position.

Current Players on Roster
Marty Booker
Ted Ginn Jr.
Derek Hagan
Kerry Reed
Chandler Williams

Dolphin Free Agents
Greg Camarillo (exclusive-rights free agent)

Current Situation
The only sure lock to be on the opening day roster for the Miami Dolphins at the WR position is Ted Ginn.  Ginn is coming off his rookie season which, to many, was quite ordinary.  In my opinion, thought, he surpassed expectations.  But we'll get into Ginn a lot more in a future post.  

Marty Booker's future in Miami is very much in doubt despite being the only veteran receiver on the roster.  His 2008 cap number of $5.3 million is rather high for a player of his caliber and he can be cut at no cost to the Dolphins.  Derek Hagan, the next closest thing we have to a veteran, just finished his 2nd season in this league and, in my opinion, is progressing nicely.  In fact, he led all Dolphin receivers in 2007 in catch percentage, catching 50% of his passes.  And that's despite his rather large amount of drops.  But he has been improving his route running and, to me, his 2008 cap number of $622,000 is a very fair price.  He'll likely be given a fair shot in 2008.

Greg Camarillo, the only free agent of this group, is an exclusive rights free agent.  This basically means that the Dolphins have until a certain league-imposed date to make him an offer.  If they do not, he will become an unrestricted free agent.  There is no compensation for losing an ERFA.  The future of Camarillo in Miami is unknown.  He came on rather strong last in the season last year.  At 6'1, he's got good size and seems to run very crisp routes.  He wouldn't cost much at all and could easily grow into a valuable 4th or 5th WR if given the opportunity.

Potential Targets
Here are some of the names we might see the Dolphins look into for WR help:

Chad Johnson - Ever since Peter King mentioned in a MMQB article that Miami would be a good spot for "Ocho Cinco," many Dolphin fans have talked about this.  But recently, the Bengals have come out and claimed Johnson is not on the trading block.  Of course, this could be a ploy by Cincinnati to drive up his price tag, but I'd assume it's very unlikely Johnson ends up in Miami.  After all, Bill Parcells said he doesn't want any "thugs," and I think Johnson could fall into that category.

Roy Williams - I talked last week about how the Lions may dangle Williams in this offseason.  And I stand by my opinion that Williams is well worth giving up whatever it takes to get him, outside of the #1 overall pick.  If they want, for example, a 2nd round pick and Jason Taylor, I'm all for it.  If they want both a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick, I'd do that as well.  He's only 26 and would be exactly what the Dolphins need at the WR position.  Unfortunately, if I had to guess, I'd say this is quite a longshot.

Donte Stallworth - I talked here about how Stallworth could very well be cut by the Patriots after this season.  In a nutshell, he's owed a lot of money and seems to have fallen behind Jabar Gaffney on NE's depth chart.  We all remember that the Dolphins were looking into Stallworth last year, but lost out to the Pats because he wanted to play for a contender.  Good decision by him, I guess.  It's unknown if Parcells and company have any interest in him, but he is a good receiver and would be an upgrade over what we currently have.

Bernard Berrian - Berrian will be a free agent this offseason and many Chicago reporters believe he will not be back in 2008.  He's coming off a solid season in which he caught 71 balls for 951 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Not too shabby considering he had some poor QBs throwing to him.  Berrian is just now entering the prime of his career, turning 27 just last month.  He'll likely be the top free agent WR out there in the eyes of most (unless the Pats let Randy Moss leave without a new contract...doubtful) and, therefore, will have options.  The question will be if the Dolphins feel Berrian is worth what his price might be, which could very well be as high as $8 or $9 million per year.

Bryant Johnson - Johnson has been overshadowed in Arizona thanks to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.  This means Johnsin is expendable and it's believed that Arizona will not make a push to resign him.  He's caught at least 35 balls in each of his 5 seasons.  At 6'3, 216, he's a big, physical receiver who runs good routes and has solid, if unspectacular, hands.  Johnson will likely look to find a new, expanded role in an offense.  If the price is right, I'd be all for going hard after Johnson.

Drew Carter - Carter is a guy whose production has increased in each of his first 3 seasons.  This past year in Carolina, Carter had over 500 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns.  Like Johnson, he's also 6'3 and has been overshadowed early in his career because of his teammates.  He'll probably see interest from several teams as a 3rd receiver.  The question for the Dolphins would be if they think he can become more than that because, quite frankly, we have enough #3 WR type players.

Justin Gage - Gage is a player who, personally, intrigues me.  He's got great size (6'4) and is very athletic.  This past year, in his biggest role yet, he caught 55 passes for 750 yards.  He'll turn 27 later this month and will likely be looked at by many teams if Tennessee doesn't resign him.

Jerry Porter - Porter is an interesting player.  He's got all the physical tools, but for whatever reason, he can't seem to put it all together on the field.  It's believed he wants to test the free agent waters, but some teams might very well shy away from him because of his personality.  Considering his personality, as well as the fact that he'll be 30 before next season, I hope the Dolphins stay away from him.

Draft Prospects - The WR class is deep in 2008's draft despite there not being any real elite prospects.  There could be as many as 10 WRs taken in rounds 1 and 2 come April.  Some of those potential 2nd round targets of the Dolphins might include Early Doucet, Adrian Arrington, Devin Thomas, James Hardy, and Adarius Bowman.  

My Best Guess
It's very early in the offseason, but if I had to make a guess right now, I'd say Marty Booker is gone and Kerry Reed and Chandler Williams end up on the practice squad.  Here's my predicted depth chart for 2008 at WR:

Ted Ginn
Bryant Johnson
Derek Hagan
Greg Camarillo
A late round rookie

As always, let me hear your take on this.  Am I off?  Did I forget a potential "impact" target the Dolphins could go after?  Let me know below...