In case you missed it, the Dolphins cut nine players on Monday. So what might this early offseason roster purging mean?
My first thought was actually how these cuts really highlight the failures of past regimes in Miami, and it's pretty damn frustrating. We got some wasted draft picks in Anthony Alabi and Joe Toledo. We got another lost draft pick, and wasted money, on Trent Green (though we'll get into his potential return in a second). And speaking of wasted money, there's LJ Shelton, who was a rather big disappointment (though he wasn't terrible). And then we got a terrible trade in the Adewale Ogunleye/Marty Booker deal. Yeah, pretty damn frustrating for us Dolphin fans, isn't it?
The good news is this regime doesn't seem like they plan on suffering from the mistakes of past regimes, which could very well mean almost everyone on the roster should be on notice.
Moving on, we need to quickly talk quarterback; and more specifically, Trent Green. Yes, Green was cut. But the Palm Beach Postis reporting that Green's days in Miami might not be over. He was cut because of various bonuses he would have been owed, as well as a rather hefty salary for a QB of his age and injury history. Jim Steiner, Green's agent, said the two sides plan on meeting "very soon" to determine a possible return to Miami for Trent. He also told the PBP this:
Considering the only quarterback on the Dolphins' roster right now is John Beck, bringing back Trent Green, in my view, is a good idea (at a reduced salary). Parcells likes to have veteran QBs on the roster, but the free agents available are less than desirable. And Cleo Lemon, God willing, will not be back in Miami. Considering this, and considering how effective Trent's relationship with Beck was last year, I'm 100% for Green's return. I'd also look for the Dolphins to draft a QB in April, though likely not too early.
Turning our attention to the receiver position, I think Marty Booker's release, though expected by many, really leaves a void in this receiving corps. Now there are no veteran receivers on the roster and are only now 5 receivers on the current roster. Only 3 of those 5 have ever caught a pass in the NFL. And only 1 of these guys have caught a pass prior to the 2007 season. That's a major problem when you consider we are trying to develop an inexperienced QB. I'd look for the Dolphins to address this issue in free agency rather than in the draft. We're all aware of the Keyshawn Johnson rumors that surfaced about a week ago. I'm actually beginning to think that this is now more than likely to happen. And I'm not opposed to it, either. I'd also like to see a guy like Bryant Johnson brought in via free agency. He's a big target whose been overshadowed in Arizona by the two big guys in the desert (Boldin & Fitzgerald). He'd also come cheaper than Bernard Berrian would. Either way, though, the receiver position has become a top priority this offseason with the release of Booker.
Now, the one cut I was surprised to see was LJ Shelton. Sure, he was overpaid. But he was also the only viable option to play the right tackle spot. And he was actually an above average guard when he played that spot in 2006. Personally, I was hoping the Dolphins would get a new tackle and move Shelton inside. Clearly, that wasn't this regime's plan for LJ. When you couple this with the fact that Rex Hadnot, last season's starting RG, is a free agent and, to my knowledge, hasn't been involved in serious contract talks with Miami, we could very well see 3 new starters along the line in 2008. Vernon Carey and Samson Satele will return. But other than that, all bets are off.
I do think that many now believe the Dolphins will go offensive line with one of their first 2 picks. If Miami is unable to trade down, many are going to believe that Jake Long could very well be their guy. If you ask me, I'm all for that. There's also the possibility the Dolphins trade down and still take one of the many tackles that are rated as first round prospects.
The other theory here is that the Dolphins will make a strong push for Cowboys' LT Flozell Adams. He has extensive experience with Tony Sparano and is a top 15 left tackle in this league, but would likely be costly. Also, all indications are that the Cowboys want to re-sign Adams.
One other thing people are talking about following these early cuts is that this roster purging could be a precursor to the release of Zach Thomas. I'm not buying this, however. Sure, he's making a lot and is coming off a serious injury. But he's too good and means too much to this organization to simply treat like trash and cut. And Parcells knows this. Considering indications are that Thomas wants to remain in Miami, I think the two sides would be able to reach an agreement on a renegotiation. I also wouldn't rule out a potential trade, though I'm not sure how much the Dolphins could get in return for Thomas. The bottom line here, though, is that Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano surely know the value of a player like Thomas and I'd be shocked if he was released.
Whatever you all think about these early cuts by Parcells, Ireland, and company, one thing is for sure: this is a new era of Miami Dolphins football. It's an exciting time to be a Dolphins fan. Nobody knows for sure what the future will hold. But I do believe that this franchise is finally in good hands.