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End of Week Nuggets: Talking free agency & the draft

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Lots of stuff going on, so let's get to it.

OFFENSIVE LINE TALK
We talked yesterday about how the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on safety Ken Hamlin.  What this means is that Flozell Adams will hit the market and likely won't return to Dallas.  For a long time, it's been rumored that Adams, with the obvious connection to new Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, will be a top target of the Fins.  And on Thursday, I spoke with two different people (who aren't connected at all) who told me they'd be "shocked" if Adams didn't land in Miami this offseason.  Apparently, Sparano and Adams had a very strong relationship in Dallas.  So we'll see if these two "sources" prove to be reliable once free agency finally starts on February 29.

And speaking of top free agent lineman, Armando Salguero believes that the Dolphins will also go very hard after pro-bowl guard Alan Faneca:

The Dolphins will very likely chase Pittsburgh guard Alan Faneca. Faneca is a Pro Bowl player and a winner. He is also the guy Bill Parcells told the New York Jets they should sign when he talked to that team's braintrust at times during the 2007 season.

Parcells told the Jets that taking Faneca would bring stability to their offensive line and help turn young tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and young center Nick Mangold into better players. So now I think Parcells will take his own advice because the Dolphins need a fine guard to bring stability to their young center Samson Satele and their left tackle (whoever that will be).

So Alan Faneca is on Miami's radar for sure.

But this isn't the only evidence that the Dolphins have Faneca in their sights.  The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the Dolphins haven't expressed any interest in bringing back Rex Hadnot:

Hadnot's agent, Brian Overstreet, told The Palm Beach Post this morning that the Dolphins still haven't called him to express any interest in re-signing the versatile lineman.

"He's a touch perplexed, wondering why they haven't made any contact," Overstreet said. "He's a little bit shocked. We pretty much consider Rex one of the best available guards in the league."

Not chasing Hadnot could suggest the Dolphins have somebody else in mind. The Pittsburgh Steelers have accepted the fact they won't be able to re-sign Alan Faneca, likely the best guard on the market.

Considering the Dolphins have $44 million to spend this offseason, it isn't hard to imagine Miami signing both Adams and Faneca.  As far as Hadnot goes, many Dolphin fans wanted him to remain in Miami.  However, I was told following the season by a "source close to the situation" that Hadnot, despite being a vocal leader, may have also been a disruption in the locker room.  Let's just say he wasn't supportive of some of the young guys on this team, from what I've heard "through the grapevine."  Therefore, I'm not as perplexed or disappointed that Rex likely will not be returning to the Dolphins.

ADAM SCHEFTER WEIGHS IN
On Thursday afternoon's NFL Scouting Combine special, Adam Schefter shared his thoughts on what he thinks the Dolphins might do this offseason.  

First of all, he said that Chris Long is the type of defensive player which can be a building block for any team's defense and that if the Dolphins were making their selection today, Chris Long would be the pick.  He also said that Jason Taylor could be traded this offseason and is "no lock" to be in Miami in 2008.  This furthers the belief that, as of now, Chris Long would be Miami's selection if they can't trade down.

As for John Beck, Schefter said that the QB situation will be this regime's biggest decision.  He stated the obvious, saying if the Dolphins don't feel Beck can be "the guy" in Miami, then Matt Ryan could be the selection at #1.  But he also said that he doesn't think Beck showed enough, or had a fair opportunity, for the team to make a decision on whether or not he is this team's franchise quarterback.

Lastly, Schefter closed this segment by saying this new regime is going to bring to Miami "extreme changes."

FALCONS "IN LOVE" WITH RYAN
As first pointed out in this diary by Neo, Armando Salguero reported today that their are new rumors swirling that claim the Falcons are "so in love" with Matt Ryan that they could swap their draft pick and other considerations to Miami for their #1 overall pick.  Right now, though, we don't know what pick the Falcons will have.  The coin toss to decide picks 3, 4, and 5 will be later on today.  Here's what Armando wrote about this rumor:

The trade with Atlanta nonethelss has merit as I've heard mild rumblings from NFL people that Atlanta badly wants a franchise quarterback and Ryan is the only certain guy at that position in this draft. So if that supposed love by the Falcons is true enough that the they would give up this year's second-round pick and maybe another pick next year, I would say the trade will happen.

I'll be interested in seeing which pick the Falcons end up with when they finally break the tie with the coin toss.  Ideally, if the Falcons can land pick #3, the Dolphins would really benefit.  They could slide down 2 spots, still get one of the top players who also fit a need (Chris Long, Jake Long, Glenn Dorsey, or Sedrick Ellis), and pick up an additional 2nd round pick, plus a little more.  Not too bad, eh?

[editor's note, by Matty I] As first reported by JGray in the comments section, the Falcons have won the coin toss and will pick 3rd. The Raiders have the 4th pick and the Chiefs will pick at #5. [end note]

Of course, the Dolphins still must get the league to believe they hold Matt Ryan in high regards.  With Ryan not throwing in Indy at the Combine, it's going to be harder to drum up interest in him.  If the Dolphins are smart, and they are, they'll make sure they talk with Ryan at the Combine, and do so in a very "public" way so other teams can see.  They'll also have to send a fair amount of team officials to Ryan's pro-day workout.  Then, as the draft nears, they'll also need to engage Ryan's agent in preliminary contract talks.  And if all this works out for Miami and (for once) the "football gods" are smiling on our beloved Fins, the Falcons will be compelled to make the swap with the Dolphins to secure Ryan.

Interesting days and weeks lie ahead for this franchise!!