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REPORT: Dolphins close to deal with Jake Long (updated)

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NBC Sports' Tom Curran is reporting that a deal is almost in place between the Dolphins and Michigan OT Jake Long.  Curran writes:

The Dolphins flirtations with Michigan tackle Jake Long over the past few weeks have been well-publicized  but this morning, with six days to go before the draft, a league source is indicating that a contract agreement is nearly in place.

Word that Miami initiated talks with Long's agent, Tom Condon, surfaced almost two weeks ago. Condon actually was in South Florida to meet with Dolphins officials. Miami's also made overtures toward Vernon Gholston but little other progress has been mentioned.

We knew this week was going to be interesting, and it's started already.  So far, I haven't found any other source corroborating Curran's report.  However, Peter King, in his article today, writes the following:

So before I give you my first-round picks, understand the following things that I know to be true this morning make this draft hard to predict:

* Miami has a real chance of getting Jake Long signed as the No. 1 pick.

Then later in the article, he adds:

Word on the agent street is that Tom Condon is trying to find a compromise with Bill Parcells so that Jake Long, not defensive end Vernon Gholston, will be the Dolphins' first pick. We've all assumed (me, until now) that Parcells would see the same flash of Lawrence Taylor in Gholston that he saw in DeMarcus Ware. I'm sure he does. But he also sees some of Jumbo Elliott -- his favorite offensive lineman ever -- in Jake Long.

So could a deal indeed be close?  Possibly.  But right now, I'd still take anything you hear with a grain of salt.

One thing you also need to consider, too, is that the Dolphins could have possibly leaked this deal so that another player who was hoping to go first overall (perhaps Chris Long or Vernon Gholston) would pressure his agent to contact the Dolphins and tell them that they would take a lesser deal than Jake to be the first overall pick. And Gholston would be the more likely player to slide if he doesn't go first overall, so he'd be more likely to urge his agent to take a smaller contract than what Jake is close to signing in order to be that #1 pick.

Of course, I'm just throwing out wild theories. It could be that the Dolphins actually want to make Jake Long their #1 pick and all these wild theories and ideas are nothing more than over-thinking by fans and the media.

Update [2008-4-21 16:3:46 by Matty I]: The Palm Beach Post is now also reporting that the Dolphins are indeed close to a deal with Jake Long:

The Dolphins are close enough in pre-draft negotiations with Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long that a finalized contract could be announced any day, an NFL source told The Palm Beach Post today.

The source said "there's a very good chance" Long already will be under contract as the No. 1 pick before the NFL Draft begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The source dismissed prior reports that the Dolphins had issued a deadline for Long to sign so that they could move on to negotiate with other possible candidates if necessary. The source also said the Dolphins have not negotiated with any other players.

The Dolphins declined to comment. A call to Long's agent, Tom Condon, was not immediately returned. Thoughts?

And the plot tickens...[end update]

Update [2008-4-21 17:33:3 by Matty I]: The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington is also backing up the original report by NBC. That article is right here. [end update #2]

Hat tip to Layuma for posting the NBC Sports report as a diary.