As many of you know, Harvey Fialkov covers the Dolphins for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel - which includes answering fans' questions for his Dolphins Q & A. I recently got the chance to ask him some free agency questions. Among some of the things talked about are what Miami should do with their own free agents and which free agents Harvey feels the Dolphins will make strong plays for.
Below are my questions and Harvey's responses:
Q: First of all, do you know anything about how the turnout has been in and around the Dolphins' facility since the season ended? Are there some players who are getting right back at it and already working out?
A: Coach Tony Sparano told me at the Super Bowl that he was thrilled with the turnout of his players at the facility even though 'voluntary' preseason conditioning doesn't start until March. Even Channing Crowder has been a regular and we all know he's a longshot for returning.
Q: We all know of the Dolphins' own 5 key free agents. What info, if any, do you know about the current status of negotiations - particularly with Vernon Carey, Yeremiah Bell, and Channing Crowder - and which of the "big 5" do you see returning to Miami? And would the Dolphins really consider using the franchise tag on Carey if they can't sign him to a long-term deal by Thursday?
A: I do believe that Andre Goodman and Renaldo Hill will return at a reasonable price because of their age and injury history. I'm hoping they re-sign Bell because to me he and Joey Porter are by far their best playmakers on defense. Sadly, I don't believe that Crowder will be re-signed. His lack of memorable game-changing plays just doesn't add up to the huge contract he is seeking. I believe Carey will get franchised at the last minute.
Q: A lot of Dolphin fans have thrown around some big free agent names they'd like to see in Miami - guys like Julius Peppers or Karlos Dansby or Jason Brown or O.J. Atogwe. Could you see the Dolphins actually being major players in free agency and aggressively going after at least one of the big names out there?
A: They jumped all over Justin Smiley last year and I think they'll do the same for a difference maker like Peppers. I don't see the Cardinals or Panthers letting Dansby or Jordan Gross slip away.
Q: Here's an entirely selfish question, but I have to ask. I, like pretty much everyone, would give my kidney for the Dolphins to go after Nnamdi Asomugha if the Raiders are unable to franchise him due to their current cap situation. Is there any chance that this regime would spend the kind of money it would take to sign Asomugha if he did hit the market? Or would his price tag be too rich for Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland?
A: I don't envision the Trifecta breaking the bank on skill players. It's just not their history. They believe they can find receivers, running backs and defensive backs in rounds 3-7.
Q: Final question: if I asked you to look into your crystal ball, give me two names of free agents who you would predict the Dolphins will either go very hard after or will indeed sign once free agency begins.
A: I just finished a story for the paper on this very subject. I'm feeling they'll go for the second-tier free agents such as Baltimore's Bart Scott, Dallas' Chris Canty or Pittsburgh's Bryant McFadden. They believe that their coaching staff can transform good players into quasi-Pro Bowl players. Does Davone Bess, Patrick Cobbs or Anthony Fasano ring a bell?
I'd like to thank Harvey Fialkov for taking his time to answer these questions. And remember, you can read answers to questions like these, and submit your own, at Harvey's Dolphins Q & A.