It's been known for a while that the Dolphins are looking to upgrade at the center position. Samson Satele just doesn't have the size and strength to handle the larget nose tackles that he faces regularly - especially against divisional foes.
But now the Miami Herald is reporting something many Dolphin fans had hoped for. The Dolphins are reportedly interested in signing Ravens' free agent center Jason Brown. And Brown is apparently interested in playing in Miami. Says the report:
After the 2007 draft, then-Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller spoke of second-round pick Samson Satele having Pro Bowl potential. But after a postseason analysis, this Dolphins administration has decided it must upgrade at center and has interest in signing Baltimore free agent Jason Brown, according to two people in contact with Miami's front office.
The Dolphins want a center bigger than Satele (295 pounds) and one who will create more of a push on running plays.
The Dolphins are happy with Justin Smiley and like the potential of Donald Thomas at the other guard position. But with both coming off injuries, the Dolphins are expected to add at least one quality guard through the draft, free agency or both. The Dolphins privately have discussed moving Satele to guard, but it's also possible he could be traded.
Brown, 25, has the size the Dolphins prefer (6-3, 320) and is well-regarded. Baltimore wants to keep him, but the Ravens have several key free agents and were not close to re-signing Brown as of Monday evening. Brown likes Miami and will consider an expected Dolphins offer, a friend said.
This is great news, for sure. At just 25 years old, Brown is a player on the rise. And he has a ton of experience - starting 44 games over the past 3 seasons, including all 32 regular season games the past 2 years. He also blocked for the team that ran the ball more than any other team in the NFL in 2008 - and was very effective in doing so.
I specifically made it a point to watch Brown closely during the re-air of the Dolphins/Ravens playoff game on the NFL Network because it was known the Fins might look to upgrade at center. And I was very impressed with both his run blocking and pass blocking. But his ability to shove nose tackle Jason Ferguson off the ball really impressed me.
Brown also has experience playing guard as well. And we know how much this regime values flexibility, especially along the offensive line.
Brown would be a major acquisition and, while he'll be pricey, wouldn't be as costly as other lineman simply because centers don't get paid as much. Jeff Faine is the highest paid center in the NFL. Faine signed a 6 year, $37.5 million deal last offseason with Tampa Bay. Brown would probably cost a little less, perhaps a $34 million deal over 6 years. Not cheap - but probably worth it.