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End of Week Nuggets: Talking LandShark Stadium and impending free agents

We're now entering the time of the year when the football news is slow and the days go by even slower, or so it seems, until training camp begins.  Sure - there are some OTAs and such, but those don't come close to quenching our football thirst.

But we'll do what we can here to survive.

Let's close out the week with a few short nuggets that are making news.

The Dolphins have a 10:30 am press conference scheduled on Friday for what is believed to be the official announcement of the renaming of Dolphin Stadium.  It will know reportedly be known as LandShark Stadium.  But while the deal is believed to be a one-year deal, it is being reported that the NFL will not allow the name to appear on the stadium for the 2010 Pro Bowl or the 2010 Super Bowl.  Writes Terry Loften of Sports Business Daily, "[The Dolphins] are still looking for a naming-rights sponsor interested in the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl rights, and possibly a longer term beyond that."

You really have to wonder what exactly is the benefit to the Dolphins to have a naming rights deal in place that will last for just one year.  Loften writes that the Dolphins are looking for a long term naming rights partner.  So why did they agree to the partnership with LandShark Lager if, ideally, the Dolphins want a long-term sponsorship in place?  And why in the world would LandShark Lager agree to a one-year deal in which they won't even have the naming rights for the Pro Bowl or Super Bowl?

This whole mess clearly reeks of an attempt to use LandShark as a way to get Jimmy Buffett involved with the Dolphins - possibly as a minority owner.  We know that Stephen Ross has been looking for some minority investors to help offset some of the costs out of his pocket.  And LandShark Lager is, of course, brewed by the Margaritaville Brewing Company - owned by Jimmy Buffett.  This move is also right on par with the owner's idea of making Dolphin games more of a "red carpet event."

Either way, I really don't care too much.  To me, football games are just that - football games.  All of this celebrity, red carpet nonsense just isn't my style and I could really care less.  Though I will admit that having the stadium being renamed in another year will be rather annoying.  Regardless, though, as long as Ross keeps his hands off of the football side of the Dolphins and sticks to the business side, I'll be happy.

And for those interested, you can listen to the press conference at 10:30 on Friday via Buffett's "Radio Margaritaville" - which you can hear on Sirius XM Radio or online at his "Radio Margaritaville" website.  The NFL Network is also scheduled to broadcast the proceedings from the stadium - which includes a performance by Jimmy Buffett.

You can also see what is believed to be the new logo of LandShark Stadium by clicking here.

Thanks to Drew Rosenhaus and his twitter account, we know that two impending 2010 free agents, Matt Roth and Will Allen, both hope to remain in Miami.  Writes Rosenhaus:

Will Allen of the Dolphins is excited to be in the last year of his contract and is hopeful of signing an extension to remain in Miami.

Matt Roth is also in the last year of his contract and would like to sign a long term extension with the Dolphins before the season.

Part of me has to wonder if it's really in his clients' best interest for Rosenhaus to be blabbing these things out to the general public via his twitter account.  But on the other hand, I'm all in favor of it for two reasons - a) we get some news to discuss; and b) this shifts the power in negotiations from the players to the team.  After all, if they really want to be in Miami, the Dolphins could get by offering contracts of lesser value.

But my question is if it is in the Dolphins best interest to re-sign these two before the start of the season.

Will Allen will be 31 years old in August - but has been effective throughout his three seasons in Miami.  But the Dolphins spent two first-day draft picks on cornerbacks - Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.  But I think that both project better to outside corners.  So I think there is some value to retaining Allen for another couple of years.  He still has his speed and is a better fit to cover those slot receivers than either of the two rookies.  And let's be honest - outside of Allen and the two rookies, there really isn't too much to get excited about in terms of depth.

The question with Allen comes down to money.  If he's looking for a deal similar to the one former teammate Andre Goodman got - 5 years, $25 million - then he's bakring up the wrong tree.  But if is willing to take less money to stay in Miami, I'd definitely be in favor of bringing him back.  The way I see it - worse case scenario - Allen fills the role of "nickel corner" for the next 3 years once the rookies take over as full-time starters in a year or so.

Matt Roth is in a different situation.  Re-signing him prior to the start of the season is a bit riskier for a couple of reasons.  One - he'll be entering his second season as an outside linebacker.  That means this is his year to really prove he can be an effective 3-4 'backer.  Signing him to an extension before he proves himself might not be a good idea.  And two - Roth will only be an unrestricted free agent IF the 2010 season has a salary cap.  But if the players and owners do not agree to a new CBA prior to the start of the new "league year" in 2010, Roth will only be a RESTRICTED free agent - meaning the Dolphins could slap a high tender offer on him and keep him fairly cheaply for one more season to see how he pans out as his conversion to linebacker continues.

Perhaps that is the reason why his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has thrown out the idea that Roth is looking to sign a long-term extension prior to the start of the season.  He might get a little less than he would as an unrestricted free agent after the season - assuming he has a good season - but would probably get more money than he would if he struggled in 2009.  It's simply a safer bet for Roth to re-sign before he has to prove himself.  And that's why I don't think the Dolphins will do it.