Another week begins as we inch closer to the NFL Draft. But this past weekend was far more quiet than last weekend - when the Dolphins were wrapping up the signing of Karlos Dansby and the Ryan Clark saga was beginning to play out. But there's still a couple of things to talk about.
Dolphins to host "dirty" free agent lineman on Monday
While the Dolphins haven't hosted any free agents in days, they have generated quite a stir with the report that free agent guard Richie Incognito will be visiting the Dolphins on Monday. The 26 year old Incognito is a guy who has the talent and the measurables that this regime likes (6'3, 320). He also plays with the "mean streak" that Tony Sparano likes to see out of his offensive linemen.
However, it's that same "mean streak" that is creating the stir - and is why Incognito remains jobless to begin with. Why else would a physical, talented, young offensive lineman who has started every game (47) that he's played in still be on the market? Well it's simple - he's widely regarded as one of the dirtiest players in the league - finishing seventh in a Sports Illustrated poll of players and first in a Sporting News poll of players.
But it's not just these polls that have given Incognito such a bad name. The Rams released their former third round pick last season after committing two personal fouls in a single game (head-butting an opposing player) and then getting into a heated argument with their head coach. He was also fined $50,000 for his actions in that game and has a grand total of nearly $100,000 in league fines for dirty plays on the field.
With all that said, it's easy to see why the Dolphins have an interest in Richie. He plays hard - you can't argue that. He's versatile as well, having started at three different positions while in St. Louis. But what about Incognito's reputation?
"You can call me what you want. I’m a hard-nosed football player. I bring my ‘A’ game every Sunday," said Incognito to a Buffalo newspaper last year. Well you can't argue that.
Perhaps it's Rams GM Billy Devaney who sums up Richie best, saying, "There is the 90 to 95 percent of Richie that is outstanding. It’s the other 5 or 10 when the dark Richie kicks in and it becomes a problem."
So would he be worth the risk to the Dolphins? I think so. He'll be inexpensive. He'll work very hard. He'll likely come to Miami with a chip on his shoulder. And I think that the Dolphins have the kind of veteran leadership along the offensive line that can keep Incognito in line on the field.
Stupid personal fouls can kill drives. And the Dolphins aren't exactly an explosive offensive football team that can afford those kinds of mistakes. So there's some risk involved, for sure. But guys like Justin Smiley and Jake Grove, I believe, will be able to work with Incognito and help him mature.
Signing him would also eliminate a position the Dolphins need to address in the draft. Offensive line depth is something you can never have enough of and I did expect to see at least one interior lineman drafted at some point by the Dolphins. But bringing in Incognito and letting him battle with Donald Thomas and Nate Garner would allow the Dolphins to focus on their more pressing needs next month.
Will it be difficult to root for someone who can act like a turd on the field at a moment's notice? Without a doubt. But there's a lot of "cheap upside" that would make this move a low-risk, high-reward signing - assuming Monday's visit goes well. Of course, if Incognito head-butts Bill Parcells because he's unhappy with the pudding selection at the team's facility, this whole debate will be moot.
What Quinn's trade to Denver might mean to Dolphins
As I'm sure you all heard, the Browns traded QB Brady Quinn to the Broncos for RB Peyton Hillis and some throw-in draft picks. Other than the obvious link between the Dolphins and Quinn and what might have been (but as it turns out, neither Quinn or Ted Ginn were worthy of a top 10 pick that year), this move could benefit the Dolphins on draft day.
There's a growing belief now that Cleveland will be looking to get into the quarterback derby in next month's draft. They have Jake Delhomme now but they have no real long-term answer. Mike Holmgren should be looking to find his quarterback and the two top quarterbacks in this year's draft - Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen - will likely be on Cleveland's radar. Many mock drafts were predicting Cleveland to take a defensive player with their seventh overall pick.
But if the Browns do land a quarterback - whether by trading up or with the number seven pick - that would mean a potential Dolphins target could fall, creating a domino effect and potentially resulting in a top 10 pick falling to number twelve.