With Jason Ferguson's sudden retirement this past week, the Dolphins lost a key veteran - both on the field and in the locker room. That got me to thinking: which 30+ year old player is the most valuable to this team?
Of course, the first part of this question requires you to define the term "valuable." What makes this poll interesting is that some people will view "value" simply as on-field production while others will define it as something more. You could think about leadership, for example.
The Dolphins currently six players who are 30 years of age or older. Below are just my quick thoughts on each in terms of their value to this team. Be sure to not only cast your vote but explain why you feel the player you chose is more valuable. Should make for a good discussion.
Chad Pennington, 34 - Pennington returns to Miami despite being a clear back-up to possible franchise quarterback Chad Henne. But he's still a damn good quarterback to have as a fall-back option in case of injury. And his value as a mentor might just be priceless.
Ricky Williams, 33 - Ricky is perhaps the most popular Dolphin on the roster - or very close to it, at least. He's coming off a remarkable 1,000 yard season and will again start the year as one-half of Miami's potentially potent rushing attack - teaming with Ronnie Brown, of course. But does the fact that the Dolphins have Ronnie slightly diminish Ricky's value to this team?
Yeremiah Bell, 32 - Bell was a Pro Bowler last year and returns as the lone starting veteran in Miami's secondary. He has become more of a leader over the past couple of years as well. His value, though, is most easily seen by looking at the lack of depth behind him.
Will Allen, 31 - Allen will be looking to bounce back from a torn ACL and will be in a battle to reclaim his starting job from one of Miami's two second-year cornerbacks. When 100% healthy, Allen is a highly underrated player. But we have no idea how Allen will perform as he comes back from that knee injury.
John Denney, 31 - Denney has been as consistent a long snapper as there is in the league. He recently signed a contract extension with the Dolphins and is one of the very few Dolphins who will face absolutely no competition in camp. But he's "only" a long snapper. Of course, the only time you discuss long snappers is when they screw up. The fact that we never talk about Denney shows his value to this team.
Jake Grove, 30 - Grove had an outstanding start to his Miami career before suffering an injury and being replaced by Joe Berger. Berger wasn't as effective as Grove was, but Jake is far more expensive. With Jake's injury history, it might be hard to see Grove as the "most valuable" older Dolphin.