There was once a time when the offseason wasn't dominated by draft rumors. The NFL Draft didn't used to be the only offseason event. If you can remember that far back - about a year ago, to be exact - there was this thing called free agency that used to begin in early March, when teams could actually sign other players to fill their needs.
What a concept, right? Allowing players whose contract expired to shop their services to other teams.
With the damn lockout preventing free agency from beginning, we haven't had the chance to really discuss what players could be of interest to the Dolphins or what players might have interest in coming to Miami. But over the weekend, we got our first taste of what it was like when free agency was open for business - with a top veteran available publicly stating his interest in South Beach.
Top free agent RB interested in Miami
Panthers free agent RB DeAngelo Williams made some waves on Saturday when he went on WQAM with Omar Kelly. Williams, who was down in Miami for a charity event, had an interesting exchange with Omar to begin the interview, which can be heard at WQAM's website.
"It's kind of ironic that I'm here in Miami," said Williams, "because I've heard rumors that I may be at the top of their board this year."
Kelly responded by saying "they're a little bit more than rumors."
Later Williams said Miami "is a place I'd like to live. I hope I'm at the top of their list and they come after me." But he did point out that one of the things he'll be looking for in his new home is how the quarterback position shapes up.
"It’s all going to boil down to quarterbacks," says Williams. "In this league, the running game is all predicated on if you have a quarterback or not. If you don’t have a quarterback, teams stack the box and they force you to do what you do best."
I'm not sure how much we should read into this exchange between Williams and Kelly, though. After all, Williams will eventually be a free agent and it's to his benefit that he gets as many teams as possible to believe he's interested in signing with them. The more interest he and his agent can drum up, the more money he will get paid.
On the other hand, it's interesting to hear DeAngelo talk about having heard "rumors" that he's at the top of Miami's free agency wish list. Why? Because there really haven't been any "rumors" regarding Miami's interest in Williams other than the obvious fact that the Dolphins need running backs. Most of the discussion about Williams coming to the Dolphins has been fan-driven - not media driven.
That just makes me wonder if the Dolphins have been in contact - unofficially, of course - with DeAngelo's representation. It would make sense for the Dolphins to be interested. And in a perfect world, the Dolphins would probably like to pair Williams up in Miami with a rookie running back and use a two-back rotation at the position. Unfortunately, this lockout has prevented the Dolphins from exploring that potential idea. Should the Dolphins go and draft two backs - an early round back and a late round back - you have to figure the team might decide to spend their money elsewhere when free agency finally begins.
But I guess we'll have to wait to have these questions answered.
Report: Henne to remain starting quarterback
There was a lot made of the recent report from NFL.com's Albert Breer that the Dolphins plan to keep Chad Henne as the team's starting quarterback. But if you read the actual report, then you know that this is really much ado about nothing.
"I'm not sure there's a single person in the team's facility in Davie, Fla., who feels nearly as strongly about Chad Henne as they did at this time last year," writes Breer. "But there's some merit to keeping him in place as the team's starting quarterback, which I'm hearing the team will likely do, even if it does select a rookie QB early in the draft."
Does this sound to you like the Dolphins have ruled out selecting a quarterback early in the draft? That's what some seem to be taking away from Breer's report despite the fact that there's no merit to that claim. All Breer is saying is that the coaching staff will likely give Henne one final chance to lock down the job in 2011.
Considering the current situation in the NFL, this isn't a surprise. Teams with stability will be better situated once this lockout finally does end. Henne knows the personnel and will at least have some knowledge of the new offensive playbook. Any rookie selected or veteran signed will have neither.
But don't believe for a minute that this report means the Dolphins are unlikely to select a quarterback during the first two days of the draft.