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Miami Dolphins Answer at Defensive End? May not be Robert Mathis, Cliff Avril, or a draft pick

There is one man out there that nobody has discussed for the Miami Dolphins defensive end position. The man is better than any draft prospect such as Quinton Coples or Marvin Ingram. He's a better DE than Robert Mathis and Cliff Avril. The only player that surpasses him in ability is Mario Williams. He has played all over the line and he could probably even handle pass rushing duties in some 3-4 alignments. He has had three seasons in which he has had over 10 sacks. The best part is Miami could get this man and then still draft a solid prospect with the #8 or #9 pick. They could address a position such as RT, RG, WR, TE, or FS with the pick and create the best pass rushing duo they've had since Jason Taylor and Adewale Ogunleye.

So who is this man that I am speaking so high of? Well, he happens to be Osi Umenyiora. I know what you're about to say. Yes, I realize Osi is not a free agent this year and is under contract with the Giants. Why would I think Miami could get him? Well, because he's been at odds with the Giants front office for a few years now as he's been trying to get a new contract. The G-Men gave Osi permission to seek a trade prior to the 2011 season, but they ultimately did not move him. With Jason Pierre-Paul's emergence at one end and having Justin Tuck on the other, the timing would be right for the Giants to move him. Osi is in his final year of the contract and it's unlikely he'd return to New York in 2013. They are over the salary cap and moving him would help free space and net them a draft pick(s) in return. Naturally, there are some reasons not to jump on this thought.

While many would advocate the signing of Robert Mathis, an aging vet at age 31, some may not be so quick to pull the trigger on Umenyiora, who will be 31 in November. Why not? Well, Miami wouldn't have to surrender a draft pick for Mathis. On top of that, Umenyiora and his new team would almost assuredly agree to a new contract prior to any trade agreement. Osi would be more expensive than Mathis and Cliff Avril.

Draft pick compensation will probably be the overriding factor in whether or not they would like to see Umenyiora in Miami. The Dolphins obviously would not have to surrender their first round pick, but it is possible they may have to surrender their second round pick. The price would be determined on the market for Umenyiora, but personally, I feel this is a buyer's market. For those wanting to make the big splash, Williams will be their target. Clubs will also be taking long looks at Mathis and Avril, assuming he doesn't receive the franchise tag. There are other quality options as well such as Mark Anderson and Matt Roth. Teams can even try reclamation projects such as Jamaal Anderson and Derrick Harvey. With two very good targets in Williams and Mathis along with a potential third target in Avril, the Giants won't be able to hold much leverage over other teams, especially when the rest of the NFL knows New York needs to clear cap space and doesn't have a big need for Umenyiora on their team. While a second round pick is definitely a possibility, the Dolphins may have a longshot of trying to acquire Umenyiora for a third round pick and may have to throw in another late round pick or future pick as well. Does Umenyiora become more enticing if he comes with a 3rd round pick? For many, absolutely.

The two other factors playing against Osi are age and money. He will be 31 this November and probably has 3 or 4 years of very good production left in him. That makes such a move a little questionable. For a high pick, that may be too little gas left in his tank. For a middle rounder, it should at least cause the front office to think long and hard. Money will also be a huge factor as it is very possible he could sign a deal ranging between 3 and 5 years for an average of $10-$12 mil per season. Generally, that would be worth it for a top DE. Unfortunately, it's for a top DE that doesn't have many years left and the price would only be in addition to compensation paid to New York. Still, it could be possible a trading partner could get a bit of a discount because it is a buyer's market and it's likely Umenyiora and his agent would rather take $8 mil per season now than finish the year out at $4 mil. They may realize that in 2013, the market for a 31 year-old DE may not be as high as they hope.

Now don't take this as I am asking Miami to go all in for Umenyiora. While I would love to see him play opposite of Cameron Wake, I am hesitant to pay such a price. A first round pick is out of the question and I'd have serious hesitations about a second round pick. I may be a little more comfortable if they gave us a pick in return, but I don't know. Now when you start talking about a third round pick, my interest would go up a considerable amount.

What do you think about Miami going after Osi Umenyiora?