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Phins debated cutting Incognito BEFORE 2013 season

The Miami Herald's Adam Beasley reports that the Dolphins had reservations about bringing him back for this season

This guy might not have been on the team this year if Dallas Thomas had looked better in preseason
This guy might not have been on the team this year if Dallas Thomas had looked better in preseason

It's been reported previously that barring a sudden, unexpected turnaround in the Jon Martin bullying saga (like Martin withdrawing his complaint against Richie Incognito), Incognito's days with the Miami Dolphin are "done." However, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that the team was considering cutting ties with Incognito before the 2013 season due to concerns about his off-the-field behavior.

As Dolphins right tackle Tyson Clabo admitted in the players' media session 2 days ago, Incognito was known by teammates to drink more alcohol than he should at times, which is one reason why his peers who knew him well are so willing to dismiss Incognito's controversial voicemail as merely a "drunk dial" gone wrong. The other interesting revelations from Beasley's article are that the Dolphins knew of Incognito's involvement in an offseason fight involving a nightclub bouncer (initially and incorrectly reported by ESPN as an instigator but later confirmed to be playing peacemaker) as well as the allegations by a female charity volunteer that Incognito harassed her at a Dolphins charity event. Beasley's report claims the Dolphins' patience with Incognito being mentioned in local police reports was wearing thin, but the team decided to keep him due to a lack of viable alternatives on offensive line.

I believe the takeaways from this report, if true, are that, first, Incognito probably didn't know how close he was to being cut due to off the field concerns, otherwise he wouldn't have allegedly held offensive line meetings at strip clubs.

Second, while weighing whether or not to cut Incognito, there was apparently no knowledge of any alleged bullying, so other than an erroneous ProFootball Talk report that has since been corrected, there have been no reports that the front office knew that Martin felt like he was being bullied until after he went AWOL.

Third, this does explain the decision to draft an LG prospect like Dallas Thomas in the third round of the 2013 draft. Right after drafting Thomas, who played okay at left tackle but very well at left guard in college, both Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin said they envisioned him playing on "the left side." Many fans were left wondering why they would say that, with Jonathan Martin being the presumptive starter at left tackle and Richie Incognito being the presumptive starter at left guard. Both players were more experienced and arguably more talented, so why use a third round pick on an offensive linemen you want to play on the left side who has little to no chance of starting as a rookie? At the time, there were bigger concerns at right guard (due to John Jerry's unreliability and Lance Louis' recent knee injury) and especially right tackle (Clabo wasn't signed until after the draft).

Well, if the team was hoping to move on from Incognito early, not due to lack of skill but rather due to his behavior, it would make sense to draft a guy who many thought could start at left guard as a rookie. Unfortunately, Thomas' shoulder injury held him out for OTAs and minicamp, and once cleared to practice, he struggled in training camp and in practices so far this regular season. It's telling that Thomas has been inactive even as concerns have popped up about offensive tackle (due to Clabo strugging and Martin first struggling then going AWOL) and left guard (due Incognito being suspended).

Long story short, if this report is true, Incognito was on thin ice prior to this season. The Dolphins will likely have an opening at left guard at the end of this season that will be addressed in the draft or free agency unless Dallas Thomas gains the confidence of our coaching staff.