Early Saturday, news broke from two different sources that the Miami Dolphins had decided to bring in veteran free agent offensive lineman Daryn Colledge in for a visit on Monday. Given that the Dolphins had offered a contract to every veteran free agent that had visited the team under new General Manager Dennis Hickey, from D'Qwell Jackson to Cortland Finnegan, it seemed that with apparently only Colledge being brought in for a visit that an offer for him was very likely.
However, late last night, a member of the Dolphins organization reached out to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald to tell him that the team was in fact bringing in four veteran offensive linemen to visit on Monday, not just Colledge. The source confirmed Colledge was coming in for a visit and chose not to reveal the names of 2 of the players, but admitted that the fourth visitor on Monday was former Dolphin center Samson Satele.
Colledge's background was described in a previous article, but Satele is a new name to be linked to the current Dolphins regime. Satele was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft using the pick the Dolphins acquired in the Wes Welker trade to the New England Patriots. However, the Dolphins as a whole had a not so great season in 2007, to put it mildly, and a new regime was hired for the 2008 season. Satele struggled at times as a sophomore, and given that the new regime wasn't responsible for drafting him, they were comfortable with giving up on him in exchange for a 6th round pick from the Oakland Raiders in the 2009 NFL draft (that later became former backup OL Andrew Gardner) and for a swap of fourth round picks (that later became current starting WR Brian Hartline).
In Oakland, Satele showed some improvement and had his best season in 2011, when he was rated as slightly above average by Pro Football Focus (PFF). Satele then left Oakland in free agency after his career-best season to join the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 after the Colts decided to move on from longtime former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday. The Colts signed Satele to a 3-year deal worth $10.8 million, hoping the veteran center could help rookie quarterback Andrew Luck's transition to the NFL while still being young enough at age 27 to potentially play with Luck for several years.
Unfortunately, as a member of the Colts, Satele played poorly, consistently ranking among the worst at his position by PFF's metrics the past 2 seasons, and he has struggled with injuries, missing 8 games over the past 2 seasons. Unsurprisingly, the Colts decided to cut Satele in the 2014 offseason rather than keep him for the final year of his deal, and the Colts have not made any attempt to bring him back even at a reduced salary.
Like I wrote in the article about Daryn Colledge, if an NFL player is unemployed in late June, he's probably not great.
The advantages of Satele are that he's been viewed as a better fit for the zone blocking scheme rather than the man-blocking/"power" scheme that he's been asked to play in for several years in his career, and if he's healthy, he could be poised for a bounceback year in 2014 as part of the Dolphins zone-blocking scheme. He's a veteran with 98 NFL starts at center, which is the position the Dolphins are currently thinnest at, and before his injury-riddled seasons the past 2 years, he had developed into a consistently average center.
The disadvantages are that he has played quite poorly the past 2 years, and the fact that the Colts haven't brought him back even at a reduced contract, instead preferring to cut him outright and move on, is a sign that his former team was skeptical about his chances of having a bounceback year.
So Daryn Colledge is more versatile, more durable, and has played under Philbin while a member of the Packers. Meanwhile, Satele's big advantage is that he's very experienced at center, while Colledge has never started a game at that position - he's only filled in for a few snaps at center when his team's starting center has been injured.