Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is expected to miss at least three months, and possibly six, after having to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Pouncey was injured during the team's Organized Team Activities this offseason, trying to play through the injury into minicamp.
With Pouncey out, the team will have five new starting offensive linemen when the season opens in September. Who will join Branden Albert, Ja'Wuan James, Dallas Thomas, and Shelley Smith as the early leaders for the top spots on the depth chart? It appears the Dolphins are looking outside the franchise for the answer.
As was reported in multiple media outlets, including here on the Phinsider, the team will host at least four offensive linemen for a workout today. Included in that group are former Dolphins center Samson Satele and guard Daryn Colledge. The other two names expected to come to Miami today have not been disclosed, though the team has traditionally announced free agent visits once they are completed.
As our own KIH004 wrote over the weekend:
Colledge is 32 years old and a veteran player who has been active for every game of his 8 year NFL career after being drafted out of Boise State in the second round by the Green Bay Packers in 2006. He has 124 career starts to his name and while he has mostly started at left guard, he has some starting experience at every position on the offensive line except center, though he has played a handful of snaps at center due to in-game injuries. That type of experience at 4 out of 5 offensive line spots makes him a versatile option, and his 5 years spent with the Green Bay Packers including when Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator means Colledge is well known to the current Dolphins head coach and thus could be expected to adapt to the Dolphins zone-blocking scheme reasonably well.
KIH004 also took a look at Satele:
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.
Obviously, the Dolphins are looking at players who are not likely to come in to the team and suddenly become Pro Bowl players. The team is simply looking for a stop-gap to hold the line until Pouncey is ready to return. The Dolphins could also look at players already on the roster, including Sam Brenner, Nate Garner, Samuel Longo, and Tyler Larsen, to fill in as the starter, with a veteran providing depth.
Whatever the final decision, there is no doubt the Miami offensive line, a unit that allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks last year leading to this season's massive rebuild, too a major hit with the injury to Pouncey. Hopefully, one of the four veterans visiting the team today will be able to at least give the team some flexibility and insurance until the Pro Bowl center is ready to get back on the field.