The San Francisco 49ers and Alex Boone seem to be getting no closer to a deal that would end the guard's training camp holdout. Recent reports indicated the team had offered Boone a contract that would make him one of the "top 12" paid guards in the league, only to have Boone reject the offer. Shortly thereafter, other reports denied the rejection, but wherever the 49ers and Boone are in their negotiations, Boone still is not in camp, and the team is halfway through their preseason schedule.
A situation like that invites plenty of rumors and speculation, especially for teams that are in need of guard help heading into the regular season, including the Miami Dolphins. According to various reports, there are several teams that could be interested in Boone. Could the Dolphins be one of those teams?
On the surface, the move could make a lot of sense. Miami needs to shore up bad guard play from Saturday night's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a game in which All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on several occassions ran through second-year guard Dallas Thomas like he was not even on the field. Adding Bonoe could immediately shore up the inside potion of the offensive line, adding what may be the missing piece for the Miami offense.
The issue is going to be the asking price. Boone is going to want a lot of money, but the 49ers would likely want even more in terms or trade value. Boone is talented, and young, which would make the 49ers prefer to work out a deal rather than trade him, or make sure they get plenty back in return for him. Would the Dolphins be willing to shell out what could be a high price for a guard, then turn around and pay him a high saalry as well?
Miami currently has $11.9 million in salary cap space this season. Ideally, most of that would be rolled over into next year, to continue to cover the high costs of players like wide receiver Mike Wallace ($12.1 million in 2015), tackle Branden Albert ($10.7 million in 2015), and cornerback Brent Grimes ($10 million in 2015). The team also has to begin planning for the post-rookie contract of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will be able to begin renegotiations after this season, as he enters his fourth year going into 2015, or the team could exercise their team option on his contract, adding a fifth year to his current deal, a year that would cost the Dolphins in the neighborhood of $15 million in 2015.
As the Dolphins get ready for their third preseason game, the "dress rehearsal" contest against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night, there do not seem to be many indications that a trade is coming. Instead, the team is looking at the competition between Shelley Smith, Billy Turner, Daryn Colledge, and Thomas to find the right combination of guards to man the offensive line. The team should also be hoping for a speedy recovery from center Mike Pouncey, who had offseason hip surgery; if Pouncey can return, current starting center Samson Satele could be in consideration for a guard position as well.
A trade for Boone does make some sense, and has to be a consideration of GM Dennis Hickey and Head Coach Joe Philbin, but it may just prove to be too expensive for the team. How the guards look the rest of this week, and this weekend's game, however, could force the team's hand.
In the meantime, the rumors and speculation will continue.