The Miami Dolphins have spent much of the NFL free agency period addressing their defense, looking to upgrade a unit that under-performed last year. The team added defensive end Mario Williams, they traded for cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso from the Philadelphia Eagles, and they have met with or scheduled meeting with several other defensive players. One player who, though there has been no news of a scheduled meeting as of yet, Miami could have interest in signing is a familiar name: cornerback Nolan Carroll.
Carroll began his career as a fifth round Draft choice for Miami in 2010, spending four seasons with the Dolphins. He played 58 games over that span, starting 26, with five interceptions, 23 passes defensed, one force fumble, three sacks, and 123 tackles. Carroll was also a key special teams player, working as a gunner on punt coverage throughout his time with the Dolphins and a kick returner in 2010.
He signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He appeared in all 16 games for the Eagles in 2014, but only recorded one start. This pas season, Carroll was elevated to the starting role, playing in 11 games before a broken ankle ended his season. He intercepted two passes, with one touchdown, in 2015, along with 10 passes defensed and 55 tackles.
Carroll visited with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, but 97.5FM's Eagles beat reporter Tim McManus reports that there was no contract signed during the visit. He also states that Carroll's two former teams seem to be interested in signing the free agent:
Nolan Carroll's visit to Cowboys didn't end in signing contract, sounds like. Source says Eagles and Dolphins two teams in play.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) March 12, 2016
Could Carroll, who seems to have continued to develop as a cornerback since leaving Miami, be re-united with Maxwell in South Florida? Could the native Floridian return to his home state and the team that drafted him?
SB Nation's Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation, writes of Carroll, "Carroll was a solid starter for the Eagles in 2015. He's not the kind of guy the team should break the bank for, however, which is why Philadelphia is comfortable with letting him test the market."
The article continued, explaining, "A Carroll return to the Eagles would be ideal because Philadelphia needs a new starter now that Byron Maxwell is being traded to Miami."
Obviously, Carroll is now seen as a starting cornerback option, not something that Dolphins fans would have said when he left in 2014.
Just before free agency began earlier this week, Carroll tweeted a picture that could perfectly foreshadow the decision he may have to make this offseason:
Lord knows how much I love football. I can't control the biz aspect,FA biz pic.twitter.com/HkD8ov8CAl— Nolan Carroll (@CarrollCity) March 7, 2016