According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the Dolphins have shown interest in impending free-agent center Travis Swanson. Swanson, 27, just finished playing out his four-year rookie deal with the Detroit Lions and is set to hit free agency when the new league year begins in March.
Over four years with the Lions, Swanson played in 53 of 64 possible games, starting 42. The young veteran has started every game that he’s appeared in over the past three years, but ended each of the last two seasons on injured reserve with a concussion.
The most head-scratching aspect of this report is the fact that Miami’s front office and coaching staff seem very comfortable with Mike Pouncey as the team’s starting center moving forward. While Pouncey has certainly had his fair share of injury issues over the past few years, especially with regards to his hip, the team captain went the entire 2017 season without missing a start. His play may have dipped slightly since his Pro Bowl days, but there’s little reason to believe he can’t continue to play well with another healthy offseason.
The primary question is whether Pouncey will actually remain healthy. According to some reports, there are doctors who feel that the player who at one time was among the best in the league at his position will never return. There are those who even feel Pouncey’s days as an NFL player are numbered because of his hip issues.
Even though the coaching staff and front office are hoping their team leader will continue to play, it’s possible they are bracing for an unfortunate reality in which the Dolphins must move on without him. Targeting Swanson could be the perfect way to have a quality insurance plan in the event Pouncey goes down mid-season or is forced to retire. Transitioning either player to guard is also an option. Pouncey played the entire 2014 season at guard for the Dolphins and was named to his second Pro Bowl that year.
No matter what the team’s plans are for Swanson or Pouncey, money will be the ultimate factor in deciding whether or not the front office pursues the former in free agency. Swanson is by no means a high profile free agent, but in a league flushed with cap space, the cap-strapped Dolphins can be easily outbid in the team’s efforts to bring him to South Florida.