All of the talk as of late has been surrounding Joey Porter, and Ronnie Brown.
So far this off-season, the focus has been around re-signing players, and which Dolphins will get the axe. All of the draft speculation and free-agent buzz has been put on the back-burner for now.
But with the Dolphins trying (and failing) to release Porter, my focus instantly went to who would fill his place? Would it be Jason Taylor? Cameron Wake? The answer could be either one of those guys. Personally, I think JT will come back for one more go around, and reclaim the position, ( weak-side linebacker) that was really his rightful position all along.
We knew that the Trifecta was going to have to pick between Porter and Taylor, we just did not know (until this week) who it would be.
While JT is not quite a guarantee to return to the Dolphins for one more year, Porter is long gone come March 5th, when the New Year for the NFL, kicks into effect.
With Porter gone, this opens up the door for Taylor to re-sign with the Dolphins, and play his natural position. Taylor can now be free to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lineman, from a linebacker position, or the three-point stance, on the defensive line.
The Dolphins tried this with Taylor once before, and it worked to perfection. Back in 2006, with Dom Capers as the defensive coordinator, Taylor played the “jack” position, which was a specially named position for the type of player that Taylor is, someone who can play both outside linebacker, and defensive end.
Taylor won the Defensive Player of the Year Award that year, and while he is getting up there in age (36), he is looking to add to his defensive awards as well.
Despite the potential re-signing of JT, the key to the off-season will be who exactly fills Porter’s empty roster spot, and which linebacker position the Dolphins will address with the extra roster spot.
A potential free agent signee, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, has expressed his interest in coming down to Miami, and working for Stephen Ross for a living.
Dansby would fill the empty playmaker role that the Dolphins lacked last year. He would also fill a need, as the Dolphins are looking to add an inside linebacker in this years off-season, whether through the draft, or free agency.
Another potential prospect that the Dolphins are looking into is Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain also would play inside linebacker, and would require the Dolphins selecting him with their 12th overall pick if they wish to acquire him.
But the Dolphins also have other needs that they need solid, or even superstar players to fill. Wide receiver, free safety, defensive tackle, and even a homerun threat at the running back position.
So using that crucial 1st round selection, has to be made on the right player, has to be used to solidify the correct position. The Dolphins can make things a lot easier on themselves if they were to fill some of those voids before the draft were to start.
Dansby just so happens to play at one of the positions that the Dolphins are looking to fill this off-season. Signing Dansby would be a dream come true, for fans, Dansby himself, and the Dolphins. Dansby is highly thought of all around the league as one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Having him on the team would not only solidify the position, it would give the Dolphins the much needed star power that they are lacking.
Signing Dansby may impact the draft, and what the Dolphins do with their picks, more than anything though.
Signing a linebacker through free agency not only allows the Dolphins to use their 1st round pick elsewhere, but it also leaves them the choice of trading back in the draft as well, and garnering more draft picks, to fill more voids.
For instance, the Dolphins could use their 3rd round pick on trading for Anquan Boldin, who they are reportedly pursuing in trade talks. That would free the Dolphins to trade back in the draft, and select either Dan Williams, a defensive tackle,or Sean Weatherspoon, another linebacker. Some other potential candidates for the Dolphins in the first round are Sergio Kindle, and C.J. Spiller.
If the above were to happen, signing Dansby, trading the 3rd rounder for Boldin, and selecting either Williams, Weatherspoon, or Spiller, the Dolphins could then answer the free safety void in the 2nd round, or defensive tackle depending on who they select. Potential candidates for the 2nd round are free safety Taylor Mays, Terrence Cody, Brandon Spikes, and Jerry Hughes.
All of these scenarios are made possible because of one signing through free agency.
One signing is all that it will take for the Dolphins to have an effective off-season. the impact that Karlos Dansby will have on the Dolphins, both on and off the field, is mind boggling. This man can actually impact who the Dolphins pick in the draft! This man can actually impact a teams draft strategy! That is something that no Dolphins off-season acquisition has ever done before.
With the Dolphins on the fence as of now on which position they are going to address, the signing of Dansby could push the Fins to drafting a receiver ( Dez Bryant), if needed, or one of the aforementioned players above.
In my mind right now, the perfect off-season for the Dolphins would be this scenario right here:
Karlos Dansby, ILB
Anthony Fasano, TE ( He will most likely escape to free agency, so this does not really count as a resignation.)
3rd and 6th rounder for Anquan Boldin
Tyler Thigpen for 5th round pick
Nose Tackle: Dan Williams (trade down in first round)
Outside linebacker: Jerry Hughes (2nd round)
Free safety: Taylor Mays (2nd round), or Myron Rolle (5th round)
Tight end: Jimmy Graham (4th round)
Also, I would love if the Dolphins would make a move for Dexter McCluster, the explosive running back from Ole Miss.
The impact that one signing can have on the Dolphins off-season is amazing. Heck, if the Dolphins are active in the trade market, and play their cards right through the draft, and everything falls into place, the Dolphins could be poised to make a Super Bowl run, and re-capture the AFC Beast title once again.