"I'm going to be with Miami until I feel that the team is in position and Jeff and Tony have enough experience that they can handle it". That is a direct quote from Bill Parcells in regards to his future with the Miami Dolphins. Sure, you will feel better when the 30 day period pass, but I feel comfortable enough to state that I believe Parcells will be with the Dolphins thru the 2009 season. He is fully aware of how much work needs to be done, how much work that needs to be done to keep this building process going forward for a team that finished 11-5, won the AFC East and will face a much more difficult schedule in 2009.
Free Agency is part of the building process that was used so succesfully by Miami last year, as they used this part of the process to turn the roster over that badly needed to be infused with youth and new blood. I expect the formula to be the same as last year as I believe Miami WILL take a run at a big money free agent once again as they did with Calvin Pace in 08, but for the most part will be thrifty and accumulate a number of mid-level, young free agents. Going into free agency this year the Dolphins will go in as the 6th youngest team in the NFL, and by the time this season kicks off you can expect this team to be even younger.
It looks as of right now that Miami is going to make a conserted effort to resign Vernon Carey and this is something that a majority of fans would like to see happen. Even though Vernon struggled somewhat this year, there was constant change at the ORG position and there was never any type of chemistry or continuity developed like on the left side of the offensive line for most of the season with Jake Long and Justin Smiley. Vernon has also showed that he is versatile and has the ability to man the OLT position and play it at a high level. An added plus with Vernon is that he is one of your veteran offensive lineman and he is only 26 years old. The 4 remaining free agents for Miami, Yeremiah Bell, Andre Goodman, Renaldo Hill and Channing Crowder have seen there process of being resigned come along at a slower pace.
A possible big name that could be pursued if he is not franchised is Karlos Dansby, the ILB for the Arizona Cardinals. At 6'4, 250 lbs he has the size the trifecta likes and he has proven to be a playmaker at the position. His career numbers with the Cardinals is 356 solo tackles, 94 assisted tackles, 24.5 sacks and 9 interceptions and 2 which were returned for TD. By comparison, Channing Crowder has 269 solo tackles, 110 assisted tackles, 1.5 sacks and no interceptions. Remeber that Karlos came out a year earlier than Channing, but if you look at the big plays difference, they are staggering. This year Crowder had 113 tackles, 1 forced fumble and no sacks or interceptions. Dansby had 119 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions. Dansby is not only a solid tackler, but he has the ability and has produced big plays, something that Miami has yet to see from Crowder. Also, Dansby is 27 years old.
A couple of interesting free agents that will be available include Jason Brown, the 25 year old OC from the Ravens, 26 year old Chris Canty, the DT/DE from Dallas who Bill Parcells drafted, Bryant McFadden, the 27 year old CB from Pittsburgh and Sean Jones, the 26 year old S with the Cleveland Browns. All of these guys are young, have size and are not considered to be PREMIUM free agents. Keep in mind that Cleveland may franchise Jones, but the rest of the group will likely be on the market.
There will be plenty of free agents that Miami will pursue that some of us are not aware of and I will once again reiterate that Miami will not sign a boat load of high dollar free agents. Let me say that again, Miami will not sign a boat load of high dollar free agents. There will be a group of moderately priced, young free agents that will be bought in to continue to turn this roster over.
Free agency, it is an important part of rebuilding a football team in a rebuilding process like Miami is right now. Used properly like Miami did last year and it can be a benifit. Miami is not at the stage like a Pittsburgh or a Indy, were your roster is stocked with talent to the point were you don't have to use free agency and rely just on the draft. Another year like last year and another solid draft and Miami will be close to getting to that point were they can just mostly rely on the draft.
Until that point, use free agency and use it WISELY.
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