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Monday, February 19, 2007

Leonard Davis worth it in free agency?

Leonard Davis is about to become a very rich young man because he seemingly has it all.

He plays the left tackle position which is highly valued in the NFL. He has started 91 games and stayed healthy since the Cardinals made him the second overall pick in the 2001 draft. And he's the best player available at his position in free agency.

But that doesn't answer this question: Is he worth a huge investment for the Dolphins?

Obviously the Dolphins need a starting caliber LT and Davis would be an upgrade at the position over what has been there the last half-dozen years or so. But that still doesn't answer the question.

That's because Davis will want, and probably get, a contract with $10-$15 million in guaranteed money when free agency opens in a couple of weeks. And that is a lot of cash for someone who was OK but never great in Arizona.

Understand that the Cardinals know Davis better than any other team. They've seen everything from his practice habits to eating habits and have decided they don't want to keep him. Apparently, the Cards decided, Davis isn't worth the investment of tagging as a franchise player.

That's because the guy is not a star and it would cost $11 million in guaranteed salary to tag him.

"When we evaluated Leonard, we certainly see ability and ... improvement, especially as last season went on," new Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a statement. "But when you look at the situation on the whole and take everything into account, we don't feel that the investment that would be required to keep him is equal to the performance."


So if the Cardinals, the team that knows Davis best, the team with plenty of cap room, decided not to invest heavily in Davis, why should the Dolphins? Why should Miami pay more in guarantees than the Cardinals are willing to pay in a franchise tag?

Miami made that kind of mistake on a smaller scale last year -- signing Arizona and Cleveland castoff L.J. Shelton to a tidy deal when, really, no one else was clamoring to get him. Shelton failed to meet expectations at the left tackle position and now is a highly paid guard.

Those who say line coach Hudson Houck would be able to inspire a renaissance in Davis said the same thing about Shelton last year. It could happen, but that is not certain, as the Shelton situation proved. And the Dolphins, with the least cap room of any AFC East team, are in no position to make a huge $10-$15 million gamble.

Nope, the Dolphins have so many other needs that investing soooo much on this one position in free agency doesn't really make a ton of sense. They need a LT, yes, but they need one that is more likely to cause headaches for his opponents than Miami's salary cap.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous Patrick said...

Definitely a stretch for that kind of money. He has really only played 2 seasons at left tackle in the NFL. He started his 1st couple seasons at right guard. He also has been frequently injured. He's a hoss at 6'6" 350+ but he sounds to much like Shelton to me, an underachiever.

I've been looking at Levi Brown from Penn State, but this could be a stretch at #9. According to the reports I've seen there are only 2 LTs that may start as rookies. Brown and Joe Thomas from Wisconsin. Thomas will be gone as early as number 2.

This could be an opportunity to trade back a few slots, pick up a pick or 2 and then draft Brown at 13 or 14 which is where he should go. Just a thought... I think we need to have that anchor we've been missing since Richmond Web.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although we need an upgrade at LT, if you listen to Cam my personal view is he views the center much more valuable. It is my belief he is going after WR FB and then center in that that order. He just hired a good experienced QB coach for Pep.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous finndolphan said...

i have to agree on that one!why haven't we heard anything about anthony alabi at left tackle?saban said last year he was a future starter,and jason taylor commented that he was much better than people thought!i think they have to take quinn if he's there in the draft or take another playmaker on offense if he's not!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...


Fair points but I think it's still about alternatives and evaluations. In other words, you can't look at Davis in isolation of other considerations. The first question is whether the Fins think he can be a real upgrade. If so, and IF they're in a position to restructure a few contracts so that signing Davis doesn't impede their pursuit of other players too much, then it could be a very good move, because the alternatives are very sketchy.

I do think Patrick's point on trading down to pick up Brown is a viable approach as well if their evaluations suggest he'd be a significant upgrade (and likely starter).

If Davis isn't evaluated highly by the Fins, then clearly they should stay away even if he would be an upgrade and see if they can lure Dielman (Guard) from the Chargers, Clements from Buffalo or Adelius Thomas (yes even though he'll be 30)from the Ravens because each of those players has a chance to strongly impact the team.

Armando, there's all this talk about how other teams have more cap room etc., but to me you have to also factor in:

1. the number of their own free agents the team needs to sign
2. the position the Dolphins are in to restructure contracts to create more room if they need it.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Randy said...

It all depends on how much they have to spend. He's not a top tier LT, but sometimes you need to overpay to upgrade. I wouldn't do it, but I understand the Fins looking at their options. I'm not sure that even if we land this guy it's going to make a difference b/c this team is now on at least a 2-3 year upgrade pattern as far as I can tell. We're looking at a new head coach and a new offense to get used to without a starting aging defense that's only going to be older when the offense finally develops in a year or two. A one year turn around is a bit of a stretch, but I'm still optimistic.

Ultimately, I'd rather see the team pick some young, talented players through the draft and build from there than pay big money to an above average player who may be gone when this team is ready to seriously compete anyway.

This is yet another reason I hate Free makes a team consider overpaying for a player b/c they may not have any other choice if they want to compete. Oh well, if only I was one of these millionaire owners who had to struggle with these difficult issues. it must be awfully tough.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Gilbert said...

We need to draft a young stud at tackle and not invest a whole lot of money on a guy that has had a lot of question marks over the course of his career with the Cardinals. If Davis was that good, he would not be available to the Dolphins. We just need to get YOUNGER at the playmaking positions. I like the fact that we can draft Dwayne Jarett or even Brady Quinn.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Afatt said...

Alan, good point on the center position. One need only think about Jim Langer and Dwight Stevenson to see the impact a great center can have on the OL. Both of those 2 guys were the unseen force behind the Dolphin playoff teams of the past.

Since Stevenson went down we have not really had a great center and I think that has had a definite impact. Problem here is there is not a great center available in the draft.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

The question nobody has asked yet that the Cardinals real evaluation?or are they just risking him and stating he is an under achiever hoping no one will try to pick him up and then they can save their franchise tag for someone else? or is he really that non effective and an under achiever?

We need a LT that can keep the QB off his back for 5-7 seconds so the play can develope. Without that it doesn't matter who the QB is because they won't let you complete passes lying in the grass.

I'm not saying he is the one but who is out there? anybody worth cap money? I think we need to restructure the contracts of about 30-40 players because we have plenty of under achievers already so I guess I'm saying it wont't hurt to talk to him but lets dont sell the farm as we have a tendancy to do.

We need someone that might be able to impact RIGHT NOW and not by week 15 or 16. Whether through the draft or FA. I sta in Dolphin Stadium and watched the LT and center yell "lookout" too many times last year.

Unfotunately what a player has done in a different system is usually as poor indicator of their ability as the combine. 2000 combine had 5 wide recievers taken in 1st round. name one besides Plaxico Burris. you need to get them into your own setting and see what they can do.

We need help but we need to be smart

3:51 PM  
Blogger Hank in the 400 said...

I think it's time some of the decisions this team make are the right ones. So many times we buy multi-million dollar bandaids but they can't stop the bleeding. Time, I think, for the GM and coach to take ownwership in the talent choices they make. It is horrible to think your QB will start only because he costs so much and not because he is the best available at the position. How good is the best mediocre player compared to the weakest very good player?

We seem to chew up all of our monies on players that won't.

How does a team with such under achievers have such a problem with the cap? Maybe because we've been under achieving and mis evaluating talent from coaches, front office, to players.

We are honest to God "hoping" to sign players that haven't produced anywhere else and give them big money to come here and be mediocre.

Maybe Wayne is right and it is time to Cowboy up and sit these unsigned draftees for a while and let the players that are there play but for Gods sake lets bring in "players" for a change. We don't need to try to correct all the under achivers in the NFL.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wake up!!! we need a quarterback, if we had a quarterback alot of the other problems would go away. trade up in the draft and get a qb. read this cam.!!!!!!

5:25 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

In my opinion Davis is a great Guard but an average to above average Tackle. The Cards moved him to tackle after he had a few pro-bowl type seasons at guard. Not sure why they ever did that. He is a nasty run blocker, but when he's on an island he doesn't have the speed to dominate an athletic defensive end. I wouldn't take him as a Tackle, we could use that money to make other much needed repairs. (although LT will still be high on the priority list)

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Ken from CT said...

guys, are we debating whether or not to spend 10 Million dollars on a LT from the CARDINALS???? Has anyone watched them play the last 5 years??? What is this world of the Dolphins coming to?? I think they should stay as FAR AWAY from this guy as possible....I'd rather take that $$ and get 2 scrappy/mediocre guys than gamble on a lineman from Phoenix...

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I do not think we need to use a number 1 draft pick as QB. We need to get bigger and faster upfront and at wide out. If you really look at the QB's they actually performed very well. Over halve the interceptions was not the QB's fault. Both QB's Pep and Joey was putting the balls where the WR needed to catch. Our WR's and line is our week link. Upgrade those and we are in the playoffs. Actually even with the sacs Peps rating was a respectable 77. Reduce those sacks by 50% and have our WR’s actually catch just 10% more balls thrown their way and Peps rating would be in the high 90's. That is much more then enough. In fact that’s both Pro bowl season ratings and possible league MVP. If you look at Joey just get 10% more passes caught and his rating would be up in the lower to mid 90's. Either way that is more then good enough to make a runs at the Super bowl. Plus with Peps contract is not really feasible to spend that much money on a QB with other more pressing needs about. Think about it Chamber even with his pro bowl year is always in the top 5 for WR for dropped passes. That just won’t cut it. No matter who is our QB they need more out of the WR and line then what they are getting. Joey was put in their strictly because of his quick release.
Thanks Alan

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Hank in the 400 said...

Draft a QB huh? P Manning would be ineffective if the recievers drop the ball and the line just lets the defense knock him on his ass. Draft 5 QBs and have a contest to see who the startere should be. Then when the recievers drop the balls that are layed in their hands and the QB has a concussion from 7 sacks a game we can just run in another QB because that seems to be the cure all

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Anon, I agree the QB position could be helped greatly by a better OL and some much needed wideouts. But I'm still a little leery of whether Culpepper is capable of reaching the Promised Land.

My concern is that even in his good years in Minnesota Culpepper tailed off at the end of the season and either didn't reach the playoffs or lost early. Was this a product of a predictable offense? Was this the product of the lack of defense? Or was this product of the QB? I think these questions need to be answered before we place our eggs in that one basket.

In light of that and if by chance Quinn falls to number 9 then I think we have to pick him. As Armando pointed out in an earlier blog, the QB position has the most value in the draft and in FA. As Shula used to say, "you can never have enough good QBs or CBS."

Take Matt Schwab for example. Atlanta is looking for 2 numbers 1 picks for him. He's not a known commodity so people are willing to consider ponying up for him. In our case both of our QB have a negative history and the value is not there. By picking up a Quinn you can possibly trade him later on for much more than a single number 9 pick.

A good GM should look toward the future as well as the present when making selections. This way there is latitude for the team to grow by having value on the roster and QB has the most value.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Rand said...

I think a lot of things being said make sense... some of you though I can tell, have little or no actual football experience.. simple as this, QB holds ball too long(pep)= gets sack
QB reads and releases = no sack +catch

the problem with pep is that his second progression has always been his legs. check 1st receiver, not open, run...
A good QB will check 1,2,3,1,then run or something similar. but the good QB has to do his homework and know where the options will be.. pep didn't want to study he wanted to run even though his legs would let him...
It is obvious we need an upgrade at QB we probably won't get one due to the high $$$ wasted on pepper.
Most of the passes looked (to the layman) catchable but were behind routes, under, over etc. the receivers did a good job leaving their routes a lot of the time to make the passes look catchable but really just off target.
If you noticed Harrington was getting plenty of passes off in time and not getting sacked they didn't change the line they just changed QB's and sacks leveled off to a normal amount.
No line can protect a QB forever good teams have smart field generals behind center.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous finndolphan said...

yep our qb's looked like real winners last year that's for sure,put joey and daunte on waivers and they will both likely go unclaimed!if daunte can come back to near 100%(a huge if)he will be average at best just like his last couple of years in minnesota!joey simply can't get it done,he will always throw too many picks and lose games,just like he always has!look at the last four teams standing last year,none of them had an exeptional o-line, studded with high picks!draft a qb qb qb qb qb!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I agree Rand on the read progression. As I have said in this blog before, Culpepper is definitely a one receiver QB. He had the added luxury of having Randy Moss who could out physical defenders for the ball.

Follow a route - tuck and run - throw it up or grabs to Moss. That's what I remember seeing in Culpepper.

The great ones can move with the ball while sensing the rush and still know where their receivers are going to be. Does anyone remember the 45 yard pass from Brady Quinn to Jeff Samardzija with 27 seconds left to beat UCLA?

Quinn has definte potential and passing on him at number 9 would be a mistake.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No they should draft a player or see if they can bring back Damon Macintosh. Is there anyone that would be worth looking at with the number 9 pick? Too bad they don't have a real shot at Joe Thomas.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous don't draft brady quinn said...

i think Leonard Davis is one of the best guards in the NFL. the problem is he wants to play tackle and is definitely an underachiever there. even if the dolphins sign him and move him to guard, they will still be overpaying for him because guards are just not that valuable. i also heard a rumor that they were trying to move up to either 3 or 4 if they did this then it would have to be in order to take Calvin Johnson or Joe Thomas whoever is there don't you think?

4:11 PM  
Anonymous not happy said...

I think our biggest problems is that us and the bills have the tough schedule every year and the jets and pats get the cake walk I mean does anyone actually think the jets were a playoff caliber team last year. Hell they only beat us by 3 points both times we played em and we sucked.

4:19 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

Not Happy...

That doesn't make any sense, at least from the Pats standpoint. The Pats have to play the other AFC division winners year-in and year-out since they keep winning the East. Hence the reason they play the Colts almost every year. The Jets benefited in 2006 from finishing poorly in 2005. So theoretically they had an easier schedule than the Dolphins last year. Next year it will change. The Dolphins will benefit in 2007 for finishing poorly in 2006.

Next year the AFC East teams will play each division opponent twice, the AFC North and the NFC East.

As for the remaining games:

Buffalo: Denver and Jacksonville
Miami: Oakland and Houston
New England: San Diego and Indianapolis
NY Jets: Kansas City and Tennessee

Clearly for finishing last in our division we will benefit next year. The schedules are designed to level the playing field. This is another major factor for the parity that exists in the NFL today.

From an opponents winning % standpoint, it may look like Miami plays tougher opponents than New England. The reason for this is that we cannot play ourselves...Our schedule includes the Pats twice a year @ 12-4, while the Pats get to play the Dolphins 6-10 twice a year. That is why opponents winning % isn't a very useful stat when comparing the best and worst teams in the same division. When looking at schedules within the same division you must look at uncommon opponents.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous David said...

NOOOOOOOOO!!! We don't (meaning us poor season ticket holders who sit right behind the Dolphins bench on the 50 yard line at $100/game) don't want a has been/never was lineman who is overweight + not worthy of the Arizona to be another Shelton, McIntosh, James that keeps us @ $15 million, instead of $30 million under the cap where we could immediately be a player in the free agent/trading picks market. We still need to cut/trade some players to have a chance this year!

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Joseph Stano said...

nydolfan84, i am so sick of here that we don't play ourselves nonsense. it's more than that. Last year we played the Bears in Chicago Colts in Indy and kasas City in Kasas City. The Pats and Jets played the Bears and Colts at home nd the Pats played Denver at home and the Jets played Oakland at home.

6:02 PM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

Kansas City came to Miami, but that is besides the point.

We were second in the division last year so we had to play Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

New England won the division, so they had to play Denver and Cincinnati(other division winners)

The Jets played Oakland and Cleveland, because they finished LAST in the division in 2005. So yes I agree they had the softer schedule, but its because they finished last.

We played the Colts as did the other teams in our division. It's a tough break that we had to play the Bears and Colts on the road, but its far from a conspiracy. You could argue that the NFL did us a favor by scheduling us to play the Colts week 17, a game that before the season started was potentially one the Colts didn't need to win.

ARMANDO PLEASE HELP ME OUT HERE...The schedule makers aren't out to get us.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous tom brady sucks said...

You're right that the schedule makers aren't out to get us. But they do make things easier for the Patriots every year. A couple of years back they won the super bowl and still had arguably the easiest schedule in the division. And if that's not bad enough how about the BS calls they get seemingly every game. Don't say they don't because if you're a Dolphins fan then you can remember how they screwed the Dolphins out of the playoffs 4 years ago in week 17 with some unbelievable BS at the end of the game. It's not just against the Dolphins either if you watched week 1 against the Bills then you will know what i'm talking about and let's face it this stuff happens every year. I think it's the same refs from the Oklahoma Oregon game this past year. Oh yeah this is irrelevant to the topic. Leornard Davis is worth taking a chance on as a guard for a 3 million dollar annual salary. Otherwise I agree that we're better off. And I also heard that the Dolphins were trying to trade up with the Browns or Bucks. If they did that then it should definitely be to get either Thomas or Johnson. Anybody else doesn't seem worth the investment. And finally i think instead of focusing on Leornard Davis, the Dolphins should try to get Eric Steinbach from the Bengals. He is a free agent and is very good at either guard or tackle. max Starx would be nice at tackle through restricted free agency but that whole process is a pain in the ass. Anybody like the idea of just emptying our pockets on jeff Saturday?

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about alibi? the line should be better with berger too. any news on manny wright and what cam plans to do with him now that saban is gone?

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

I don't think the Dolphins need to be making that type of commitment to a guy that has hardly been dominant in Leonard Davis.

I would look at Chris Dielman, the OG from San Diego, Luke Petigout, the OT from the Giants and Donte Stallworth, the WR from Philly. You have got to be smart with your cap money.

I have read some comments about trading down to get picks and getting Levi Brown later, but if you do that I don't think he will be there too much later. If Miami has a choice between Brady Quinn and Brown, take Quinn as he can be the QB of the future.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Gentlemen, the idea that the schedule makers on the Pats and Jets side while slamming the Dolphins and Bills is more than ridiculous.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...


As far as the scheduling thing goes, there are always oddities. For example, the Dolphins had many years of a very early bye and now the last few years the byes have come late. The Colts always seem to have to go to New England. Anyway, computers come up with 99% of the schedules so as you said, it is a silly arguement, just interesting to see the quirks.

The Dolphins have not hadd a solid LT since letting Richmond Webb go in the 90s. That seems to be a position that most teams find through the draft, not free agency. It is such a premium position that great players just do not become free agents, much like the QB position. That being said, it seems like if the Cardinals do not want him, why would the Dolphins? It seems like the Davis dedcision was made by the Denny Green group and has not been changed by Wisenhunt so 2 different groups of talent evaluators have turned their backs on him, I think the Dolphins should do the same unless they can get him at a great price.

7:20 AM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said...

On a year to year basis their does appear to be quirks, but the more years you look at the more it evens out. Next year for example we get to play 4 playoff teams (outside our division) at home Baltimore, Cincy, Dallas, and NY Giants(London)...while the Pats have to go on the road and play those 4. And on top of that the Pats will travel to Indy next year. In fact the only playoff team outside of our division that we have to play on the road is Philadelphia. Looking at the rest of our division, we should have a bit of an advantage.

And don't blame the league for giving us a home game in London, I'm sure it was our owner's idea to give our revenue a jolt. But hey, if that pays the signing bonus of a top-notch free agent then I have no complaints.

8:03 AM  
Blogger NYdolfan84 said... out of Buffalo is that GM Marv Levy says the Bills will use a "cash-to-cap" philosophy. Which means any signing bonus they pay out, they will account for in the current year's cap figure. Just about every team divies up the signing bonus over the duration of the contract. It is essentially a self-imposed cap that they are applying in an effort to become profitable. This can almost assure they will lose Nate Clements, London Fletcher, Chris Kelsay, and any hope of making the playoffs.

8:08 AM  
Blogger DocMac said...

I disagree with your assesment, Miami has created some new wholes on this team by cutting Randy & trading Welker, but by doing so also has added to the Fins by giving Miami much needed cap space & adding to the teams draft selections.
Miami chose not to get in the spending freenzie for those 2nd tier FA offensive lineman, & they cut the dead weight already on their roster, so no step backwards here.
TE/WR: Addition by Subtraction, the team appears to have weakened it self by these moves, but in gained a greater value in draft picks vs the player lost, so to amply replace him. Then by cutting the TE saving the cap space affords team to now use that $ towards a cheaper replacment or an upgrade via draft.
K: Another scenario of getting better by loosing a quality player in Mare, adding Feeley at a cheaper salary & riding team of Mares contract plus a possible draft pick compensation, will sweeten the move even more.
QB: The best move here is no move in FA, add here in the draft no more retread's, plus a draft is more cap friendly vs a high priced FA. Best move would be to move or cut Culpepper his salary is way to high & he's not a good all around QB that can fit into various systems.
RB: With ? marks still around Brown, this is the area team had the greatest chance to get a security blanket in FA with such a large poole of talented RB out there, & little to none in draft. Hope for Ricky.
D as a whole: Youth movement, team has got some young talent on DL that were out last yr & need a shot plus shaving cap space team let go several vets,and trading another for another draft pick. Only way to get better here is time & expereience for some players at key positions CB, DL, & LB.
My conclusion is Miami has become a better franchise, simply by making these long over due changes and going with the youth movement, and the theory of a champion is built thru draft, and they have begun to add picks.

6:16 AM  
Blogger DocMac said...

(My Need's for the Dolphins)
Offensive Linemen
Wide Reciever
Defensive Backs
Quarter Back
Defensive Linemen
(Needs; Compared to Draft Order)
1st rd: #9 WR or QB if avail
2nd rd: sel#1> DB sel#2> OL
3rd rd: OL or QB
4th rd: DL
5th rd: OL ?pik may rtrn to Den
6th rd: WR / RB
7th rd: sel#1> DL sel#2> OL

In reality Miami should use entire draft on the offensive side of the ball, we as fans have said this for years, because that is how bad of shape this unit is in, and doing so they'd have to hit on 4 of the 9 selections to vastly improve the "O". Looking up for sure

6:38 AM  
Anonymous miamitoby (houston) said...

I just read something interesting that really made me think about the Dolphins' off-season. If Matt Schaub can be had for a 2nd or possibly 3rd round pick, and considering we have 2-2's, one high and one low, maybe we could use the high one to pry away Schaub. He's 25, very talented, seems very cerebral-in the Drew Brees mold and could become the centerpiece of the franchise for a decade. I know he comes from a modified West Coast system but Cameron can work with a young guy.

Then we could forget about all those costly trade-up strategies and sit tight, and take the best player available and still fill needs. We could take the PSU offensive tackle in the 1st, use our 2nd from the Pats on the best available DB because this draft is pretty rich with DB talent(6-8 corners and 2-5 safeties with 1st or 2nd round grades) or grab a D-line guy because this draft is loaded there too. Even a quality wideout could be had in any of the first three rounds.

If we're gonna trade up and go all crazy with our pics, we should at least do it for a guy like Calvin Johnson. That kid is spectacular and that was BEFORE the combine and his individual workouts which have been extremely impressive too. Where else can you find a guy that is built like Michael Irvin, has hands like Larry Fitzgerald, and has a head and ego like Marvin Harrison. Oh, and he runs like Darrell Green(not a WR I know but damn he was fast!!).

5:10 PM  

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