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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A look at the Trent Green trade

You guys know how I feel about adding Trent Green. I just don't think renting a 37-year-old player who spent most of last year injured is such a great idea, regardless of his history with Miami's coaches and his desire to be in Miami.

There's a million ways bringing Green to Miami can fail while there is only one way it can succeed -- if he's healthy, rejuvenated and the starter.

Add to those long odds the fact Kansas City is standing firm on a desire to get a second-round pick for Green and the whole deal seems simply ridiculous. It is, in fact, outrageous.

As I've reported, the Dolphins have offered a seventh-round pick for Green and that would be great but the problem is not so much the gulf between Miami's offer and KC's desire but where the teams will eventually agree the compromise point should be.

Remember the Dolphins don't have a fifth round pick this year, thanks to the failed Joey Harrington experiment. Remember their supposed stash of multiple sixth round picks is a mirage because that extra sixth Miami got for Dan Wilkinson cannot be counted on because Big Baby may never show up in Denver.

Add to this the fact the Chiefs want a draft pick in THIS draft for Green and you have something of a dilemma here. Will KC settle for Miami's lone sixth round pick? Would the Dolphins be so stupid as to give up their fourth rounder?

It says here if the teams somehow come to an agreement, the deal will likely be for a low round pick this year and a conditional pick next year, based on how much time Green actually spends under center in 2007. If he's a backup, the Dolphins maybe give up another sixth or seventh next year. If he's Miami's starter, as indications suggest, then the Dolphins give up a fourth or something along those lines.

Either way, the situation isn't as clean as national outlets are suggesting when they report that the deal is practically done. And, of course, there's the added obstacle that the Lions are also interested in Green. They can give up a fifth for him -- ironically, the fifth the Dolphins gave the Lions for Harrington.

There's also the difficult truth that Carl Peterson, KC's president, typically takes trades down to the wire before actually pulling the trigger. Remember how long it took to trade Patrick Surtain to the Chiefs a couple of years back? This thing might not get resolved until just days before the draft.

That would mean Green misses a Dolphins quarterback school and the upcoming mini-camp prior to the draft. And that would only make an unpalatable situation seem more distasteful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trent Green is not the answer

I know that the Kansas City Chiefs have called the Dolphins to offer Trent Green in trade. I know the Dolphins listened and would be interested under the right circumstances, with those circumstances being not giving up a draft pick and a contract that doesn't break the bank, something slightly better than a minimum salary deal.

But that's where I kind of depart from the logic of wanting Trent Green.

I know the Dolphins today do not have a quarterback they are completely confident in as their starter. Daunte Culpepper is the probability, but by all reports, he still is not completely healthy. Cleo Lemon is a possibility but he hasn't exactly proven he's starting caliber material in his three seasons.

So, I guess, that is the reason for liking Green. Sort of.

(Wednesday afternoon update: The Houston Texans have traded for Atlanta quarterback Matt Schaub, meaning incumbant starter David Carr could soon be on the trade block. Here's an idea that was previously visited on this blog: DOLPHINS, GO GET DAVID CARR!!!!)

But here are the reasons for NOT liking Green:

He is coming off his worst season with the Chiefs, an injury-plagued season that is probably still a fog to Green because he missed eight starts with a concussion. Even after the cobwebs cleared he managed only 7 TD passes versus nine interceptions and had a 74.1 rating that was his worst in five years.

The performance was so bad the Chiefs basically have told Green, you can return to KC as a backup, but our commitment is to Damon Huard, a career journeyman, and Brodie Croyle, a guy who has thrown seven NFL passes.

Green still wants to start so he's looking for work elsewhere. It should say something that no one, including the Dolphins, have stepped up and traded for Green. So the guy isn't even worth a seventh-round draft pick?

Even if Green comes as a free agent should the Chiefs release him, how can the Dolphins offer him a chance to start? That offer could send chilling messages to both Culpepper and Lemon and could cause a problem in the locker room.

Do the Dolphins throw all three into a competitive mix? That is a grenade waiting to explode. It didn't work in the Jay Fiedler and A.J. Feeley and Brian Griese days and the odds would be against it working here.

And even if Cam Cameron can soothe everyone's ego, I still come back to the fact Green will be 37 years old in July. So how much gas does the guy have left in the tank?

I know the Dolphins need bodies at the position. But perspective should be kept in that filling the vacancy with an aging guy is a band aid on a footlong gash. The Dolphins aren't going to make a Super Bowl run in 2007 so they should use that year to find a young quarterback in the draft and start polishing him.

The draft screams at the Dolphins to pick a young quarterback, maybe in the second or third round if a worthy first-rounder isn't available, and get the kid ready to make some sort of impact in the years to come.

This coming season, meanwhile, is key for the other quarterbacks on Miami's roster. The Dolphins absolutely must find out if Culpepper is going to be his old self again. If the answer is yes, then everything's great. If not, the Dolphins absolutely must find out if Lemon is the real deal.

The Dolphins need answers to these questions THIS YEAR. And getting those answers does not leave much room for a Trent Green.

That's another reason bringing Green to Miami seems to be a lark that by all logical reason should not fly.

(Wednesday afternoon update: The Texans have acquired Matt Shaub from the Falcons for draft picks. What does this mean for the Dolphins? Well, Houston starter David Carr will be traded in the coming weeks. If I'm the Dolphins I'm all over this situation. David Carr for a first-day pick that isn't a first-rounder? In a heartbeat!!!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hey guys, um, what about the offense?

I did a guest appearance on a local radio show over the weekend and the first question out of the chute was what I thought of Miami's inability to address the offense in free agency.

It is a concern, no doubt about it, but I told the hosts that it is never wise to grade a team on the offseason before the offseason is over.

Having said that, I'm starting to get a little concerned that the Dolphins offense has not upgraded at all in free agency and, in fact, has probably taken a couple of steps backward since the end of the season. This is saying a lot because Miami's offense was ranked No. 20 in the NFL last year and the unit didn't have to take too many steps back to be considered a mediocre major-college offense.

So to recap the offseason for the offense:

Randy McMichael is gone.

Wes Welker is gone.

Joey Harrington is gone.

Guards Seth McKinney, Jeno James, and Bennie Anderson are gone.

Darian Barnes is gone.

On the plus side of the ledger, the Dolphins signed fullback Cory Schlesinger, who obviously helped the Lions to all those wins the past few years, and got a second- and seventh-round pick for Welker, a deal that will stand up despite all the hype you've been hearing about the NFLPA and NFL Management Council looking into the trade.

Anway, those moves don't add up to a net gain. And that still doesn't address the fact that the quarterback situation is in flux, the team has lost two bids to add a receiver when division rival New England signed both Kelly Washington and Donte Stallworth, and there are no proven answers to the left tackle problem in free agency.

So to recap: The Dolphins entered this offseason needing a fix at QB, a speed receiver, a starting left tackle and some cohesion on offense. So far they haven't addressed any of those needs and now have added needs at TE (sorry, but whatshisname they signed isn't the answer), and at guard.

That means the Dolphins offense lacks a speed receiver, lacks a starting left tackle, lacks a proven TE, lacks at least one starting guard, lacks any depth at guard, and lacks a starting quarterback.

Supposing the team utilizes every one of its draft picks on offense, it is still hard to fathom every need being addressed this offseason.

It's been almost three months since the Dolphins played their last game. It's a little more than three months before the team opens training camp. Hope the next three months bring more help for the offense than the last three months.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Quinn to Dolphins now all but dead

I never thought it would happen before, and now I'm certain: Brady Quinn will not be available when Miami picks No. 9 in the draft.

The Dolphins would have to dig deep into their treasure chest of picks or players or both to get high enough to pick Quinn. I don't think that's the strategy these days, so it just isn't going to happen.

The reasons?

Well, look at what has happened in recent days. On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Browns signed Jamal Lewis to become their starting running back next season. That means all the mock drafts that had Adrian Peterson going to Cleveland are now obsolete. The Browns don't need a RB, but guess what?

They very much still need a QB and they have the third pick of the draft.

Other circumstances have changed as well. Remember everyone had LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell going to Oakland with the first pick overall? That was before Russell showed up overweight at last month's scouting combine, causing draftniks to question his commitment.

Russell has lost favor and must wow people at his March 14 workout at LSU to regain it.

Quinn, meanwhile, held his first pro day workout last week. He didn't throw at the combine but he did other things, including pump 225 pounds 24 times, to the awe of everyone watching. The guy is a QB but he was lifting like a linebacker.

Then during his pro day at Notre Dame, Quinn made every throw an NFL quarterback needs to make.

Representatives from all 32 teams were there, most notably the Browns and the Minnesota Vikings (who have the seventh pick). Both teams sent their head coaches and OWNERS to watch the drills.

Quinn completed 60 of 65 passes. "The way I look at it, there were five balls on the ground and one of which I would put on him," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said.

Quinn, criticized for some inaccuracy on deep passes, completed a post in which he threw the ball 70 yards in the air. He threw off three-step, five-step and seven-step drops. He moved around. He basically solidified himself as a Top 5-7 pick, in my opinion.

Slip to the Dolphins at No. 9? I'm told the team would absolutely love that and would take him in a heartbeat.

But it simply won't happen.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chris Chambers to remain with Dolphins

I've been surprised by the venom in the emails I've been getting from fans about the release of some current Dolphins players.

Not because you're upset the team is cutting some vets, but because you're upset at the absence of one player from that list of cuts: Chris Chambers.

Seems Chambers has not endeared himself to the mob with the pitchforks and lanterns, and now, you've made your way up to the castle steps and are demanding his head, too.

Sorry, but it won't happen.

Now before you turn your anger on me, let me say that I understand your frustration with Chambers. He's got a lot of talent. He makes circus catches at times. But he's consistently inconsistent, dropping passes, and even disappearing at crucial times.

I cannot account for the number of dropped passes which last year was pushing double-digits. But, otherwise, Chambers is a solid player who can really be a fine player in the right system with the right QB.

I believe the Dolphins will eventually get to the right system. Mike Mularkey's dumbed-down offense simply didn't work last year and its inability to move Chambers around and make him a focal point of the passing game is one reason the former offensive coordinator has been demoted for the second consecutive year -- from Bills head coach, to Dolphins OC, to Dolphins position coach.

I believe with certainty that Chambers, who is always healthy, who works hard to succeed, who is a good representative of the team off the field, deserves a chance to play in an NFL system that isn't hamstrung by bad quarterbacking or play-calling or, even bad coordinating.

Will he still drop some passes? Probably.

But will he be frustratingly maringalized because other teams roll coverages to him and the Dolphins don't do anything to counter? No.

So Chambers will remain with the Dolphins in 2007, his $7.9 million cap number notwithstanding. The Dolphins probably will adjust that number somehow later this offseason, but it won't be at the end of a shotgun loaded with the threat of taking a pay cut or the door out of Miami.

That's because the Dolphins believe that still largely untapped talent Chambers offers is not worthy of getting cut.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's there to complain about?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I simply LOVE what the Dolphins are doing these days.

Sign Joey Porter to a five-year contract? Yippie! Now the team has a threat opposite and alongside Jason Taylor to attack the quarterback.

Quick, you are an offensive coordinator and your choice is to either double-team Porter or Taylor while single-blocking the other. What do you do? And what do you do when the Dolphins bring both Porter and Taylor from the same side?

Your quarterback is about to have a bad day.

Next move: Get a second- and seventh-round pick for Wes Welker? Are you kidding me, in a heartbeat! Welker came to Miami as an afterthought three years ago and worked his way into mattering. Last year he led the Dolphins with 67 catches.

But is there anyone out there that thinks Welker is a game-changer? There were only two 2006 games in which opposing teams decided to pay special attention to Welker and that was toward the end of the season against the Jets and Patriots.

In those games, Welker had overages rolled to him and the strategy showed his inability to be get open in those situations. He caught one pass in each of those games.

So he is a good No. 3, a reliable return guy and a tough-as-nails competitor. But he's not going to be a talent that will change the outcome of games. Give me two draft picks for him and I'll take my chances.

Next move: Cutting Randy McMichael. This one hurts because the Dolphins simply do not have anyone readily on hand to replace him today. Tim Massaquoi ain't that guy, near as I've seen and David Martin has done nothing to suggest he is either.

But in losing McMichael, the Dolphins also rid themselves of at least 10 dropped passes per year. He had more than that last year and slightly less than that in 2005. Those drive-killing, momentum-killing moments simply weren't worth the $3 million bonus McMichael was due on Wednesday.

I wish the Dolphins and McMichael could have massaged the situation by changing his salary. But agent Drew Rosenhaus was never offered a chance to negotiate a pay-cut and McMichael wouldn't have gone for it if it had been offered anyway. So this one isn't as brilliant as the other two moves, but at least it makes some sense.

One thing I must tell you: The Dolphins are not done.

They will continue to search for a receiver and some OL help in free agency. And they haven't finished trimming fat off the roster. Having seen what just happened to Joey Harrington, Jeno James, Kevin Carter and Randy McMichael, I'd be worried about my future in Miami if my name were Chris Chambers, Olindo Mare, and yes, Daunte Culpepper.

All three have high cap numbers scheduled for 2007 and none really justified those numbers with their performances in 2006.

Friday, March 02, 2007

House cleaning is a good thing!

In case you're not keeping track (ridiculous because all of you are huge Dolphins fans and have no lives) the Dolphins are pretty much clearing the decks this offseason.

Seth McKinney, Kevin Carter, and Bennie Anderson are gone. Before it is over, Jeno James, Dan Wilkinson, Jeff Zgonina, Travares Tillman, Kendyl Jacox, Joey Harrington and a handful of others will be outta here as well.

The team also might not re-sign Darian Barnes, Damion McIntosh, David Bowens, Mike Lehan, Keith Adams, Toniu Fonoti, and Donnie Spragan, and might welcome back Sammy Morris and Travis Minor only at minimum-salary type deals.

With the exception of Bowens, who I think is a good backup, I think Randy Mueller is finally doing what Nick Saban should have done in 2005. He's getting rid of a lot of junk.

He's starting from scratch.

Thank You, Lord.

The brilliance of this roster revamping is so simple it astounds that no one carried it out before. It goes like this: The Dolphins have been awful for some time now. They were 6-10 last year. They haven't made the playoffs since 2001.

So the team needs recycling more than last week's newspaper.

With that coming recycle the Dolphins are about to get younger, they're about to get faster, and they're about to get a different attitude as the old players with the old attitude go someplace else.

Notice it doesn't say here they're about to get better. Fact is, a younger team may very well get worse results on the field next season. But you know what? That's good!

Another 6-10 or worse season will give the Dolphins another top 10 pick next year and higher picks throughout the draft. That will add more youth, and more viable young talent if they do their draft homework. It should also offer a better salary cap situation.

One of Miami's weaknesses for a long time was that it was consistently good. The Dolphins always hovered around 8-8 to 10-6. That kept them from becoming great because the lower picks simply didn't bring the kind of talent Miami needed to reach the next level.

So maybe taking one step back now will mean taking several steps forward in the future. And if it doesn't, what will have the Dolphins have effectively done with this refurbishment project?

They will have trashed a 6-10 team. If you ask me, that's not an altogether bad thing.

Your thoughts?