Thursday, March 5, 2009

Miami Dolphins' Roster Moves: The Two Sides of the Coin

Though I typically do an article for every roster move complete with extensive background info and analysis, there have simply been too many transactions in the past few weeks to cover all of them in that format.

Instead, I will going to briefly cover each re-signing and free agent signing with a few sentences of analysis. For each, I will cover the advantages of the signing as well as the disadvantages. You could look at this as sort of a cop-out, but the way I see it all moves have two sides and I'm going to examine a little of each.

Covered in this article are the re-signings of Vernon Carey, Channing Crowder and Yeremiah Bell, plus the free-agent signings of Gibril Wilson and Joe Berger.

As for Miami's most recent signing - center Jake Grove - I will cover that move as I normally do transactions with it's own separate article in the near future.

Additionally, I will break down the contracts of Carey, Crowder, Bell and Grove in the coming days like I did with Wilson and Berger.

Vernon Carey

Positives: With changes coming at center and both guards coming off season-ending injuries (plus one of them being unproven as well), it was important for Miami to retain Carey as their starting right tackle opposite Jake Long. The big-bodied Carey is a solid player who is best suited for the right side.

Negatives: In an effort to retain some consistency on the offensive line, the Dolphins significantly overpaid for Carey. A mediocre left tackle and a decent right tackle at best, Carey probably isn't worth the six-year, $42 million contract he received from the Dolphins.

Channing Crowder

Positives: Crowder is a young, talented player who is a sure tackler. He already has plenty of starting experience at a very young age and has plenty of football ahead of him. He's also a terrific leader both in the locker room and on the field, and the rest of the defense benefits from his presence. The Dolphins also locked him up to a relatively inexpensive deal, as I'll examine tomorrow when I break down his contract.

Negatives: While a good tackler, that's about the extent of Crowder's abilities. He's so-so in coverage and lacks play-making ability. He essentially cannot be counted on to record sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles.

Yeremiah Bell

Positives: Quite simply, Bell was the Dolphins' best tackler in 2008. He was always around the ball and could always be counted on to make the key tackle or deliver the big hit. The Dolphins lucked out with his 2007 injury and were able to keep him cheap last year. Fortunately, he proved to the new front office that he was worth a long-term deal and they rewarded him accordingly.

Negatives: While Bell is a great tackler and an excellent hitter, he's not as great in pass coverage and doesn't really record interceptions. He also has some injury problems in his past despite a healthy 2008, so there is some cause for concern given his big four-year deal.

Gibril Wilson

Positives: Wilson brings with him plenty of starting experience at both tackle positions, including a start at free safety for the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. He's a good hitter who is also solid in coverage. While Renaldo Hill was sufficient at free safety in 2008, Wilson is certainly an upgrade and gives the Dolphins a good tandem of safeties for the future.

Negatives: Wilson is a little like Bell in that he's more of a hard hitter than a cover guy, and ideally you'd like to have your safeties complement one another rather than be so similar. The Dolphins also gave Wilson a huge contract despite the fact he was cut by Oakland just one season into an even bigger deal. The Dolphins may be set at safety, but they also have tied up a gigantic amount of money in the position in the over the next few years.

Joe Berger

Positives: Most of Berger's positives come in the form of experience. First, he has played all across the line, from tackle in college to center and guard in the pros. He also has familiarity with the coaching staff from his time in Dallas, where head coach Tony Sparano was his line coach. Berger has the potential to be a quality reserve lineman.

Negatives: It's hard to find a negative when the guy isn't really going to be counted on to do much. Essentially, the guy just isn't starting material and isn't even a lock to make the team as a backup depending on how the rest of the offseason unfolds.