Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dolphins release CB Eric Green

Just two days after a constant torching by Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Troy Williamson, the Miami Dolphins have released cornerback Eric Green. The team had signed the former Arizona Cardinals defensive back to a two-year, $6 million contact on March 12.

Background

A Florida native, Green played college football for the Virginia Tech Hokies. He earned second-team Freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News in 2002.

Green was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round (75th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played in 12 games as a rookie (starting five) and recorded 41 tackles and an interception.

Green appeared in 39 games for the Cardinals over the following three seasons, racking up 117 tackles, 26 pass deflections and an interception. He became an unrestricted free agent following the 2009 offseason.

The Miami Dolphins signed Green to a two-year, $6 million contract in the 2009 offseason in an effort to replace former starting cornerback Andre' Goodman, who left for the Denver Broncos in free agency.

Though initially projected as a starter at cornerback opposite veteran Will Allen, Green's value decreased after the Dolphins selected corners Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in the 2009 NFL Draft's first two rounds

Green had reportedly struggled in training camp and eventually lost the first-team job to the rookie Smith. He also had a poor showing in the team's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 17, which proved to be the last straw for the Dolphins.

Green's departure leaves the Dolphins with seven cornerbacks fighting for five spots. Following his release from the Dolphins, Green headed back to the NFC West by signing with the San Francisco 49ers.

Analysis

Boy am I glad I posted my Dolphins-Jaguars game observations when I did! Following Green's horrendous performance against Jacksonville, I stated my belief that Green was close to being released. I didn't expect the move to come this soon, but it's not surprising to see it happen.

There's no real loss here because Green's wasn't playing well enough to make positive contributions anyway. Sean Smith is looking better and better by the day, while Vontae Davis should be as suitable backup as a rookie and Nathan Jones has already proved himself a good dime back and pass rusher out of the secondary.

The biggest beneficiary from the Green release is Jason Allen. The 2006 first-rounder has largely been a disappointment since entering the league, and I'm not convinced he'll ever be a productive player on defense.

That being said, Allen has turned into a quality special teams player, and that should be enough to keep him on the roster as the fifth cornerback. He'll have to fend off Joey Thomas and Will Billingsley, though I'd given Allen the edge right now. He likely won't see much time on defense with four corners ahead of him and Tyrone Culver proving to be a good dime/quarter player last season.