Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dolphins release three veterans; other news and notes

I'll have articles analyzing the Karlos Dansby and Chad Pennington signings up later today, but for now, here is an article on the other Miami Dolphins-related happenings of the first day of free agency in 2010.

The Dolphins parted ways with three veterans today, facilitated by the absence of a salary cap in the new league year. Having their contracts terminated were linebacker Akin Ayodele, linebacker Joey Porter, and safety Gibril Wilson.

Acquired from the Dallas Cowboys along with Anthony Fasano in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ayodele spent the past two seasons as the Dolphins as the starting "ted" linebacker inside.

Ayodele was average at best and mediocre at worst, averaging 73 tackles in two seasons while recording two interceptions and a forced fumble in that span. His tackling was solid, but he was an extreme liability in coverage in 2009.

Signed to a five-year, $32 million contract by the Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller-led Dolphins in 2007, Porter had a career year under Tony Sparano in 2008 with 17.5 tackles and four forced fumbles on the way to his fourth Pro Bowl selection.

However, Porter was extremely weak against the run, and didn't take too kindly to a reduced role in 2009. He again began displaying the kind of loud-mouth attitude and insubordination he'd become famous for, and simply was no longer worth the headache as a waning talent.

Wilson's release comes less than a month after Dolphin general manager Jeff Ireland gave him a public vote of confidence at the NFL Scouting Combine, but it's absolutely not a surprise to see him cut.

Signed to a five-year, $27.5 million contract last offseason, Wilson was asked to play the unnatural position of free safety, and was absolutely horrendous in coverage all season.

By releasing the three players, the Dolphins shave roughly $10.7 million in base salaries off the books for 2010. Although there is no salary cap and guaranteed money has already been paid, this at least gives the Dolphins some more cash to devote to other players this season.

Other free agency news and notes...
  • In the Dolphins' search for a starting safety, names that have been thrown around include Oshiomogho Atogwe (Rams), Antoine Bethea (Colts), and Darren Sharper (Saints). The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington and I both like the idea of signing Atogwe, although the team has not shown interest as of yet. I'm not too keen on the idea of signing Bethea, who would cost a first-round pick in return and isn't that good anyway, or Sharper, who is 35 and not a long-term solution at the position. The New Orleans Times-Picayune mentions Miami as a possible suitor for Sharper.
  • Free agent guard Chester Pitts (Texans) is reportedly drawing interest from the Dolphins, among other teams. Pitts was one of my five top free-agent guards last month. A veteran at guard and tackle, Pitts would likely compete with Nate Garner, Donald Thomas, and Dimitri Tsoumpas for the starting right guard job if signed by the Dolphins.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is perplexed as to why the Dolphins didn't get in on the bidding for wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was traded from the Cardinals to the Ravens yesterday, and quite frankly, I am as well. Boldin would have filled the Dolphins' need for a No. 1 receiver, and I don't think the price tag was too great. Salguero suggests Terrell Owens might be needed as a one-year stop-gap, but I'm not to thrilled with that prospect.
  • Miami has shown interest in the man Boldin will replace in Baltimore—veteran Derrick Mason. Even at 36, Mason is one of the best receivers on the market right now and has topped 1,000 yards receiving in eight of the past nine seasons. While it would be ideal to find a younger No. 1 receiver for the job, Mason wouldn't be a bad fill-in for the next year or two if he wants to continue playing.
  • Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Bryant (Buccaneers) has expressed interest in playing for the Dolphins, but it is unknown if the feeling is mutual. Easily one of the best receivers on the market today, Bryant has a rocky history with Dolphins V.P. Bill Parcells, although it is believed the two have smoothed things over. Bryant certainly has the talent to be a No. 1 receiver.
  • Dolphins free-agent cornerback Nathan Jones has agreed to terms on a deal with the Denver Broncos that could pay him up to $13.6 million over the next four years. It's a good deal for Jones, who played fairly well as the Dolphins' nickel corner and excelled on special teams the last two years.
  • Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Andy Alleman, who was non-tendered by the Chiefs as a restricted free agent, has been signed by the Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins traded Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe to the Kansas City Chiefs last August.
  • The Dolphins are still in need of a long-term nose tackle, and one player I think they should at least consider is Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who was recently released by the Panthers. Kemoeatu is coming off an Achilles' injury that cost him all of last season, but he's an excellent nose tackle when healthy. At 31, he could very well play another six or seven years, and he has experience with Dolphins' defensive coordinator Mike Nolan from their time in Baltimore between 2002 and 2004.

Share your thoughts on the Dolphins' roster moves or any other free agent talk on the forum here!