Monday, May 24, 2010

Dolphins deal Smiley to Jaguars; sign OL Cory Procter

The Miami Dolphins lost a guard and added one on the same day today, trading Justin Smiley to the Jacksonville Jaguars while signing free agent Cory Procter to a contract.

On the trading block since March, the oft-injured Smiley was expected to be traded during last month's NFL Draft, but no deal was made and it seemed more and more likely he might end up being released.

Terms of the trade with Jacksonville were undisclosed, although it is likely the Dolphins received a late-round and/or conditional pick for Smiley.

Cory Procter

A first-team All-Big Sky selection and I-AA All-American at Montana, Procter originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions in 2005. He was waived prior to the regular season and spent time on the team's practice squad.

Signed by the Bill Parcells-led Dallas Cowboys off the Lions' practice squad in November 2005, Procter failed to appear in a regular season game during his first two years with the team.

Making his NFL debut in 2007, Procter appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys including two starts. He again appeared in 16 games for the team in 2008, including a career-high 11 starts.

Procter moved back to a reserve role in 2009, appearing in 12 games with no starts. He was re-signed as a restricted free agent after the season on March 26, but was released on May 17 after the team unsuccessfully tried to trade him.

In addition to the Dolphins, Procter visited the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots before eventually landing in Miami on May 24.

Procter will wear No. 61 for the Dolphins, which was worn by practice-squad guard Mark Lewis in 2009.

Analysis

Smiley's departure had been imminent for some time, but it's a bit surprising the Dolphins were actually able to get something in return for him at this point.

I suspect the compensation will be a late-round pick, possibly even of the conditional variety. It could end up being one of those deals where the Dolphins won't receive a pick if Smiley doesn't play or doesn't make the Jaguars' roster due to injury or performance.

While a strong run blocker and quality veteran presence, Smiley was no longer needed in Miami with such a good overall offensive line and his regular unavailability due to injuries.

The Dolphins' picked up a potential starting guard in the third round of this year's draft in John Jerry, and have also moved 2008 sixth-rounder Donald Thomas over from right guard to compete on the left side with Jerry an .

As far as where Procter goes, I suspect he will fill the role of a versatile, experienced reserve interior lineman. The Dolphins may say he'll be given a shot to win a starting job, but I don't expect it to happen.

With Richie Incognito likely to hold down the starting right guard job and Nate Garner best-suited for a reserve job, my money remains on the rookie Jerry to beat out Thomas (and now Procter, too) for the starting left guard spot.

Procter shouldn't be considered a lock to even make the team, although his experience with the Dolphins' staff and system from his time in Dallas definitely gives him a boost.

If anyone should feel threatened by Procter's addition, it's Donald Thomas. After winning the starting right guard job as a rookie in 2008, Thomas has been sidelined with injuries and was simply ineffective as a starter in 2009.

If you assume Jerry, Incognito, Garner, Procter, and Joe Berger all make the team as backup interior linemen, there appears to be little room for Thomas.

A lack of experience and versatility will also hurt Thomas, as Garner has experience and tackle and center as well, while Berger and Procter both have experience at all three interior positions.


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