Dolphins Watch

March 7, 2010 2:47 PM

Dansby a Dolphin

DANSBY.bmpThe Dolphins have made quite a few moves in the last few days, so let's touch on some of them.

As expected, Miami released Joey Porter after a lackluster 2009. Age, declining play and Porter's outspoken nature combined to make him a bad risk for 2010.

More surprising were the releases of fellow linebacker Akin Ayodele and safety Gibril Wilson.

Ayodele was the team's starting MOE linebacker the last two seasons, but his play was spotty, and he was particularly exposed when middle linebacker Channing Crowder missed the last game-and-a-half due to injury. In that time, opposing offenses repeatedly exploited Ayodele on pass defense.

Wilson's release wasn't surprising because of his play, but because the Dolphins had just signed him as a big free agent acquisition last season.

As has been noted numerous times, Wilson had a terrible 2009, with zero interceptions, and too many big pass plays given up. Tight ends in particular feasted on him.

The team was able to save $32 million with the release of the three players, and the Dolphins made a significant upgrade in bringing in Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby, who they signed to a five-year, $43 million contract.

Dansby has averaged 114.5 tackles over the past two seasons, and he has produced 25.5 sacks and 10 interceptions over the last six seasons.

The Dolphins are hoping to get more playmaking out of the middle linebacker position than they've had the last two years with Crowder manning the position. Now that Dansby is aboard, Crowder will more than likely take over at Ayodele's former position.

The move strengthens what had been a suspect linebacking corps, and if Jason Taylor does indeed return for a 15th season, he and Cameron Wake can split time in Porter's outside linebacker role.

The team also re-signed quarterback Chad Pennington for one year, which should help Chad Henne, as well as giving the Dolphins a solid backup option.

Miami did lose nickel cornerback Nate Jones, but with Will Allen set to return from a knee injury, and the emergence of the two rookie corners last year, that is not a position of need.

So far, the Dolphins brass has made the smart moves this offseason, but another priority, at wide receiver, continues to elude them.

Anquan Boldin, thought to be a player the Dolphins could target, was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a third round pick. Other options such as Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson still remain, but Miami would have to give up draft picks in a deal for either player.

Nose tackle is another position that has suddenly become a priority, with the news that Jason Ferguson will miss the first eight games of the 2010 season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. That means, unless the Dolphins want to rely on backup Paul Soliai and watch their defense get overrun as it did at the end of the season, Bill Parcells & Co. will have to go out and get a player to replace Ferguson.

And with few viable tackles available in free agency, the Dolphins may have to resort to the draft to fill this need. Already there is talk that this draft has plenty of talent at nose tackle and linebacker, so that may be Miami's best solution.

I think the Dolphins will continue to upgrade the rest of the defense in free agency, while waiting for the draft to upgrade the wide receiver and nosetackle positions.

But the recent transactions are a good start.

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