A trio of Dolphins Talking Points to jumpstart your Wednesday:
1. Jake Long doesn’t seem interested in giving the Dolphins a hometown discount.
Long made more money than he could ever need before he played a snap in the NFL, signing a five year, $57 million contract in 2008 as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
And Long, an impending free agent when the new league year begins on March 12, seems like he wants to cash in again, particularly with the multitude of injuries he has suffered and the uncertainty surrounding how much longer he can last in the NFL. And if it means leaving the Dolphins, then so be it.
The free agent market might have some decent options at tackle, including Kansas City’s Branden Albert and New England’s Sebastian Vollmer, but Long could still command as much as $10 million per year for five or six years, even with his injury history and spotty play in 2012.
Previously, Long’s wife, Jackie, said on Twitter that “we want to be here if they want us.” Tuesday, Long made it even clearer that he’s not interested in giving the Dolphins a hometown discount to remain in Miami. The Dolphins would like to bring Long back, but have been far apart in negotiations, which began during the 2012 season. The franchise tag would guarantee Long a one-year salary of over $15.3 million, so that scenario does not seem likely.
“I’d be open to continue my career there, but it’s essentially on them,” Long told the NFL Network yesterday while taking a break from rehabbing his torn triceps. “That’s the business side of it, so we’ll see what they want to do.”
Long might not want to hold his breath if he expects the Dolphins to increase their offer significantly, because they have multiple options to replace him. They could move Jonathan Martin, who played decently enough in four games at left tackle to end the season, permanently to the left side. They could try converted tight end Will Yeatman, who has impressed the coaches after spending the last year essentially red-shirting, at either the left or right side. This year’s draft has at least a half dozen tackles with first-round grades. And Long doesn’t seem to be a great fit for the Dolphins’ zone blocking scheme, anyway.
So unless Long has a change of heart and decides he wants to finish what he started in Miami, it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll be wearing a different uniform in 2013.