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News » Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2009-03-03

Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2009-03-03

Miami Dolphins Inside Slant 2009-03-03
The Dolphins decided to continue their bargain-hunting ways by rewarding their own free agents rather than spend lavishly on outsiders.

Executive vice president football operations Bill Parcells would rather discover unheralded gems in the draft than break the bank on veteran treasure hunters such as Titans nose tackle Albert Haynesworth, Ravens center Jason Brown and Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, who all signed new big deals elsewhere on the first day of free agency.

"Our philosophy is plain and simple: We want to build it through the draft, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said at the Scouting Combine."That's always been Bill's philosophy. That's always been (general manager Jeff Ireland's) philosophy.

"That's what I've been kind of raised in, so you try to build it through the draft with as many pieces as you can from that end, and then I think you start to maybe look at a couple components that are maybe available to you in free agency one way or the other, whether they're your own or whether they're somebody else's that you might be able to get and help you save a must pick during the course of the draft process. That's the way we attack it: Always thinking the draft is first and foremost."

That's why they secured the services of right tackle Vernon Carey for six years at $42 million with about $12 million guaranteed. Signing inside linebacker Channing Crowder to a three-year deal was arguably a surprise move by Miami on the eve of free agency because the two sides had been so far apart.

The re-signing of strong safety Yeremiah Bell just hours before the start of free agency keeps Miami's best playmaker in the secondary around for reportedly at least four years at up to $20 million of which $10 million is guaranteed according. Bell, soon to be 31, is coming off his best season as he led the team with 120 tackles to go with

"We're happy we were able to get Vernon, Channing and Yeremiah signed prior to the start of free agency," Ireland said. "All three players were integral parts of the success that we achieved last year, and we're pleased that we were able to keep them as part of the Dolphins organization. We also appreciate their desire to remain as members of the Dolphins and we're glad we were able to work out these extensions."

Just last Friday at a charity softball game Crowder was using the past tense when referring to his only team.

Clearly, Crowder went for a hometown discount once his agent told him that outside offers weren't that much sweeter than Miami's. The former Gator is a lifelong Floridian who loves the climate and fishing, as well as his defensive line coach George Edwards.

"My agent wanted to hit free agency but I love Miami and the people here," Crowder said

Crowder may have balky knees but he's just 25 and has only truly been a one-year starter in the middle of a 3-4 defense -- and he is a tackling machine (114), despite not having a reputation for making game-changing plays. No picks in four years can't be a fluke.

The Dolphins prefer to use free agency to plug holes with hungry veterans who love to play football, know their system and come from losing teams. That's why they reached to for Raiders castoff Gibril Wilson, who they signed to a five-year deal with $8 million guaranteed and $16.5 million over the first three seasons.

Wilson's signing took the sting out of Renaldo Hill leaving on the first day of free agency for a deal with Denver.

Wilson, 27, is a younger more durable version of Bell, 30, only he has a better nose for the ball as his career 13 interceptions prove. Wilson has what Parcells loves - a Super Bowl ring -- as he anchored the Giants secondary during their title run in 2007.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 3, 2009

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