Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jackson off table, but Dolphins still have LB options


It's been insinuated through the media that new Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was none-too-impressed with his predecessor's rebuild of the team's linebacker corps last offseason.

This suggestion was supported by Miami's pursuit of D'Qwell Jackson, the recently-released long-time Cleveland Brown who would reportedly have taken over for Dannell Ellerbe in the middle of the Dolphins defense.

Though that pursuit ended when Jackson inked an eyebrow-raising four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts, Hickey will have no shortage of veteran linebackers to choose from when free agent negotiations officially open up.

The Dolphins are expected to be active.

"We place what we call a Dolphin value for the player, and that directs our steps on how we approach things," Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said last month when asked of his approach in free agency spending.

This year's available 'backer crop includes Brandon Spikes, Wesley Woodyard, Daryl Sharpton and Jon Beason. Another top free agent, Daryl Smith, is expected to ultimately re-sign with the Baltimore Ravens.

Big-ticket free agent acquisitions Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler both disappointed in their first seasons in Miami, and could face serious competition for their starting spots despite their bloated salaries.

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