It looks like the Dolphins’ plan B at offensive tackle could be unfolding in the near future.
After plan A was foiled by the Kansas City Chiefs’ unwillingness to part with Branden Albert for anything less than a second-round pick, the Dolphins have potentially turned their attention back to the free agent market and a possible deal with Eric Winston.
The Dolphins have “maintained a steady dialogue” with Winston according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, likely for this very scenario: post-draft and still no tackle.
Negotiations between Winston and the Dolphins fell apart back in March when Jeff Ireland lowballed the 29-year old veteran. But now that Miami still has a gaping void at the position with far less potential fixes remaining, signing Eric Winston may not only be a possibility once again, but a necessity.
I’m sure Jeff Ireland will be willing to provide a more reputable offer this time around and Winston would likely still prefer to sign with the Dolphins being that he played his college ball in South Florida for the Hurricanes.
The Dolphins simply cannot trust their current offensive line to protect Ryan Tannehill. A reliable veteran like Winston would instantly improve the unit.
Signing Winston doesn’t solve all of the Dolphins’ problems, though. Winston is a right tackle. That means Ryan Tannehill’s blindside would still need to be addressed.
But outside of a trade for Branden Albert, a possibility that appears to be lifeless, the Dolphins best bet is likely rolling with Jonathan Martin at left tackle. That may be a scary thought to anyone who witnessed Martin struggle as a rookie.
But most of those struggles transpired at right tackle. Martin actually looked more comfortable on the left side – his natural position and where he played at Stanford – when Jake Long was sidelined for the last four games of the season.
He still looked like a rookie, but with some added strength he actually has the potential to develop into a solid left tackle. A bit of a gamble, yes. But a gamble the Dolphins may not have a choice but to make.