According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland returned to the office in Davie today after vacationing in Australia.
Why is that significant?
Well, because there is work to be done. Work that preferably would be completed by Saturday, when the Dolphins report to training camp, or at least Sunday, when they hit the practice field for the first time.
Free-agent fullback Vonta Leach, who is expected to choose between the Dolphins and a return to the Ravens, and third-overall pick Dion Jordan remain unsigned. The Dolphins would like to have both on the field when the team kicks off training camp this weekend. No progress has been made in recent days towards that goal, but Ireland returning to work should get the ball rolling.
Dion Jordan missed the majority of Miami’s offseason work because he was still taking classes at Oregon. League rules prohibit involvement until the player’s college semester has concluded. Needless to say, the rookie has some catching up to do, especially if the Dolphins are expecting him to make an immediate impact.
What is preventing a deal between the Dolphins and Jordan in the day and age of the rookie salary scale?
Miami is likely to insist on offset language, which would allow them to recoup some of Jordan’s deal if he’s ever cut and signs with a new team. The same demands led to a mini-holdout from Ryan Tannehill last summer before the rookie quarterback eventually gave up his protest and signed on the dotted line.
Missing a few practices didn’t stop Tannehill from winning a heated quarterback battle in camp, but he already had a full offseason of work under his belt. Jordan has yet to practice with the veterans and needs all the reps he can if he wants to seriously challenge for a starting spot on a crowded defensive line.
As for Leach, the 31-year-old veteran is said to be seeking a multiyear deal. The Dolphins, however, have only been willing to hand out one-year contracts to older veterans and those returning from injury.
Ireland was able to convince Brent Grimes, Dustin Keller and Tyson Clabo to ink single-year commitments. Odds are, he’s attempting to persuade Leach to do the same.
Of course, that could change if the Dolphins open camp and incumbent starting fullback Jorvorskie Lane’s performance remains underwhelming. Lane was only adequate a year ago and Miami clearly wants to upgrade or at least provide him with some competition.
Leach is one of the league’s best lead blockers and would instantly improve the Dolphins’ rushing attack. He’d also help out in pass pro with questions aplenty along the offensive line.
Will the Dolphins cave and meet Leach’s demands or will the veteran fullback lower his?
It should be an interesting week leading up to camp with Ireland back in town.