Garner Starting LG? Opinion on Cam Newton, & Thigpen Might NOT be Back

As we wrote in our earlier post today, the clock is about to strike midnight (literally) on the CBA negotiations.  At 11:59pm EST, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFLPA and NFL Owners will expire.  If you are interested in all of the details, check our story from earlier, by clicking here.  We’ll put the CBA talk on hold for the rest of this post and focus on the Miami Dolphins, we promise.  So here’s a look at some of the news effecting the Dolphins today:

Nate Garner the Dolphins Starting LG?

Today the Dolphins tendered a contract to 3 year veteran offensive lineman, Nate Garner.  Garner is a restricted free agent, meaning the Dolphins had to tender him an offer to avoid losing him.  Garner missed all of the 2010 season due to injury, but will be ready for the 2011 season.  Garner is said to be a favorite of Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.  Garner stepped in and helped the Dolphins in 2009 when injuries depleted their offensive line towards the end of the year.  Remember the game when he played Center, Guard, and Tackle?!

Garner will get a chance to complete for the starting LG spot next to Jake Long.  Some think he will be an upgrade over Free Agent Richie Incognito as he is a better pulling guard than Richie.  The inability for the Dolphins guards to pull on running plays last year led to the below average 3.7 ycp average on running plays.

Tyler Thigpen not necessarily back?

Yesterday we posted a story about the Dolphins tendering Tyler Thigpen, a supposed restricted free agent.  We say supposed because Thigpen is a 4th year veteran.  If the new CBA reverts to the old free agency rules (which many think it will), then Thigpen will be an unrestricted free agent.  All this means is that the contract tender given to Thigpen might be as worthless as Ted Ginn (low blow?).  If the new CBA states that 4th and 5th year veterans are unrestricted, then the restricted tender is simply withdrawn.

So yesterday, we may have been a bit premmature to say that Chad Pennington’s days in Miami are over.  If Thigpen is a unrestricted, he’ll likely look for another team that gives him a chance to start. If that happens, Chad Pennington COULD be back with the Dolphins as Chad Henne would be the only legit QB left on the Dolphins roster.

Patrick Cobbs not tendered?

Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post of Twitter said that his source indicated the Dolphins have not tendered Patrick Cobbs.  Cobbs has been a favorite of Tony Sparano in recent years and has contributed with solid special teams play.  However, if the Dolphins decide not to tender him, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

Cam Newton Probabilities

Tim Graham is the AFC East Blogger for ESPN.com.  In his story here, he gives his thoughts on the probabilities of each team in the AFC East drafting Cam Newton, QB Auburn.  Not surprisingly he lists the Buffalo Bills as ‘High’  (they do hold the #3 pick in the draft!).  He lists the Dolphins chances as ‘Medium’ and says this:

“The Dolphins have doubts about Chad Henne and don’t have any backups at the moment. They’d love to get their hands on Newton, but it’s doubtful he falls to them with the 15th pick.”

We like Cam Newton as a prospect.  It’s the off the field issues that scare us.  If the Dolphins do their due diligence and he checks out, I’d be very happy if they took him with the #15 pick.  But, like Graham says, he probably won’t be there at 15, which means the Dolphins would have to move up.  If the Dolphins, the people who LOVE draft picks, were to move up and get Cam Newton, they would have to be 100% sure his head is on straight.

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