The clock is ticking on the Miami Dolphins relationship with their former #1 overall pick, Jake Long. The Dolphins must decide before March 4th if they want to use their franchise tag on Long, resign him, or let him enter free agency on March 12th. First, I don’t see anyway that the Dolphins use the franchise tag on Long, as it would pay him over $15 million in 2013. So cross that possibility off the list. So Long will either resign with the Dolphins or they’ll let him test free agency.
The Dolphins and Long have exchanged contract numbers, but from what we hear, the two sides are not close to a deal. In a phone interview earlier today, Long expressed his appreciation for the Dolphins organization and the fan base. He went on to say that he’d like to return to Miami, but at this point “it’s essentially on them”. Reports earlier this offseason indicated that Long was seeking a deal worth $10 million per season. And given that quote, it doesn’t sound like he’s planning on lowering his expectations any time soon.
The problem is that Long still views himself as an elite left tackle and wants to be compensated accordingly. I don’t see either side blinking and I think Long ends up heading to another team in 2013. In my opinion, the Dolphins should avoid anything north of $6-7 million per season due to Long’s declining play and recent injury history. If another NFL team wants to gamble that Long will be injury free and will return to the elite form we haven’t seen for 2 years, that’s just fine.