Have you seen junior's grades
Dolphin chatter from Barry Jackson
### If the Dolphins do not keep Soliai or Starks, they will push to sign a starter from among a group that includes the Giants’ Linval Joseph, Chicago’s Henry Melton, Baltimore’s Arthur Jones, Dallas’ Jason Hatcher, Atlanta’s Jonathan Babineaux or Peria Jerry, Houston’sEarl Mitchell and Oakland’s Pat Sims and Vance Walker and San Diego’s Cam Thomas. Also available: Minnesota’s Kevin Williams andFred Evans and the Giants’ Mike Patterson.
### Cornerback Nolan Carroll is expected to test free agency. The Dolphins want to keep him, but he wants to be paid like a starter, according to an official who spoke to the Dolphins’ front office. Miami is reluctant to do that, but a deal could still be reached.
### The Dolphins have decided to move Dannell Ellerbe to outside linebacker (weakside) if they sign middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who visited the Dolphins on Tuesday and will choose among Denver, Indianapolis, Miami and Tennessee. Jackson, cut by Cleveland last month, will visit the Colts on Wednesday before deciding his next team.
Philip Wheeler, if he sticks around, would compete with Koa Misi at strongside linebacker. Misi is Miami’s best linebacker against the run, which was a deficiency in 2013. Cutting Ellerbe (who is guaranteed $6 million in 2014) and Wheeler (guaranteed $5 million) wouldn't help because their cap hits are the same if they stay or go.
Jackson was below average against the run last season but better than Wheeler, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Among free agent linebackers who were effective against the run, options would include the Patriots’ Brandon Spikes, the Giants’ Jon Beason, Cincinnati’s Vinny Rey and Houston’s Daryl Sharpton.
Spikes, expected to move on from New England, would be an upgrade, but he’s not a conformist (he didn’t show up for voluntary workouts last June) and Joe Philbin likes conformists.
Players can speak to other teams beginning Saturday but cannot sign with a new team before Tuesday.
### Among their restricted free agents, the Dolphins made a tender to quarterback Pat Devlin (Philbin likes him; Miami gave him an exclusive rights tender) but not to cornerback R.J. Stanford or tackle Will Yeatman, both of whom thus become unrestricted free agents. Danny Watkins' agent said he didn't expect Watkins to be tendered.
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