One of the Dolphins most significant impending free agents was optimistic Monday about his chances of remaining with the team, but more uncertainty surrounds two other key potential free agents.
Cornerback Brent Grimes said Monday hes hopeful but not certain that he will re-sign with the Dolphins.
They said they like me here and want to have me back, he said at Jason Taylors charity golf tournament. Hopefully, it happens sooner than later.
Grimes said the Dolphins have not discussed slapping him with the franchise tag, which likely will top $11 million, and he prefers that does not happen.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have not made an offer to either of their key impending free agent defensive tackles, Randy Starks or Paul Soliai, but have expressed interest in re-signing both, according to league sources.
They are expected to make an offer to Soliai before free agency begins in two weeks, barring a change of heart.
The Dolphins have conveyed that they would be fine with Starks testing the free agent market and coming back to them with a competing offer.
Nevertheless, they havent ruled out making an offer to Starks before the start of free agency.
Unofficial interest in Soliai has been significant this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Soliai has moved out of his South Florida home but in the past has expressed a fondness for living here.
Free agents cannot sign with other teams before March 11 and can speak only with their current teams until March 8, at which point they can begin talking to any team.
The Dolphins will have more than $35 million in cap space. Miami could free up even more space if it restructures Mike Wallaces five-year, $60 million contract. But as of Monday afternoon, there had been no such discussions with Wallaces representatives.
Wallace has a cap figure of more than $17 million in 2014, but it will drop to $12 million in 2015.
Long snapper John Denney, the Dolphins union representative, hasnt read Ted Wells 144-page report on the teams bullying scandal and said he didnt hear media accounts of the report, either. But he nevertheless discredited Wells findings.
I have a hard time believing, Denney said, that youre going to pay a guy good money to take his time to do an investigation, spend three months on it all of us can agree hes not going to walk out of there and address the table and say, Ive got nothing, guys, sorry. Youve got to come up with something. Theyre paying good money to come up with something.
Denney said he didnt want to hear about the details of the report because Ive been in the middle of it, so Ive got nothing to read or see or hear. ... This whole thing nauseates me.
Why? Because its a little too much, Denney said. Everything has been blown out of proportion.
What about Wells claim that several players were harassed, not only Jonathan Martin?
Ted Wells can go into any one of the 32 teams in the entire league and he is going to come out with the same investigation, same results, Denney said. Every single player in this league has been bullied, if thats what bullying is defined is.
Denney, who came into the league with the Dolphins in 2005, said he never witnessed any conduct that he considered to be over the line.
Does Denney blame Martin because this wouldnt have happened if he hadnt left?
You answered your own question, Denny said. You know the answer to that. Im not answering that question. Its a little obvious.
Would Martin be welcomed back to the Dolphins locker room in the unlikely event that happened?
Well cross that bridge when we get there, Denney said.
This and that
• Reports that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had tried to withhold compensation owed to line coach Jim Turner and trainer Kevin ONeill after their termination are erroneous, according to a team source. The club strongly denies reports that Ross tried to fire Turner with cause.
• Ryan Tannehill said he has spoken some with new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and the offense definitely will be different. Its a completely different system. Bill runs a numbers system. Coach [Mike] Sherman was a West Coast-style system. Everything is going to have a different name. Its going to be reprogrammed in my brain to work in a different way. Its a big task.
Will fans see a difference in how the offense looks? Tannehill said he doesnt know because league rules limit contact between coaches and players this time of year. Im excited, he said. Hes a fun guy to work with.