The Dolphins and Dontari Poe talked.
And then talked some more.
And when all the talking was done, Poe left team headquarters on Wednesday the same way he entered it: as a free agent in search of a team.
That’ll change at some point. Poe has too much interest around the league to remain unsigned for terribly long.
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But there’s no debate at this point in the process that teams have been wary about cutting a massive, multi-year check for the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
Wednesday’s events reinforced that impression.
But just because Poe didn’t sign with Miami on Wednesday doesn’t mean he won’t at some point. He’s clearly determined to see the country during his free agent tour, having already spoken with the Colts, Jaguars and Falcons.
The Raiders are said to have interest, too.
Wherever he signs, it’ll likely be for one year. His idea of what the market would pay him and what the market says he’s worth are at odds, so he would be well-suited to sign a prove-it contract somewhere and try free agency again in 2018.
In short, Poe’s name was probably bigger than his game in 2016.
After totaling 10 1/2 sacks in 2013 and ’14, he’s had no more than 1 1/2 in each of the past two seasons. He had one — yes, one — tackle for loss last year. Four hundred seven NFL players had more.
The tape wasn’t much better than his stat line. Pro Football Focus ranked Poe 59th among all interior defensive linemen last year, and only 27 qualifying players at his position were worse against the run.
Then there’s this telling metric: The Chiefs, for whom Poe played the past five years, made little effort to keep him in Kansas City.
Kiko Alonso. Lawrence Timmons. Koa Misi (if he takes a pay cut).
Throw in Temple’s Haason Reddick?
Suddenly, a position of weakness for the Dolphins in 2016 won’t look so bad in 2017.
Granted, we’re a long way from here to there, but if Misi does indeed return healthy and at a reduced rate, and the Dolphins take Reddick with the No. 22 pick, as Todd McShay predicted Wednesday, then linebacker shouldn’t be a cause for a concern.
Who is Haason Reddick?
He’s a 6-1, 237-pound outside linebacker who has the athleticism to cover in space. Draft guru Lance Zierlein likened him to Pittsburgh’s dynamic Ryan Shazier.
McShay unveiled his choice for Miami before participating in a conference call Wednesday. The call ended before he was asked to explain the pick, but based on need and where the Dolphins are picking it makes sense.
Meanwhile, McShay did rave about University of Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, who has also been linked to Miami.
“He’s not as twitchy, not as sudden an athlete as [Missouri’s] Charles Harris, but I wouldn’t say as quite as straight-line explosive as [UCLA’s Takkarist] McKinley, but he’s really smooth and athletic,” McShay said. “Just from watching him, I think he’s as capable of playing 3-4 outside linebacker as defensive end [in a 4-3].”
McShay added: “Really good with his hands … great closing burst. When he gets to the point where it’s a straight line … to the quarterback, he closes as well as anyone in the draft but Myles Garrett.”
Garrett is expected to go first overall to the Browns.
And it wouldn’t be a draft conference call without Brad Kaaya coming up.
Kaaya could go anywhere from the third to the sixth rounds, but McShay has consistently been bullish on the University of Miami quarterback.
“Lacks arm strength and has some mechanical issues behind an offensive line that was terrible protecting him,” McShay said.
“But Kaaya has fast eyes, great football intelligence and can be really accurate when he’s in a rhythm. Those are the guys that I’d legitimately say.”