With the lockout preventing free agency, most of the talk surrounding how the Dolphins will fill the likely voids of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have centered around the draft and in particular, Mark Ingram. Let’s not forget, though, that whenever a new CBA is agreed upon, free agent options like DeAngelo Williams will hit the open market.
At the beginning of the offseason, a few rumors swirled around suggesting that the Dolphins have interest in Williams. But with no end in sight to the lockout, most of the speculation involving free agency has died down. Even though the draft is a mere 19 days away, let’s reopen the discussion on Williams to the Dolphins now that we know the soon to be free agent has interest in making Miami home.
DeAngelo Williams told the Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly on 560 WQAM radio that Miami is a place he would love to live, but admitted his choice will boil down to the quarterback situation.
There is no questioning that Williams has been one of the truly elite backs in the league when healthy. He’ll be 28 on April 25th, which is approaching the dreaded age of 30 for a running back, but because he’s been able to share the rock with Jonathan Stewart in Carolina, he still could have a solid four or five years left in the tank as a back that has only amassed 200 carries twice in his career.
Running back is a position that has lost a quite a bit of value in recent years, and the Dolphins could easily find themselves one or two potential quality starters in the middle rounds of the draft. But DeAngelo Williams is an extreme case. He’s one of the few backs in the league that force opposing defensive coordinators to adjust their game plans. He’s truly a game changer and would instantly provide the Dolphins more offensive firepower.
The question is, though, will the front office be willing to open up the checkbook when they are well aware that this year’s draft class is fairly deep at the running back position? If the Dolphins are planning on making a strong push for Williams, or any free agent running back for that matter, it would give them more flexibility in the draft however.
Instead of feeling obligated to take a back in the first few rounds, or possibly even double up on the position like they’ve done with other needs in the past, they may allow themselves to focus more on their other pressing needs early on. Signing Williams would be no sure thing, though, so not addressing running back for the sake of holding out for him in free agency would be risky to say the least.
His interest in coming to Miami seemed genuine, however. And if that interest is indeed mutual as speculated, it will be interesting to see how that influences the Dolphins’ draft plans.