- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
The Miami Dolphins have begun contract negotiations with Michigan OT Jake Long and his agent, Tom Condon, and it's possible that everything is as it seems. There's no question the Dolphins want to have a deal in place prior to making the draft's top overall selection on April 26. Plus, as I've been saying for a couple of weeks now, Long makes the most sense for Miami. With the addition of free-agent G Justin Smiley and Long's presence allowing Vernon Carey to move to his more natural spot at right tackle position, the Dolphins would finally solidify their offensive line and give QB John Beck and RB Ronnie Brown far greater chances for success.
On the other hand, it seems a tad suspicious that such a tight-lipped organization has allowed this information to go public. It has been common practice in past years for the team drafting No. 1 overall to open negotiations with its second or third choice in order to gain leverage, so even if Miami gets a verbal commitment from Jake Long don't be surprised if the team uses that handshake deal to drive the price down in a negotiation with Boston College QB Matt Ryan, Virginia DE Chris Long or LSU DT Glenn Dorsey.
Adding to the drama is the fact that Condon also represents Ryan. Stay tuned on this one.
10hBy Tom Friend
1hBy Jackie MacMullan