Miami Dolphins: Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, or neither?

It’s not the most important question this offseason for the Dolphins, but it is a question that could determine what they look like next year.

Money will likely be a big factor in answering that question for Miami.  Ronnie Brown is likely to demand more on the open market than Ricky Williams.  Miami does not want to invest starters money in either.  And shouldn’t.

Ideally, I’d like to bring Ronnie Brown back because of his versatility and have him share time in the backfield with a new starter.  Can they get him at price that makes sense to pull that off?  Possibly, but I doubt it.

Ricky Williams seemed to have burnt his bridge at season’s end calling out the coaching staff, and even being critical of teammate Brandon Marshall.  GM Jeff Ireland said yesterday that Ricky Williams was still an option for the team.  I also think he will be easier to squeeze under the cap and probably more accepting of taking a backseat to whomever the new starter would be.

I think Ronnie is better than Ricky, don’t get me wrong.  I think he was a very good back for the Dolphins, but never quite delivered on the promise a #2 overall pick is supposed to.  He never possessed the breakaway speed, that seems to be what teams like in their feature backs nowadays.  Ronnie also ran hard, and I mean as hard as anyone in the league.  But he never threatened or scared a defense because he wasn’t a homerun threat.  He’d have to single and double you to death to be effective.

I think it is very possible that neither will be back.  Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hilliard are both capable of assuming backup duties and have been with the team for awhile.  I definitely see Miami having a different starter next year.  And although his name comes up frequently in mock drafts, I don’t think Mark Ingram is the answer.  I think he was a really good college back, but I don’t see “explosive” in him.  He is most often compared to Emmitt Smith, which is great, but Emmitt lacked that extra gear too.  Ingram would have to be pretty special without that to warrant a 1st round pick.

The rest of this draft class at runningback isn’t very exciting.  I am sure one or two or three guys could emerge as late round picks, but there is no Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson in this class.

I think the answer for Miami at RB is a name I was well aware before the start of the season, and one I’d really like.  DeAngelo Williams.

The soon-to-be-former Carolina RB is just what the doctor ordered for Miami.  He is coming off an injury, but a shortened season that spares him a lot of wear and tear.  He will be turning 28, but he is a young 28.  He was a backup his first two years in the league and then shared carries with Jonathon Stewart the last three years.  He only has 841 carries for his career at this point.

Why does he work?  He’s a big-play guy.  He averages an outstanding 5 yards per carry in his career.  He catches the ball out of the backfield so he is a 3-down back, but would be comfortable in a time-share backfield because that’s what he has always been a part of.  He only has 6 fumbles for his career, so he doesn’t put the ball on the ground.

While Miami doesn’t want to get into a bidding war for Williams, coming off an injury probably hurts his negotiating stance with teams.  At a reasonable price, he could be a steal for the Dolphins.