The Miami Dolphins have announced that left tackle Jake Long is being placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury and will not play again this season. Now the question is whether Long will ever play for the Dolphins again.
Long, the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, and if the Dolphins want to put the franchise tag on him, they’d need to guarantee him $15.3 million for 2013. That would be a huge investment for an offensive lineman whose play has declined this season in new coach Joe Philbin’s offense.
So Long is likely to hit free agency, and despite this season’s decline, he’s sure to be highly sought after: Starting left tackles are hot commodities in free agency.
It’s still possible that the Dolphins will end up being the team willing to pay the most to Long once he hits free agency. But it’s more likely that, as with Mario Williams last year, a former No. 1 overall draft pick will be allowed to leave by the team that drafted him, and will get a big deal elsewhere.