As the dust settles on the Ted Wells report, the question becomes whether tackle Jonathan Martin will play again in the NFL — and if so for whom?
Before Martin can play for anyone other than the Dolphins, the Dolphins have to trade him or waive him. And while owner Stephen Ross has said that he doesn’t expect either Martin or guard Richie Incognito to return to the team in 2014, the Dolphins have a much better chance of getting trade value for Martin if other teams believe that the Dolphins keeping Martin is a viable alternative.
For that reason, the Dolphins previously had begun to leak the idea that Martin could return. Now, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that, during a meeting at the Scouting Combine with Martin’s agents, the Dolphins expressed an interest in having Martin return. Martin’s camp reportedly declined.
La Canfora adds that, during the meeting, coach Joe Philbin blamed Martin’s agents for causing the controversy to reach the boiling point it has occupied, on multiple occasions.
Agent Rick Smith has sharply disputed La Canfora’s report. “We have no idea where you got your information, but you weren’t even close,” Smith told La Canfora. “We’d appreciate it if everyone backed off and allowed the process to happen organically.”
Our take? Martin doesn’t want to return to the Dolphins and the Dolphins don’t really want him back, but the Dolphins want to have a fair chance to try to trade Martin by creating the impression that the Dolphins want Martin back.
Even if they don’t.
Moving forward, the Dolphins will try to find a trade partner, they’ll hold Martin’s rights possibly through the draft in the hopes of finagling a low-round draft pick, and then they’ll waive him if they can’t persuade someone to give up, for example, a conditional seventh-round pick that officially would be announced as “undisclosed.”
The best hope for the Dolphins would be to get two teams interested in Martin, which would make the question of whether the Dolphins want to keep Martin irrelevant. The team that sits lower on the waiver priority list than the other team would then have to decide whether to offer, for example, a conditional seventh-round pick that officially would be announced as “undisclosed.”