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Dolphins Close to Losing Out on Two FA Targets


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Dolphins close to signing James; Tait leaves town without deal


By Alex Marvez

Staff Writer

Posted March 5 2004


DAVIE -- No player was signed, but Thursday will be remembered as arguably the busiest day the Dolphins have experienced in the free-agent signing period since Dave Wannstedt became head coach in 2000.


The Dolphins moved close to an agreement with Carolina guard Jeno James after negotiations failed to result in deals with Kansas City tackle John Tait or New England guard Damien Woody. The Dolphins also courted San Francisco cornerback Jason Webster while attempting to negotiate a restructured contract for Sam Madison, whose roster spot is in jeopardy if a new agreement can't be reached.


Dolphins management spoke with Madison agent Gene Burrough on Thursday to state there was still strong interest in keeping his client on the team. However, the Dolphins are pursuing other cornerbacks in free agency in case they decide to part ways with Madison and because of a lack of depth at the position. Terrell Buckley, who was the Dolphins' nickel cornerback in 2003, is an unrestricted free agent, while 2001 first-round draft choice Jamar Fletcher could be released later in the offseason.


Madison is slated to earn $6.3 million in base salary this season, which is a figure the Dolphins aren't interested in paying. He also carries a salary cap number of $8.03 million.


"There's still a chance Sam could remain a Dolphin," Burrough said. "I'm cautiously optimistic. To be honest, they have not responded to my proposal, so I'm trying to read between the lines. When they respond, I'll have a better idea of how far apart we are."


Tait, who is a transition player, left for a visit with Chicago without signing an offer sheet with the Dolphins. The Dolphins are believed ready to offer Tait an eight-figure signing bonus as part of a lucrative contract that team officials hope would scare Kansas City from matching.


The Chiefs are believed to have enough salary-cap room to match any offer, but may balk if the figure gets too high. Tait already counts $6.012 million against Kansas City's cap this season because he was made a transition player last month.


The Dolphins made Tait their top free-agent priority after losing the services of starting right tackle Todd Wade, who signed a six-year, $30 million contract Wednesday with Houston. Tait played his first three seasons at left tackle before switching to right tackle in 2002 after the Chiefs acquired Willie Roaf in a trade with New Orleans. The 6-foot-6, 323-pound Tait started all but one game the past four seasons.


Tait was considered so important that Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt and General Manager Rick Spielman met him early Thursday morning at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Wannstedt's wife, Jan, also spent the day touring the area with Tait's wife Jenava.


The Dolphins are hoping Tait's visit to Chicago is similar to what happened last season with quarterback Jake Plummer. He met with the Bears after taking a trip to Denver before deciding to sign with the Broncos.


Woody canceled his scheduled visit with the Dolphins on Thursday to stay in Detroit. An NFL source said the Lions were close to signing Woody to a frontloaded contract that includes the largest signing bonus ever given to an interior lineman in free agency. The current record was set last year when guard Randy Thomas received $7 million from the Washington Redskins.


The sting of not signing Tait or Woody on Thursday would be lessened if the Dolphins land James, who would likely become the team's new starting left guard. James, who started every game for Carolina last season, is expected to receive a deal that averages in the range of $3 million a season.


Webster, a starter for most of his four seasons in San Francisco, left Thursday night for a free-agent visit in Atlanta without signing a contract. The Dolphins will meet today with free-agent cornerbacks Fernando Bryant (Jacksonville) and Reggie Howard (Carolina).


Bryant, a 1999 first-round draft pick, has started every game for Jacksonville the past two seasons. Howard, who signed with Carolina as an undrafted free agent in 2000 after breaking his neck while a senior at the University of Memphis, was a starter the past two seasons for the Panthers.


More on the way


The Dolphins plan to bring San Diego tackle Damien McIntosh in next week for a free-agent visit and recently inquired about ex-Indianapolis tackle Adam Meadows, who met with Dallas on Thursday after stops in Carolina and Atlanta. McIntosh, who turns 27 later this month, has started 37 of 48 games the past three seasons for the Chargers. Meadows, 30, spent most of last season as a backup after starting the previous six seasons.


Arizona meets with FB


Dolphins backup fullback Femi Ayanbadejo visited Thursday with Arizona. An unrestricted free agent, Ayanbadejo started two games last season in place of the injured Rob Konrad. ... Ex-Dolphins free safety Brock Marion is visiting with Seattle next week. Marion, who was released Tuesday, also has received interest from Cincinnati and Green Bay. ... Ex-Dolphins wide receiver James McKnight will take the place of wide receiver Oronde Gadsden next Thursday in Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning's pre-draft workout in New Orleans. Gadsden said he withdrew because of a personal commitment.


Staff Writer Ethan Skolnick contributed to this report. Alex Marvez can be reached at [email protected].


Damn it hopefully we sign at least one of them even though reports are that Woody is headed to Detriot. Hopefully we get at least a deal done with Jeno James.




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Guest marlins02

dolphins sign former panther CB Reggie Howard to 6 year deal.


also sign former patriot safety chris akins to 3 year deal for special teams

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Guest marlins02

i got an email a little earlier. but here's the article from the teams site


Dolphins Sign Akins, Howard And James As Unrestricted Free Agents

March 5, 2004



To listen to the Jeno James press conference, please Click Here!


To read a transcript of the Jeno James press conference, please Click Here!


The Miami Dolphins today signed safety Chris Akins, cornerback Reggie Howard and guard Jeno James as unrestricted free agents. Akins, who had previously been with New England, signed a three?year deal. Howard, who spent most of his first four NFL seasons with Carolina, signed a six-year contract. James, who played previously with Carolina, signed a six-year contract.


"We targeted Akins as the best special teams player out on the market," Dolphins General Manager Rick Spielman said. "He was one of our top guys that we had targeted. He also has played safety and will get an opportunity to come in and compete as a safety. We lost Scott McGarrahan, and with releasing Trent Gamble, this was a key signing for us, not only because of his ability as a possible safety, but definitely for what he?s going to bring to our team as a special teams player.


"Reggie was a young corner," Spielman added. "There were a lot of young corners coming out in the UFA market. We had targeted three guys who came through here, and he was one of the three, and we were able to strike a deal with him late this afternoon. It?s another chance for us to ad depth and quality. There is the belief that there are not enough good corners out there, and when you can get as many good corners as you can, this is just going to help our football team. This has nothing to do with insurance against Sam (Madison) or anything. This is just us adding another quality football player to this football team.


"Jeno is a young offensive lineman," Spielman said. "He was familiar with Tony Wise when Tony was at Carolina. He is a very good athlete. He has lined up and played all 16 games. He has played left tackle, right tackle and offensive guard. His best position is probably as a guard. We looked at him last year as a restricted free agent when he was in Carolina. We?ve followed his career real close the past two years. He has excellent feet and excellent athletic ability. He fits all the criteria we look for in our offensive linemen, from a football standpoint. From a character standpoint, he is as A-plus as you get."


Akins, 27, spent the 2003 season with the Patriots after signing with the club as an unrestricted free agent from Cleveland. He played in 12 regular season games last year, all in a reserve role, and emerged as one of New England?s top special teams players, as he recorded 22 tackles. He added seven tackles and a pass defensed on defense. The 5-11, 200-pounder spent the first two years of his NFL career (1999-2000) with Dallas. In his rookie season of ?99 he was second on the squad with 15 special teams tackles despite the fact that he only played in nine games that year. He joined Green Bay midway through the 2000 season after being released by the Cowboys and spent the remainder of 2000 and part of 2001 with the Packers before being waived. He was claimed by Cleveland and played the final four games of 2001 and all of the following season with the Browns. In 2002, he ranked second on the squad with 25 special teams tackles. Overall in his five NFL seasons, Akins has played in 61 games and recorded 24 tackles, while having added 80 tackles on special teams. He began his collegiate career (1995-96) at the University of Arkansas before transferring to Arkansas-Pine Bluff for his final two seasons (1997-98). Born November 29, 1976, Akins is a native of Little Rock, Ark., where he attended Hall High School.


The 26-year old Howard started 15 regular season games and all four playoff games for the NFC champion Panthers last season. He finished the regular season with 78 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and eight passes defensed. He added 26 tackles, one interception and three passes defensed in the postseason. His interception occurred in Carolina?s Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to New England. Howard originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with Carolina in 2000. He split his rookie season with New Orleans and Carolina, before spending each of the next three years with the Panthers. He became the team?s full-time starter at right cornerback in 2002 and opened 14 games that year, as he registered 89 tackles and two interceptions. Overall in his four NFL seasons, he has played in 41 regular season games, starting 29 of them, and posted 183 tackles, five interceptions, 19 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Howard played two years at the University of Memphis (1998-99) after entering school as a walk-on, following two years at Henderson State College. In two years at Memphis, he played in 17 games and tallied 91 tackles, an interception, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and five passes defensed. A Memphis native who he attended Kirby High School, Howard was born on May 17, 1977.


The 27-year old James started all 16 regular season games and all four postseason contests at left guard for the NFC champion Panthers in 2003. He was part of a line that led a running game which finished seventh in the NFL, averaging 130.7 yards per game and 4.0 per rush attempt. Running back Stephen Davis finished third in the NFC in rushing with 1,444 yards. In addition, Carolina?s line allowed just 27 sacks last season, the eighth-lowest total in the NFL and a new franchise single-season low.


The 6-3, 310-pound James originally was a sixth-round draft choice (182nd overall) of Carolina in 2000. In his four years with the team, he played in 55 regular season games, starting 28 of them. During his stint with the Panthers, he has opened at both left and right guard, and left tackle as well. In James? rookie season of 2000, he appeared in all 16 games, including four starts at left tackle. He opened six games the following year, five at right guard and one at left guard, and in 2002 he started a pair of matchups at left guard.


James opened every game in his four-year collegiate career at Auburn (1996-99), including the final three seasons as the Tigers? starting left tackle. He split time between left and right tackle during his redshirt freshman season of 1996. A native of Montgomery, Ala., where he attended Sidney Lanier High School, James was born on January 12, 1977.

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Chris Akins is a cancer.


Good luck with him.


On November 23, 2001 him and Mike Sherman got into a fight on the sidelines and had to have players restrain them from getting into a fist fight.


Be wary of Akins.

Akins is a cancer because he almost got into a fight with Sherman on the sidelines? Get real and stop bringing the Packers into every thread. Maybe Sherman is a nut job who tries to re-live his youth by trying to fight people like Akins and Sapp. He went after Sapp, remember that? Sherman needs to get a grip on reality.

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Guest marlins02

i read in the herald i think it was that madison's agent said they are very close to finalizing the restructured deal and it could be done by monday

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