Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano confirmed Wednesday the team has moved Vernon Carey to the right guard position along the offensive line. Carey had just returned to the team after missing Monday’s practice for personal reasons.
Carey was shrouded in mystery late Tuesday after the team asked him to take a pay cut to remain with team. Carey had a salary cap cost of $7 million this season, and given the fact that he was practicing, he obviously agreed to a restructuring. Just don’t ask Coach Sparano about it.
“I’m not going to tell you about anything he agreed to, if he agreed to,” Sparano said. “I’m happy to have Vernon back out here.”
Carey stands 6’5” and weighs roughly 340 pounds, which is just the size Sparano looks for at guard. In his stint as offensive line coach in Dallas, he had 6’6”, 360 pound Leonard Davis at guard.
The move of Carey to guard has been expected by most observers, but the Fins have steadfastly said Carey was a tackle…until Wednesday.
Now, a position of weakness along the interior of the offensive line may become an area of strength for the offense. Carey will man the guard position alongside rookie Mike Pouncey at center and Richie Incognito at left guard.
Carey’s move does create a hole at the right tackle position, but the Fins may have filled that role this week when they signed former Dallas Cowboys right tackle Marc Colombo. The former Cowboy looked worn out near the end in Dallas and was cut because his pay exceeded his production.
The Dolphins are keeping their options open along the line. The Fins have had New York Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara in to talk contracts and the Fins have reportedly reached out to Davis.
Any potential signings can be made thanks to Carey agreeing to restructure his contract to remain with the team.
It’s not known exactly how much money the Dolphins were able to save, but it could give the team enough cash to go after o-line depth, safety help, help at tight end, or finally bringing in QB help.
But as for the offensive line, Sparano is comfortable with what he has in camp. At least that’s what he’s saying publicly, with the Dolphins, deceit is always the key.
“I feel pretty good about the prospects of the offensive line, really good,” Sparano said.
But, the bottom line for owner Stephen Ross to analyze is that Sparano is a former offensive line coach and the Dolphins line has been a source of problems ever since Sparano took over. Ross has to determine if he wants to stick with a guy who hasn’t produced at the position he knows best.