One of the most intriguing free agent names for the Miami Dolphins this offseason is center Ted Karras, who did just about everything right in the 2020 season to earn a new contract but still may not.
Despite playing all 16 games for the Dolphins after coming over from the New England Patriots on a one-year contract and providing needed offensive line stability for the first time in multiple seasons, Miami can still upgrade.
Green Bay Not Expected to Re-Sign All-Pro Center Corey Linsley
Veteran center Corey Linsley is not expected to be brought back by the Green Bay Packers, per multiple sources, including himself.
Linsley said following the Packers’ NFC Championship loss that no contract talks have surfaced between him and Green Bay and there have been no reported developments since mid-January.
“My agent hasn’t had any talks with the Packers,” Linsley said one day after the NFC Championship game. “That’s obviously not to say something couldn’t happen, but up to this point, it’s kind of been complimentary but nothing of substance. … But I felt like I put out some good film (and) hopefully a team values that and we’ll move into free agency with that in mind.”
Walter Payton Man-of-the-Year Nominee Made Comments Hinting at Parting with Packers Community
Additionally, the Walter Payton Man-of-the-Year nominee for the Packers said he had a talk with those close to him and said he hopes to always keep those community relationships within reach no matter where he is in the country, or what team he’s on.
For an active member of the community to hint at distancing relations within the community points toward some sort of time apart. Will it be because Linsley will be playing for a team other than the Packers for the first time in his career?
Green Bay Struggling with its Salary Cap
Furthermore, it’s important to note that Green Bay is $11.45 million dollars over the NFL’s projected salary cap, and re-signing Linsley, who should be paid as arguably the top center in the league, doesn’t help its situation.
Now into March, free agency is looming, and the No. 1 center is on the market.
Would Miami Really Swap Karras with the Older Linsley?
But why would Miami swap Karras with Linsley who’s two years older?
Valid question, but when broken down, Linsley’s production outweighs Karras’ and this particular position is often played longer than most in the NFL.
Linsley is coming off his best season.
Linsley Posts “Jaw-Dropping” Numbers, Accolades in 2020-21
He allowed a career-low, and jaw-dropping, 1.7-percent pressure rate with being responsible for one sack allowed solely on him (12 total sacks for the offensive line) on 6,253 snaps. Linsley also earned a career-high Pro Football Focus grade of 89.9 and was named first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2020.
The 2014 fifth-round draft pick also committed zero penalties last season while registering the third-best pass-blocking grade (for centers) and the top run-blocking grade (PFF).
Linsley showcases his blocking in numerous ways on the line and it looks as though quarterback Aaron Rodgers trusts his protection when one really dives into game analysis and film. He is fast when trying to reach a position on the field or when attempting to pick up a defender and executes blocking legally and efficiently.
Karras Struggling to Keep Pace on Rebuilding Dolphins Offensive Line
Karras on the other hand had multiple instances of failing to do either.
Do those things happen? Of course.
But it’s evident Linsley is more polished than Karras in fundamentals and field-IQ.
Karras also stepped into a tough spot however with Miami’s offensive line. The Dolphins could’ve had five-out-of-five new faces on its OL in week one last season after completely revamping its unit in the offseason and NFL Draft.
After drafting three OL rookies and acquiring Karras and tackle Ereck Flowers in free agency, Miami elected to go with four new starters, but did eventually get its third drafted rookie in midway through the season.
Karras was learning a new team, a new scheme and new teammates while half the OL was doing the same, along with adjusting to the league.
Still, Karras only had one more sack solely pinned on him than Linsley with two and did only get hit with three penalties on the season (PFF). Karras did take a hit on overall grade however, earning a 65.3, a more than 20-point decline from Linsley’s 2020 season.
Linsley, Karras Do Deserve Top Contracts in League
Karras’ grade did take a hit overall because of the Dolphins’ rebuilding line, showing his individual work does bode for a top center contract in the league.
With both Karras and Linsley deserving of top contracts, Miami must make a decision.
Continue with rebuilding success and a little bit more youth in Karras where the Dolphins have had a glimpse of what their center position will look like in years to come?
Or jump to a little bit older of a veteran who knows what it’s like to be in a winning program and has proven individual success that can further speed up another component of an already-fast rebuild?