Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Porter Signs with Dolphins

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting on its website that Joey Porter has signed a five-year, $32,000,000 contract with the Miami Dolphins. According to the report Mr. Porter will receive a signing bonus of $12,000,000 "and $8 million dollars in guaranteed salary."

All fans of the Black & Gold wish Joey Porter well; and, despite some of the hysteria that has been on display since his unceremonious departure, he will certainly go down in Steelers' history as one of the best, most charasmatic figures to ever wear the uniform. However, the view from here is that this signing represents a bad bargain for both the team and Joey Porter.

To this point in his career Mr. Porter, who turns 30 years old on March 22nd, has played in 122 career games. By the time this new contract expires Mr. Porter will be 35, and will have played in 202 games. Why is this a big deal? Well, the sixteen linebackers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame averaged 168 games played in their careers -- a figure that Mr. Porter will eclipse (barring injuries) with the Dolphins' 15th game of the 2009 season (at which point this new contract will have two seasons remaining). Certainly players are better conditioned today than ever, but one doesn't have to go out on much of a limb to say that Joey Porter will be slowing down by the conclusion of the 2009 season, so the potential salary cap implications could be significant.

Also, from "just" a football perspective, it isn't clear that the Dolphins are the best fit for Mr. Porter. Certainly defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be employing the 3-4 scheme, but it is anticipated that Jason Taylor will drop back from the end position to play the right side, with Joey Porter going to the left side. And while both Mr. Porter and Mr. Taylor may be regularly blitzing on passing downs, it seems more likely that Jason Taylor will be the "featured" linebacker while Mr. Porter will assume something approximating a supporting role.

Joey Porter out of the limelight? Say it ain't so.

Of course the Steelers are scheduled to host the Dolphins at some point during the 2007 season, so for at least one week we'll all be reminded of why we loved it so much to have Joey Porter amongst us.

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