The Dolphins have two particularly noteworthy free agents-to-be in defensive end Olivier Vernon and running back Lamar Miller, but they don’t view them as equal priorities. Instead, the Dolphins believe retaining Vernon is more important than re-signing Miller, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. That doesn’t necessarily mean Miller is done in Miami, though, as Jackson adds that the club will try to keep both players. However, if the Dolphins are unable to afford Miller, they’re confident they have a capable in-house replacement in Jay Ajayi. On the other hand, the Dolphins don’t think they’d fare as well in finding someone to take over for Vernon, reports Jackson, who notes that they could slap the $15MM franchise tag on him if they’re unable to reach a long-term deal.
Click here to read more about Vernon, Miller and other issues facing the Dolphins in PFR’s offseason preview of the team.
As the clock ticks closer to Super Bowl 50, here’s more from around the NFL:
- The league isn’t turning its back on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel amid his off-field issues, according to its executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent. “We wish to give Johnny as much support as he is willing to receive. We can’t make anyone do anything,” Vincent said Saturday, per The Associated Press. “I’ve seen his father make a statement, reach out to the family to make sure the family knows the National Football League, the Cleveland Browns, the players association — everyone’s here to support you, but you have to embrace it.”
- 49ers receiver Torrey Smith believes quarterback Blaine Gabbert is right for new head coach Chip Kelly‘s offense and could give Colin Kaepernick legitimate competition for the starting job (if Kaepernick isn’t traded or cut in the coming months, of course). “I think people assume that because of this offense that Kap’s the best fit. But Blaine can do everything. He may not be as fast, but Blaine housed a 40-yard run last year, he can run, man. He can get rid of the ball quick. I think it’s going to be an interesting battle,” Smith told KNBR (link via CSNBayArea.com).
- The Lions may soon be in need of receiving help with Calvin Johnson leaning toward retirement, and it so happens that pending free agent wideout Anquan Boldin spoke glowingly of head coach Jim Caldwell on Saturday (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). Although he has been one of the league’s most productive receivers throughout the last decade-plus, the 35-year-old Boldin is nowhere near Johnson’s caliber at this stage. While Boldin hauled in a respectable 69 catches with San Francisco in 2015-16, it was for the second-lowest yardage total of his career (789).