Bryant McKinnie

Sunday Roundup: Smith, Broyles, Johnson

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith entered the league out of the University of Maryland with high upside and explosive play-making ability, but he was still very raw. He struggled with drops in training camp prior to his rookie season in 2011, but he was given a chance to start against the Rams in Week 3 of that year when Lee Evans went down with an injury. In the first quarter in St. Louis, Smith recorded the first three receptions of his pro career; they all went for touchdowns.

Since then, even if Smith has not been the team’s No. 1 wideout by name, he has been the receiving threat that has garnered the most attention from opposing defenses. He has quietly become one of the premier deep threats in the game, but, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, he enters his contract season with very little fanfare. The Ravens would like to extend his contract, but no progress has been made on that front as of yet. Although new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak does not run a pure West Coast offense–which means that Joe Flacco will still have a chance to take a few deep shots per game to burners like Smith and Jacoby Jones–Smith must become a more reliable short and intermediate route runner in order to thrive and earn a contract on par with some of the better receivers in the league. As Florio notes, Smith has every reason to emerge as one of the better wideouts in the game in 2014, and, given his work ethic and the strides he has made thus far, it would be foolish to bet against him.

Now for some more notes from around the league:

Extra Points: Dolphins, Olson, Jets

The Dolphins selected four players in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. The rookies had underwhelming seasons to say the least, and the Sun Sentinel’s Chris Perkins takes a look at the group. Third-overall pick Dion Jordan contributed mostly as a third-down pass rusher in a season riddled by injuries. Cornerback Jamar Taylor and guard Dallas Thomas also suffered through injures while cornerback Will Davis struggled to crack the defensive back rotation.

In spite of the player’s issues, the sophomores are confident they will rebound.

I feel like it was a learning experience for all of us,” said Taylor. “We all came here on our high horse and we got humbled real quick… There’s no doubt in my mind the Dolphins drafted the right players last year.

I’ve got high expectations on myself. I can’t really worry about what everybody else thinks. As long as I get the respect of my teammates and the coaches and myself, and just prove myself right, that I know I can do it, that’s all I worry about.”

Thomas is now the team’s starting left guard, but as Perkins points out, none of the other players are starters. It will be difficult for Jordan, Taylor and Davis to dethrone the veterans ahead of them on the depth chart.

Let’s see what else is going on around the NFL…

AFC Notes: Titans, Dolphins, Browns, Steelers

Reports of free agents visiting teams have slowed down considerably over the last couple weeks, but the Titans are on of the clubs staying busy as they weigh options at several positions. The team brought offensive lineman Mike McGlynn in this week, and is also hosting former Charger and Bronco Shaun Phillips today, according to Paul Kuharsky of (Twitter link). Phillips will turn 33 in May, so his best years are probably behind him, but he’s coming off a 10-sack season, and could still be an asset for a defense, particularly if the price isn’t prohibitive.

As Phillips visits the Titans, let’s check out a few more items from around the AFC….

  • The Dolphins still haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Bryant McKinnie to play right tackle, though a signing likely wouldn’t happen until after the draft, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • New GM Ray Farmer and the Browns haven’t tipped their hand when it comes to the fourth overall pick, but wide receiver Josh Gordon thinks the club will use the selection on a quarterback, as he said on SportsCenter today (link via Pat McManamon of Gordon also suggested that Johnny Manziel would probably be the top signal-caller on his personal draft board.
  • The Steelers will probably need to create some cap space if they hope to sign Maurice Jones-Drew or LeGarrette Blount, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who suggests that restructuring Lawrence Timmons‘ contract could do the trick.
  • Joel Corry of explores whether the Broncos have mortgaged their future by going all-in on free agency this offseason. Corry concludes that most of Denver’s big contracts are flexible enough that the team may not be in bad shape long-term.
  • The Bills have officially named their seven representatives for a committee that will explore the possibility of building a new stadium in the area, writes Mike Rodak of Erie County previously appointed seven members to the group, and New York State added five.
  • Indiana running back Stephen Houston worked out for nearly an hour with Patriots running back Ivan Fears today, tweets Tony Pauline of

East Notes: Jackson, Browner, Giants, Dolphins

Earlier this month, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer shot down rumors suggesting the Eagles could trade or release DeSean Jackson this offseason, but that didn’t stop the wide receiver from reading those earlier reports himself. According to Tim McManus of, Jackson is “troubled” by what has been written about him and is unsure about his standing on the team, while the Eagles have yet to contact him to offer him assurance. While it may not be a significant issue at this point, it has become “a bit of a distraction,” one of Jackson’s confidantes tells McManus.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Brandon Browner‘s three-year deal with the Patriots has a base value of $12.35MM, but can be worth up to $16.8MM. Field Yates and Mike Reiss of break down exactly what the cornerback’s contract looks like, and how he can reach those incentives.
  • The Giants had, and may still have, some interest in free agent defensive end Robert Ayers, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. Ayers is visiting the Bengals tomorrow.
  • The Dolphins haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who is willing to move over to right tackle for his next team, as he said on WQAM (link via Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel). The veteran lineman also suggested he may wait until after May’s draft to sign.
  • Cortland Finnegan‘s two-year contract with the Dolphins includes a $2MM signing bonus, a $3.5MM guaranteed base salary in 2014, and a $5.45MM non-guaranteed base in 2015, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Dolphins Rumors: Martin, Hickey, McKinnie

While the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito text messages obtained by The Big Lead have produced the major Dolphins-related story of the last 24 hours, it’s unlikely that either player ever wears a Miami uniform again. Incognito is a free agent, but new GM Dennis Hickey will be tasked with making a move with Martin, who will almost certainly be either traded or waived before the 2014 season gets underway. Speaking of Hickey, his contract has been a key point of discussion amidst Tuesday’s other Dolphins updates, so let’s dive in and round up the latest….

  • Citing multiple sources,’s James Walker reported today that Hickey’s deal with the Dolphins is for just two years. Assuming that’s true, it would expire at the same time as the contract for head coach Joe Philbin, after the 2015 season.
  • According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, however, the Dolphins are denying the ESPN report, saying that Hickey’s contract is for more than two years (Twitter link). The team didn’t specify the length of the deal, so I wonder if it’s a matter of semantics — perhaps there’s a third-year team option after the first two years, for instance.
  • As Walker noted in his piece, most general managers receive deals for between three and five years. The length of Hickey’s deal would be telling, since it would signal whether the club is invested long-term in its new GM or is giving itself an out to potentially make another change in a year or two.
  • In an interview with, offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie expressed a desire to re-sign with the Dolphins this offseason. Said the 34-year-old free-agent-to-be: “I plan on playing for a couple more years and it would be great to just finish my career [in Miami] where I already have a home.”