There is growing speculation in south Florida that the Dolphins are ready to part ways with volatile outside linebacker Joey Porter.
Porter has been at odds with the Dolphins' coaching staff over his playing time, and reportedly said in a radio interview that he doesn't want to return to the team in 2010. He is due to make $3.6 million next year.
With the likelihood of an uncapped year in 2010, the Dolphins can clear Porter's salary with no cap implications moving forward. And given Porter's testy relationship with head coach Tony Sparano, it's a good bet the Dolphins will dump him.
One potential landing spot: Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense. Ryan seems to enjoy coaching players with Porter's passion, which occasionally boils over in fits of temper. And the Jets can use another pass rushing outside linebacker in their scheme. The question for the Jets is whether Porter still has enough left. He'll be 33 in March, and is coming off a season in which he had nine sacks. He had 17 1/2 the year before.
Porter is certainly worth a look-see from the Jets, and if Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum determine that he still has enough football life left in him, it makes perfect sense to sign him. The Jets can still use more pass rushing help, despite the presence of outside linebackers Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. The fact that Vernon Gholston, who was projected to become a dominant pass rusher in the 3-4 alignment, has been a bust makes it even more worthwhile to consider Porter.
Even if the Jets decide to draft another outside 'backer, their win-now mode makes Porter a viable option in the immediate term.
And in case you're wondering if the Jets could actually sign Porter because of a new rule that prohibits the final eight playoff teams from signing free agents, there is this: Final eight teams can't sign unrestricted free agents whose contracts have expired after the 2009 season until they begin to lose their own free agents to other teams. However, according to a league source familiar with the new rules, Porter would not fall into this category because he would have been released. Therefore, the Jets, or any other team - including final eight playoff teams - would be eligible to sign him.
Here's more on the new rules for free agency from today's Newsday.