Carey began to show marked progress once he settled in on the right side. In 2007, under the guidance of former Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Carey allowed just three sacks. He gave up 4.5 sacks last season, but was called for just one false start and was never flagged for holding.
By comparison, Jeromey Clary permitted 6.5 sacks last season while jumping offsides five times. Clary allowed four additional sacks during the postseason, making for a grand total of 10.5 sacks ceded in 18 games.
OT Vernon Carey
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee Carey will make it to the open market. Although he is scheduled for unrestricted free agency, the Dolphins will make a push to retain him, according to this story by the Sun Sentinel.
"The Dolphins want Carey back and they will continue to bolster their offensive line," said a league source to the Sentinel.
However, the Bill Parcells era in Miami has been marked by turnover and Carey was drafted by another regime. If he becomes a free agent on Feb. 27, the Dolphins could move quickly to land a replacement, opening the door for another suitor to swoop in.
If the Chargers do come to terms with Carey, it would mark the second consecutive offseason in which San Diego signed a free agent tackle away from Miami. Last year, the Chargers agreed to a two-year contract with former Dolphin L.J. Shelton, who started two games at left tackle for the Chargers and will return as a backup in '09.
Alain Poupart is the publisher of Dolphin Digest and has covered every one of Carey's games since he entered the NFL. To read Poupart's thoughts on the possibility of Carey coming to San Diego, click here.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.