Believe it or not the easy part is out of the way. The Chiefs have agreed to a deal in principle with Patrick Surtain in the event a trade can be worked out. Its painfully obvious that the Chiefs want to make this deal happen and so do the Dolphins who are going to be cap strapped if they do not free themselves of Surtain's contract.
The Dolphins are roughly $650,000 under the salary cap after signing CB Mario Edwards formerly of Tampa Bay. The deal for Edwards was for the NFL minimum. He could have signed a more lucrative deal with other teams but he has been told by the Dolphins that as soon as the Surtain matter was settled; that the two sides had hoped to work out a long term deal.
As it stands now the Chiefs and the Dolphins are in a tug of war over compensation for the rights to Surtain. The Chiefs have only offered a 4th round pick and the Dolphins are hell bent on getting the Chiefs 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft.
Last night reports surfaced that the Chiefs were willing to back down and pony up the second round pick but that might not be the case as the two sides appear no closer to make this deal happen. Instead they are each drawing lines in the sand and raging their case in the media.
"It's up to them working out a trade," a source close to the negotiations said. "Both sides are playing it up with the media."
Last week Nick Saban had said the Dolphins would consider keeping Surtain and then franchising him in 2006. That would mean the Dolphins would be obligated to pay Surtain $16 million over the next two years. That's a situation Surtain and his agent, Gary Uberstine, would welcome. But Miami is suffering cap woes and doesn¹t have that kind of wiggle room to payout those kinds of numbers that's the reason Surtain was being shopped in the first place.
"I think it may go all the way up until the draft," the source concluded.
Translation? The two sides will eventually work out a deal.
Still there is no doubt over the course of the next two weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, you'll hear lots of rumors on Surtain including the latest one being bantered around the internet this morning.
According to a Chicago Bears message board post, the Windy City football team apparently offered the Dolphins the 2nd round pick they covet from the Chiefs in exchange for Surtain.
Though the Bears have the cap room they were burned severely by the signing of Chiefs tackle John Tait; that they'll be reluctant to add another high priced veteran. I doubt that Surtain would go from playing for the Dolphins to the Bears when he has a chance to play for the Chiefs.
But with news out of Miami this morning that they are willing trade down in the first round to acquire more draft picks, it even further drives home the point that they'll be forced to dump Surtain prior to the draft when teams have to make room for the their rookie signing pools.
Stay tuned because this bumpy ride is anything but over because both sides are not willing to budge off their initial demands.
Scout.com/NFL Expert Denis Savage contributed to this report.