Can Fish Flops Catch On With Colts?

The Dolphins cleaned house on Monday, releasing nine players from the roster, including a number of veterans. Can the Colts use anyone that wasn't good enough to stay on a 1-15 team?

On Monday, the Miami Dolphins terminated the contracts of wide receiver Marty Booker, quarterback Trent Green, tackle L.J. Shelton and defensive tackle Keith Traylor. In addition, the team waived tackle Anthony Alabi, defensive tackle Anthony Bryant, tackle Marion Dukes, defensive tackle Marquay Love and tackle Joe Toledo.

Since Alabi, Bryant, Dukes, and Love are on waivers, the Colts may not be able successfully claim them, since there are a number of teams ahead of them on the waiver wire. Plus, Indianapolis probably doesn't want to take the chance of putting in a claim and having to honor it. 

Alabi was drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.  He's spent his three NFL seasons operating primarily as a backup, switching between left and right tackle and amassing a total of six starts.

Anthony Alabi
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At 6 feet, 5 inches, 315 pounds, he's a little too big to play either tackle position for the Colts and doesn't possess the lateral movement that Indianapolis looks for in its lineman.  He also turns 27 on Saturday, which is very old for someone who is still considered a work in progress.

The Colts have plenty of other younger, more promising players along the offensive line and will most likely add a versatile veteran if they are looking to improve their depth.

Plus, it appears that Alabi is off the market for now, as the Denver Broncos claimed him off waivers Wednesday morning.

Dukes is similar to Alabi, except for the fact that he's younger (23), shorter (6 feet, 3 inches) and, given the fact that he was an undrafted free agent and still shows some promise, will probably be picked up by another team before Indianapolis has a shot at him.

He would be an intriguing prospect to bring into training camp if he's still around and could very well find a home on the practice squad if everything goes his way, but he's not exactly the best prospect. The Colts have better players on the roster now.

At almost six and a half feet tall and tipping the scales at 335-340 pounds, Toledo is certainly a massive guy with some upside.  He was drafted in the fourth round by Miami in 2006, tried his hand at guard, was placed on injured reserve before the 2006 season, then was placed on the physically unable to perform list in 2007.

If he can stay healthy long enough to show a team what he can do, he's got a chance. — just not on the Indianapolis roster.

Bryant and Love are both nose tackle prospects that are better suited to playing in the 3-4 defense.  That is also the bulk of the NFL training and experience that they've had — though Bryant was originally drafted by Tampa — so they'll probably catch on with a 3-4 team such as San Diego, Cleveland, or Dallas, who could all use a few more bodies at the position.

Trent Green has finished the last two seasons on injured reserve and turns 38 in July.  Traylor is another 3-4 nose tackle that is a space eater in the middle, but has lost whatever step he may have had heading into his 18th NFL season.  He is generously listed at 340 pounds and will turn 39 before the season starts.

It would be safe to say the Colts have no interest in either Green and Taylor, and both players are probably strongly considering retirement.

Out of the nine men shown the door in Miami on Monday, Booker and Shelton show the most potential.  Given the fact that they were cut by the worst team in football, they don't exactly have a great deal of leverage at the negotiating table.

More than likely, they are both looking to resurrect their lagging careers and put the Dolphins franchise behind them.  The best way to do that is to have success with a winning franchise after signing a short-term contract.

To his credit, Booker has 509 career receptions for 6,311 yards and 34 touchdowns, which is far more production than the third through sixth receivers currently on the Colts roster.

Those numbers are not particularly impressive over the course of a nine-year career, but become easier to swallow when you realize that the first five were as part of an anemic Bears passing attack and the last four were with Miami, which has seen four different head coaches and a revolving door policy at the quarterback position during Booker's time there.

He has never been paired up with a player remotely approaching Peyton Manning's caliber and hasn't had the chance to work alongside fine receivers the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.

Not only do the Colts need some type of veteran insurance in the event that Harrison does not completely recover from his knee injury — or worse yet, retires — but it could also be beneficial to have someone in the locker room to mentor the receivers who was never an Indianapolis Colt.

Throughout a battered career playing mostly on losing teams, Booker will set an example for the young players on the unit, showing them that not everyone gets the chance to play for a team that is an annual Super Bowl contender.

Wayne and Harrison will show the youngsters how to work, prepare, and establish a rapport with Manning on the field.  Booker, through his attitude and exuberance, will show them how lucky they are to be in that situation.

L.J. Shelton
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Shelton is a similar player that has had a similar career.  Before his days as a Dolphin, he was drafted by the struggling Arizona Cardinals in 1999, was released in 2004, then spent a year in Cleveland, then needed to endure the last two unstable seasons in Miami.

He is definitely big for a Colts tackle at 6 feet, 6 inches, 345 pounds, but he has good feet and moves well for a man his size.

His issue has never been his abilities or his potential; his issue has always been his motivation.  If Indianapolis signs him to a one- or two-year contract at the veteran minimum, they are trading minimal risk for the possibility of great reward.

Shelton can play both tackle positions and, as a veteran over 30 must understand that he's on his last chance, so he should be motivated.

If not, the Colts can sign him, take ColtPower's advice and release Ryan Diem, and feel comfortable that, if Charlie Johnson or Tony Ugoh underperforms or get injured, they have a capable backup at both positions.

The disclaimer to all of this is that these are moves that would need to be made in early May — after the draft, but before the first minicamps.  At that point, the price will be right and Indianapolis will be able to set the market for their services.

Plus, for two men that have benefited from relatively safe jobs and financial security, the prospect of joining a winning organization after three months of being unemployed will make them jump for the opportunity — at any price.

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