With the Dolphins having started working on changes in preparation for the 2004 season, we take a look back at their just-completed season and examine every player's performance. Today we look at cornerback Sam Madison.

Coming into the 2003 season:

Madison had something to prove heading into last season. His performance in 2002 had been a little bit uneven and there was a lot of controversy over comments he had made, both involving the defense being too predictable and also his criticism of a teammate's for campaigning for her husband to make the Pro Bowl (it was clear to everyone the player in question was Patrick Surtain). Ironically, Madison had wound up in the Pro Bowl following the 2002 season as an injury replacement for, who else, Surtain.

His performance in 2003:

Any evaluation of the Dolphins cornerbacks has to be prefaced by a comment from Denver coach Mike Shanahan, who once told us the Dolphins put more pressure on their corners than just about any team in the league. Having said that, Madison's performance again was uneven in 2003. On the one hand, he made his share of plays, including three interceptions. But he also was picked on probably more often than at any point in his career. Madison seemed to get caught too many times peaking into the backfield and losing his man in the process. All in all, he played fairly well, but not nearly as well as he had earlier in his career.

His future with the team:

Madison carries a salary-cap number of over $8 million for next season, and there's no way he's coming back at that number. A couple of things could happen. The Dolphins could restructure his contract to spread it out a little more. They also could cut him and re-sign him at a smaller salary, although Madison's agent has said he will not accept a pay cut. The Dolphins can also try to see if they can trade Madison and get something in return. Or they could just flat-out release him. The bottom line is that Madison quite frankly isn't the cornerback he once was, and it's probably only 50-50 he'll be back in 2004.

Grade for 2003: C+.

Dolphins Report Top Stories