With the deadline for NFL teams to get under the salary cap rapidly approaching, this is the time of year when roster moves are prevalent and big-name players find themselves looking for work. The Dolphins' flurry of activity on Thursday included some obvious moves and some that might not have been totally expected.

The Dolphins' moves included the release of veterans quarterback Brian Griese, center Tim Ruddy and guard Todd Perry, the re-signing of safety Arturo Freeman and defensive tackle Dario Romero, and the restructuring of the contracts of linebacker Zach Thomas, defensive tackle Tim Bowens and kicker Olindo Mare.

Maybe the most interesting of those developments involved Freeman, who started at strong safety for the Dolphins in 2002 before losing his job to free agent acquisition Sammy Knight last season.

With Freeman re-signed, it now seems logical to think that either Knight or free safety Brock Marion will be let go.

Freeman's natural position is free safety, so that might make the Dolphins lean toward keeping Knight over Marion. Marion also has a high cap number for 2004, $2.65 million compared to $1.7 million for Knight.

Of course, Marion is coming off a Pro Bowl season, although the argument could be made that Knight actually had a better season.

The axing of Griese was a no-brainer, considering his high price tag (almost $7 million cap figure) and the fact he struggled when he subbed for an injured Jay Fiedler last season.

Even though the Dolphins conceivably could re-sign Griese at a cheaper price, it's difficult to envision there would be much interest from either side unless the Dolphins don't bring back Jay Fiedler and can't find anybody else to back up A.J. Feeley and also if Griese can't drum up any interest around the league.

As for the two veteran offensive linemen, it's been clear all along the Dolphins have been looking to upgrade the line, especially in the middle.

Neither Ruddy nor Perry was particularly impressive last season and it's time for the Dolphins to go in another direction.

The possibility has been raised that both veterans might retire; even if they don't, it's difficult to imagine the Dolphins wanting them back.

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