Re-Sign or Release: T Damion McIntosh

With the start of free agency not too far away, we take a look at the Dolphins' free agents and weigh in on which players the Dolphins should bring back and which players they can afford to let go. Today we examine the case of offensive lineman Damion McIntosh.

When he joined the Dolphins: McIntosh signed a six-year contract as an unrestricted free agent in 2004. He was released last offseason before being re-signed to a one-year deal a month later.

His 2006 season: McIntosh began the season as a backup along the offensive line and didn't play in the first three games. He then was inserted into the starting lineup at right guard, where he played two games before switching to left tackle and starting there the last 11 games.

2006 base salary: $585,000

Forecast: The Dolphins offensive line really improved after McIntosh and L.J. Shelton swapped positions before the first game against the Jets, but that was more because Shelton really improved the right guard spot than McIntosh improved the play at left tackle. McIntosh is a serviceable offensive lineman, but he clearly is not an elite player. That was proven last year when McIntosh couldn't find a better offer after being released by the Dolphins and he ended up re-signing for the veteran minimum. Left tackle clearly is a spot where the Dolphins need to upgrade, which means McIntosh only would start by default. Since he probably wouldn't care for that scenario, McIntosh will be shopping his services and hoping to land a starting job somewhere.

Projection: McIntosh is a South Florida product, but that will take a back seat to his desire to land a deal with a team that looks at him as a starter. There probably won't be many teams like that around the league, but there's liable to be one or two with desperate options up front. It's just hard to envision him returning to the Dolphins in a situation where the team is looking to find someone better than him at left tackle.

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