Re-Sign or Release: NT Keith Traylor

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 nose tackle Keith Traylor.

When he joined the Dolphins: Traylor signed a two-year contract with the Dolphins in May of 2005, a little less than three weeks after being released by the New England Patriots.

His 2006 season: Traylor started at nose tackle all 14 games that he played. He missed one game late in the season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and then was placed on injured reserve before the season finale. Traylor finished with 36 tackles, four sacks, four quarterback hurries, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

2006 base salary: $810,000

Forecast: When he's at 100 percent, Traylor remains a tremendous run defender, and he makes a huge difference in the middle of the Dolphins defensive line. The only issue is that he's 37 years old and he has worn down in the second half of his two seasons in Miami.

Projection: The first issue is whether Traylor wants to continue playing. He gave no indication one way or the other late last season, but it has to be on his mind given the amount of pounding his body has taken. From the Dolphins' standpoint, he is a better run defender than any other defensive lineman on the roster, but his age and the question of whether he can make it through the season at age 38 (his birthday is in early September) clearly are factors. The Dolphins have drafted four defensive tackles the last two years -- Kevin Vickerson, Manuel Wright, Rodrique Wright and Frederick Evans -- and the time may have come to see if one of them can take over. Traylor can't command a big salary at this stage of his career, but it's still difficult to see him coming back to the Dolphins. A better guess would be that Traylor will be calling it a career.


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