Re-Sign or Release: S Travares Tillman

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 safety Travares Tillman.

When he joined the Dolphins: Tillman signed a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent when he came over from the Carolina Panthers on March 4, 2005.

His 2006 season: Tillman started the first seven games at strong safety before being replaced in the starting lineup by Yeremiah Bell. He ended up playing in 14 games and finished with 42 tackles with three passes defensed. Tillman also had four tackles and a forced fumble on special teams.

2006 base salary: $585,000

Forecast: Tillman has started 17 games in his two seasons in Miami, but the truth is he has been a major liability in coverage. Nick Saban somehow decided to keep him in the lineup for seven games last season and the secondary's play clearly picked up after Bell stepped in for Tillman in the starting lineup. Yes, Tillman probably was better in run support than Bell, but that didn't come close to making up for the huge edge Bell had in pass coverage. Tillman's ability to play special teams came in handy, but the bottom line is he remained a major disappointment.

Projection: From either side, there's absolutely no reason to expect Tillman to re-sign with the Dolphins. Tillman didn't do enough in 2005 or 2006 to be offered a new contract, and one would think he would love nothing more than a change of scenery at about this time. There won't be a bidding war for his services, we can assure you, but there figures to be a team out there with a need in the secondary and/or on special teams who might offer him a contract. It, again, would be a major surprise if he were to return to the Dolphins.


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