Job Review: Tight ends

Now that the 2007 Dolphins mercifully is behind us, we try to figure out what went wrong. In this series, we'll examine every position on the team, evaluate performances from this past season and assess the likelihood of each player returning in 2008. This installment features the tight ends.

AARON HALTERMAN

Contract status: Signed through 2008

2007 Season: Halterman began the season on the practice squad and wound up being activated when David Martin was banged up a little bit. Halterman pretty much was a non-factor, and his most memorable play came when he failed to come up with a catch in the back of the end zone in the game at Philadelphia.

Will he be back?: Halterman should be back for training camp next summer, but unless he makes considerable improvement he's not someone who has a long NFL career ahead of him. In fact, if he's on the roster next season, the Dolphins are in bad shape at tight end.

DAVID MARTIN

Contract status: Signed through 2009

2007 Season: There were a lot of disappointing players this past season, and Martin is right up there near the top of the list. He was signed as a free agent from Green Bay with the idea that his career was about to take off and he'd more than adequately replace Randy McMichael. Say what you want about McMichael, but he was way better than what Martin showed in 2007. Martin dropped way too many passes and his blocking also was rather unimpressive. Sadly, the only word to describe Martin in 2007 was "flop."

Will he be back?: If Martin does return next season, it's because the Dolphins couldn't find anybody better. Martin won't get cut because of salary reasons since he's scheduled to make only $730,000 and $745,000 the next two seasons, but he might be let go based on performance. At this point, it probably would be a surprise if Martin was the starter in 2008.

JUSTIN PEELLE

Contract status: Signed through 2008

2007 Season: Peelle easily was the best tight end on the team in 2007, but that speaks more of Martin's ineptitude. Peelle dropped a couple of passes, too, but for the most part he was reliable as a pass catcher, even though he's not a downfield threat in the least because of his lack of speed. As a blocker, Peelle was merely OK.

Will he be back?: Based on performance alone, Peelle is a lot more deserving of being brought back in 2008 than Martin, but the reality is Peelle's $1.3 million might be deemed a little expensive for someone who's really a No. 2 tight end. We'd put his return right now at about 50-50, with the notation that he deserves to be back more than Martin.

STATE OF THE POSITION

Not good. The Dolphins got rid of McMichael because he was a bit inconsistent and never was able to take that next step to become an elite tight end. Well, the Dolphins took a step back last season at the position because what they had clearly was unacceptable. Don't be surprised to see the Dolphins take a tight end in one of the first three rounds of the 2008 draft because this position clearly needs an upgrade.


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