THE GREAT GADSDEN DEBATE

There has been a lot of discussion since last weekend as to whether the Oronde Gadsden situation was handled properly by the Dolphins. But it's also fair to ask whether it was handled the right way from the flip side, Gadsden and his agent.

A few Dolphins players — namely Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain and Brock Marion — came out publicly this week and criticized the team for not giving Gadsden the contract extension he was looking for and which would have convinced him to try playing with an injured wrist.

Given Gadsden's popularity with his teammates and the general solidarity around every locker room, it shouldn't have been that shocking to see teammates sticking up for him.

Even Coach Dave Wannstedt expected it, and almost welcomed it.

"I would expect them to," he said. "They are going to support each other and I would be disappointed if they didn't."

But that does mean they're right?

That's obviously the big question here.

To recap the events that led to Gadsden being placed on injured reserve and replaced by veteran Cris Carter, everything started unfolding after Gadsden was injured in the victory at Denver.

After seeking a second opinion in Dallas, Gadsden found out he had ligament damage in his left wrist. He also was told surgery would be necessary at some point, but he could try to play through the injury if he could withstand the pain.

Gadsden's agent, Michael Todd, later approached the Dolphins and told them Gadsden — who is in the last year of his contract — wouldn't play without a contract extension.

The Dolphins then began making preparations to bring in another receiver should Gadsden opt for surgery now as opposed to after the season.

The Dolphins and Todd couldn't agree on terms — in fact, they weren't even close — so Gadsden decided to go ahead with the surgery, which he had on Wednesday.

Gadsden was said to be looking for a deal that averaged the $1.8 million the Dolphins gave James McKnight last year. But the Dolphins overpaid for McKnight, who is now the fourth wide receiver on the team, and weren't going to make the same mistake with Gadsden.

Let's face it, Gadsden is a good guy with great hands, but he's not likely to get anywhere near $1.8 million on the free agent market.

The one problem is it's also difficult to conduct negotiations with that kind of deadline looming. The Dolphins needed to know sooner rather than later whether Gadsden was going to try playing.

After reports began indicating the Dolphins had agreed to terms with Carter on Saturday, McKnight said that he didn't think the timing was appropriate.

Sorry, but the time was more than appropriate. First, the Dolphins did not announce the signing until Monday and couldn't control what was being leaked to the media.

Second, the Dolphins needed to get this done as soon as possible so that Carter could get as much practice time as possible to get ready for the Nov. 4 game at Green Bay.

This was a case of McKnight venting because Carter coming in meant that he would remain the fourth option at wideout instead of moving up to No. 3 if a lesser receiver — say, a Reidel Anthony — had been brought in.

It was suggest in some circles that the whole Gadsden situation could be divisive for the Dolphins, but the bottom line is the Dolphins did what they felt was best for the team.

As Gadsden said, in a perfect world, the Dolphins would have given him the exact contract he wanted, he would have tried playing, and would have remained productive throughout the season.

But this isn't a perfect world. Gadsden did what he felt he had to do is seeking the contract extension he wanted. And the Dolphins did what they felt they had to do, which was not give out a contract they didn't agree with and then look for a good replacement for Carter.

The whole thing didn't unfold as smoothly as everyone would have liked, but that, like it or not, is the nature of this business.


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