Green Released: The Fallout

The Dolphins made a somewhat surprising move on Wednesday when they terminated the contract of cornerback Eric Green. The move wasn't so much a surprise based on the way Green had played, but rather because of how sudden it came and because he had been one of the team's only three free agent acquisitions this past offseason. So what happened? And what does the move mean?

What happened was that Green simply was getting beat with way too much regularity, both in practice and during Monday night's preseason opener against Jacksonville when he allowed three completions without very tight coverage.

It was only one game, but it followed poor practices by Green, who was getting constantly beat there as well.

Coach Tony Sparano addressed the media before the move was announced, so we don't have an official reason for the move, but it pretty simply appears Green would be a liability for this defense.

Ironically, Sparano was asked about Green after Wednesday's morning practice and he said what he was looking for from the cornerback was consistency.

But there was no consistency, and this was very disappointing for the Dolphins. And here's why: Green represented the best insurance policy the team in the event that both Sean Smith and Vontae Davis struggled as rookies.

So now the options behind those two include Jason Allen, Joey Thomas and Nathan Jones.

Allen doesn't look like he's ready to be a starter anytime soon, Thomas isn't a proven commodity, and Jones is better suited for the nickel role.

What that means is that the pressure suddenly increased for Smith and Davis. One of them really needs to deliver.

Smith has been that guy so far, both with his work in practice and in Monday night's game when he picked off a Jacksonville pass in the end zone in the second half. Davis, meanwhile, was flagged three times in the game, although two of those came on special teams.

Sparano said Wednesday that Smith made mistakes, too, during the game, while Davis shouldn't be judged solely by the three penalties.

Still, from this vantage point, it's clear that Smith is way ahead of Davis at this time, and it seems a pretty safe call to say it will be Smith who will start at right cornerback opposite veteran Will Allen when the Dolphins open the regular season Sept. 13 at Atlanta.

In the meantime, don't discount the possibility of the Dolphins bringing in a veteran cornerback to re-establish that insurance policy that was lost when Green failed to perform.

Smith and Davis both have ability, but trusting a rookie cornerback can be a dangerous proposition. That's why Wednesday's move has put the Dolphins in a potentially tough spot.

This turned out to be a bad free agent decision by the Dolphins, but it all will have cost them in the end was Green's $200,000 signing bonus.

And a little peace of mind.


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