Dolphins star defensive end Jason Taylor is doing all he can to get traded out of Miami. The Green Bay Packers, with questions on offense and perhaps issues on the defensive line, could use another big-time defensive player to help offset the retirement of Brett Favre.
It seems only a matter of time when the Dolphins will trade the NFL's 2006 defensive player of the year. The question is, will Packers general manager Ted Thompson deviate from his build-from-within and build-with-youth approaches to acquire a difference-making defender?
In Miami on Wednesday, new coach Tony Sparano revealed Taylor is planning to boycott the Dolphins' entire offseason program, including training camp. That signal is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Taylor wants out.
"Here's what I know. What I know is that Jason Taylor — and I'm glad we know this, we've gotten the information and that's important — I know that Jason is not going to be at any OTAs, I know that Jason is not going to be at any minicamps, and I know that right now Jason is not going to be at training camp," Sparano said.
A game of chicken appears to be brewing. Taylor's boycott would cost him about $300,000 in fines. Dolphins vice president of football operations Bill Parcells has said the Dolphins have no intention of trading Taylor, saying he'll have to play for Miami or retire. Taylor — with his new-found fame from "Dancing with the Stars" — has countered by saying he might retire if he's not traded.
Retirement doesn't seem to be a desired option for either side. Not when the rebuilding Dolphins can get a draft pick or player in return, and Taylor could force a trade to a contending team and may need another good season or two to be Hall of Fame-worthy.
Beyond these clash of egos — wrote the Miami Herald's Greg Cote, "You know how some animals urinate to mark territory? That's sort of like what Parcells does when he comes to a new team" — Taylor probably isn't the best fit for Miami's new 3-4 defense. Plus, Taylor will turn 34 just before this season kicks off, and the Dolphins drafted defensive end Phillip Merling with the first pick of the second round of last month's draft.
So, if Taylor doesn't fit in Miami, would he fit in Green Bay? No doubt, the answer is yes. The Packers' pass rush faded last season, with almost no pressure applied to Eli Manning during the NFC championship game. Taylor, with his 117 career sacks, including 11 last year, certainly would help.
The need for defensive line help grew this week, when coach Mike McCarthy revealed last year's No. 1 draft pick, defensive tackle Justin Harrell, underwent back surgery.
The Packers are counting on Harrell to replace Corey Williams. Harrell's injury problems, however, make counting on him an iffy proposition. Thompson could solve that question mark by trading for Taylor. He'd replace Cullen Jenkins in the starting lineup, with Jenkins helping to fill the void at defensive tackle.
However, you know Thompson. He treats draft picks like his very own reservoir of free gasoline. Plus, Thompson at every turn has shown he'd rather go with youth.
Perhaps it all boils down to whether Thompson feels he has a Super Bowl contender on his hands. If he thinks the Packers could reach the promised line this season, maybe he makes the deal. Players capable of sacking the quarterback 10 or 12 times a season aren't available very often. It's time for Thompson to make his first bold move as general manager, and send a clear message that this team is ready to win now.
Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com