Posted: 9:38 am Monday, August 1st, 2011
By Post Staff
The Dolphins’ next free agent signing won’t be a quarterback, but could be another player who will help out the quarterback.
The Dolphins are spending the day with former Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara, sources confirmed to the Post on Sunday. If all goes well with the workout and interviews, and everything checks out medically, O’Hara, 34, could be a Dolphin by the end of the day.
But the medical part is the big question surrounding O’Hara. Though he has been named to three straight Pro Bowls, O’Hara only played in six games last year after having surgery to correct injuries in both feet. But O’Hara feels confident enough in his feet that he declined to renegotiate his $3.45 million base salary with the Giants last week, opting instead to be cut and hit the open market.
O’Hara, entering his 12th season, would bolster an already strong offensive line. He has played both guard and center, and could allow Dolphins coach Tony Sparano to play rookie first-rounder Mike Pouncey at right guard this year.
Though Pouncey is beginning camp as a center, he only played it one year in college (in 2010) and it didn’t go well, with Pouncey muffing more than a dozen snaps. Center is an important position — he anchors the line and handles the ball on every play — and it makes sense for the Dolphins to opt for a trusty veteran like O’Hara over an inexperienced rookie like Pouncey.
O’Hara goes way back with Sparano. Undrafted out of Rutgers in 2000, O’Hara signed with the Browns as a free agent, and Sparano was his first position coach. He played four years for Cleveland before signing with the Giants in 2004. In seven seasons in New York he made three Pro Bowls, was named an All-Pro in 2008 and won a Super Bowl.
If he signs, it could be bad news for John Jerry, last year’s third-round pick, or Joe Berger, last year’s starting center. The Dolphins generally keep three or four backups, and Nate Garner, Lydon Murtha, Ray Feinga, Allen Barbre, Matt Kopa and James Marten are all in the mix. So far this week, Feinga has been ahead of Jerry on the depth chart.