The Miami Dolphins have added a second newcomer to the team's rebuilt offensive line, which is presently under construction.
According to league sources, the Dolphins have signed veteran offensive guard Shelley Smith to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million. Smith's new contract features $1.5 million in guaranteed money, and should put him in the driver's seat to earn a starting spot in 2013.
“Shelley is a 26-year old ascending player who will be a good fit for our offensive line," Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said.
Smith, who is 6-foot-4, 312 pounds, visited the New York Giants and New England Patriots before coming to Davie on Friday, where he passed a physical.
He's expected to compete for one of the two vacant starting spot at offensive guard, and could potentially join new left tackle Branden Albert and center Mike Pouncey, two 2013 Pro Bowler, on Miami's rebuilt offensive line.
ProFootballFocus.com rates Smith as the NFL's 23rd best guard last season. The website declared him the NFL's fourth best run blocking offensive guard in 2013.
However, this former 2010 sixth-round pick has started just eight games the past two seasons. He played just 371 snaps last season as part of an offensive guard rotation.
The season before Smith played 360 snaps at left and right guard. He's allowed five sacks and 16 hurries in the 731 snaps he's played the past two seasons.
Smith does have ties to new Dolphins offensive line coach John Benton, who coached him for two seasons in Houston, the team that drafted Smith. And he athletic enough to fit the zone blocking scheme the Dolphins plan to utilize.
Smith will likely compete with Nate Garner, Dallas Thomas and Sam Brenner for the vacant starting spots. Garner has the versatility to play every position on the offensive line. Thomas, the team's third-round pick in 2013, was a college guard at Tennessee, but the Dolphins have been grooming him to play right tackle. Brenner started four games as an undrafted rookie for Miami in 2013.
The Dolphins are still searching for a starting right tackle and another starting caliber guard. The team could go the aged veteran route like last year, when they signed Tyson Clabo and Lance Louis, or they could use a pair of its 2014 draft picks to address those position.
Smith becomes the sixth signing the Dolphins have made this offseason. Miami re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive tackle Randy Starks, and signed Albert to a five-year, $47 million contract. The Dolphins also signed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Louis Delmas to the team this week.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun