By Omar Kelly
11:59 AM EDT, June 14, 2013
Free agent fullback Vonta Leach will take his time weighing his options, one of which includes an offer from the Miami Dolphins.
According to Leach’s agent Ralph Vitolo, the veteran fullback, whom the Baltimore Ravens released earlier this week after being unable to reach an agreement on how to restructure a contact that carried a $4.33 salary-cap figure, continues his dialog with the Dolphins, and a few other teams.
But there is “no time frame on a decision,” Vitolo said.
The Dolphins, whom Leach visited on Wednesday, and the Houston Texans are the two teams openly pursuing the three-time Pro Bowler, who is viewed as one of the NFL’s best lead blockers. USA Today claims the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos might reach out to Leach, and the Newark Star-Ledger reported that the New York Giants have “reached out” to Leach’s camp.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome also hasn’t ruled out re-signing Leach, whom reports say Baltimore wanted to take a $1 million pay cut. Leach signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Ravens in 2011 and is likely looking for another multi-year contract. Leach, who turns 32 in November, was scheduled to make $3 million in base salary with the Ravens.
The Dolphins, which have roughly $17 million in cap space, have identified "protection issues" as one of the team's remaining areas of concern because Jorvorskie Lane is a relatively unproven fullback entering his second season, and none of the team's young tailbacks – Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Marcus Thigpen, Jonas Gray and rookies Mike Gillislee and Cameron Marshall - have established themselves as top-notch pass protectors.
The Dolphins claimed second-year fullback Evan Rodriguez off the waiver wire Tuesday following his release from the Bears, and Miami released undrafted rookie fullback Ian Liaina on Thursday.
Leach has rushed for 70 yards on 24 carries, scoring three touchdowns during his nine-year NFL career. But he's caught 112 passes for 749 yards and four touchdowns in his 130 career games.
The Dolphins have already committed over $250 million in contracts ($117 million in guaranteed money) to remake Joe Philbin’s roster, but it appears Miami’s head coach would like a reunion with Leach, a nine-year veteran who played for both Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman early in his career with the Packers and Texans.
“You’d love to be able to get a guy who can lead up on an inside zone play and take on a mike linebacker and get movement, push, get square and stay on their feet,” Philbin said when talking about his ideal fullback. “We like that quality, but we also like a guy that can move and shift on some outside zone plays, so we are looking to get the best fit possible that we possibly can. We have both types of players, and we’re flexible enough in the scheme to adjust to the type of people that we have.”
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