Should Dolphins sign Edgerrin James?

So much of sports is about roles. Nathan Jones, for instance, has great impact in his utility role in the secondary's nickle and dime packages. But if he was a starting cornerback asked to lock onto a top receiver? Not so much.

Ricky Williams was in a great role for himself, at 32, for the last couple of seasons. He has 105 carries so far for a career-high 5.3 yards a carry this year - or 42 carries less than Ronnie Brown. That played out to just under 200 carries for Ricky, a good figure for a veteran who still is a very physical back.

But with Brown out now, the question isn't whether Ricky's numbers go up, but by how much? And with Patrick Cobbs also out, how much trust is there in Lex Hilliard? We'll start finding out the answer about Hilliard tonight.
Finally, do the Dolphins go out and get a veteran back like Edgerrin James for the rest of this season?

The question isn't just what James can offer. It's the wear and tear he'd save on Ricky's body.

James was cut by Seattle after playing seven games with minimal impact: 46 carries, 127 yards, 2.7-yard average. But the Immokalee native and University of Miami grad might see a big career finish by ending at home.

Whatever's left in his tank - if anything is - the Dolphins would get it. So the question becomes do the Dolphins need it, if not for what James can bring, for how he'll save Ricky's body?

Ricky and Ronnie have been the two best players on the Dolphins this year. The Dolphins want to look ahead, too. Bill Parcells already gave Ricky a contract extension for 2010. But part of that, Tony Sparano knows, is using Ricky properly.

The Dolphins have had the luxury of doing that with Ronnie in the same backfield. For one or two games, Ricky will be fine with that. Over the final seven? Can he carry 20-25 times a game? And should he be asked to take the punishment, at 32, his running style still demands?

James turned 31 in August. He's played 11 years in the league. His Seattle numbers, of course, suggest little is left. But his numbers in a reduced role at Arizona (one he complained about) were reflective of something more: 133 carries, 514 yards, 3.9-yard average.

Sometimes there's a little toothpaste left if you squeeze the tube just right. Bringing James to Miami just might be that case -- and, more importantly, help save Ricky's body.

Bookmark and Share