Despite investing three top three round picks in the offensive line in the past two years, the Dolphins still need depth and/or starters to solidity the offensive line.
The Dolphins, realizing this fact that they need another proven NFL guard in the mix, have signed former Cleveland Browns guard Eric Steinbach. And if he’s healthy, he could be much more than a depth value.
Steinbach was among the best guards in football when he signed his $49.5 million dollar deal (over 7 years) with the Cleveland Browns in 2007, leaving division rival Cincinnati. Playing at a high level for the years before and shortly after the deal, Steinbach aided Joe Thomas in giving Cleveland and more than adequate offensive line as they built the rest of their roster.
However, Steinbach missed all of last season after having a disk fragment removed from his spinal nerve during surgery. Coming back from injury along with being owed 6 million dollars next year was too much risk for the Browns to hold on to Steinbach, especially after he refused to take a pay cut.
A free agent through most of the off-season, Steinbach had a handful of workouts, but only recently has been reportedly 100% from surgery.
For the Dolphins they need to add a firm right guard to their lineup. Currently, John Jerry is in that spot (opposite Richie Incognitio), but isn’t taking the position firmly enough. And Jerry’s main competition, Arits Hicks, isn’t an NFL starter.
Steinbach is a risk based on his injury, but there are three factors to consider. One, he’s only on a one year deal (same as Chad Johnson), so if it doesn’t workout, it’s not a major loss. Two, he played under Joe Philbin when Philbin was at Iowa, so there is a connection in terms of easing him into the system. And three, he was at one point a Top 5 guard in the NFL. If he’s 60-70% of that, especially considering he’s hungry to prove the Browns and the NFL wrong about his injury, he’s an upgrade over Jerry/Hicks.