Dolphins call Umenyiora's reps to discuss possibility of signing
The 31 year old Umenyiora became a free agent when his one-year, $6 million contract with the Giants expired after the 2012 season. Talk around the league has strongly suggested that he will be in a new uniform next season, as he wants an opportunity to start, which the Giants won't provide.
He is coming off a 6.0 sack season, in part due to a smaller role, but is just a year removed from a season in which he registered 9.0 sacks in only nine games. The previous season, he racked up 11.5 sacks and ten forced fumbles. Even in a situational role, he can bring value as a pass rusher.
Of course, Umenyiora may not be relegated to a situational role in Miami. Defensive end Jared Odrick currently is projected to start at defensive end for the Dolphins, but he was drafted to play in a 3-4 base defense, and the Dolphins have since switched to a 4-3. Odrick lacks the ideal explosiveness and pass rushing ability to play 4-3 defensive end, while Umenyiora would fit well at that position. In addition, All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake plays on the right side, and Umenyiora's preferred side is the left.
If the Dolphins were to sign Umenyiora, and he was able to return to something close to his 2011 form, they could field a very intimidating front seven on defense. With Dannell Ellerbe and the underrated Philip Wheeler bolstering the linebacker group, Randy Starks dominating the middle up front, and Cameron Wake frightening quarterbacks from the edge, the addition of Umenyiora could round out a strong defensive front. Odrick could be a trade candidate for a team that runs a 3-4, or could be used as an early-down specialist in Miami due to his stout run defense.
The Miami Herald also suggested that the Dolphins could be interested in free agent defensive end Elvis Dumervil if the price is right, but as of now, Umenyiora looks like the most likely addition at the position.
For what it's worth, Umenyiora said the team he signs with does not necessarily have to be a playoff team. He went on to say he could sign with "anybody who I think is going to put me in a situation to win Defensive Player of the Year, which is what I'm going to do this year." He obviously wants more playing time than he has had with the Giants, and is pretty confident that he'll make the most of it.
Other teams that have shown interest include the Lions and Falcons, but neither has expressed as much interest (to public knowledge) as the Dolphins have.