MIAMI - DECEMBER 27: Safety Gibril Wilson #28 of the Miami Dolphins reacts after dropping an interception that was deflected against the Houston Texans at Land Shark Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Texans defeated the Dolphins 27-20. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Gibril Wilson
What happened? Did he see Bill Parcells buttering his flank-meat? Stumble on Channing Crowder in the shower? Maybe -- but according to his agent, Clark's reason for pulling a 180 and re-signing with the Steelers was that his wife and kids are happy in Pittsburgh.
Trick! No one is happy in Pittsburgh! But whatever the situation, it leaves the Dolphins with no starting free safety at all -- and one more gaping need on the first team along with nose tackle, outside linebacker, and wide receiver.
What to do?
With their pursuit of Clark and Antrel Rolle, the Dolphins clearly didn't intend to fill this position in the draft. Theoretically, they could maneuver to pick up Tennessee's Eric Berry or Texas' Earl Thomas, but a) a rookie starting safety isn't exactly ideal with two second-year corners, and b) more problematically, taking a safety first upsets what we reasonably assume is the Dolphins' plan to nab a top young nose tackle.
As for their own roster, there's backups Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons, but again, the Dolphins said it all by looking to free agency. Clemons was given the chance at least twice last year to wrest the job from Wilson, and didn't even make it a whole game before being pulled for Mr. Missed Tackles.
In terms of other available talent, there's the Rams' O.J. Atogwe, who will likely see any offer matched by St. Louis, and maybe the Saints' Darren Sharper as a 34-year-old stopgap -- but that would cost the Dolphins, and they may take a long-term view.
That leaves waiting [shudder] or re-signing Gibril Wilson [stronger shudder] at a lower salary [shudder shudder shudder]. As much as we hate to admit it, bringing back Wilson might make the most sense. And so help us, Ryan Clark's kids: if we have to spend another season watching that guy whiff back there...well, you're kids, and you probably can't even read this.
Janie Campbell is a Florida native who believes in the pro-set and ballpark hot dogs. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the internet.