All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach is reportedly in the Miami Dolphins’ crosshairs to be their next free agent splash. Last night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported “It will be a major upset” if Leach landed anywhere else other than South Beach. “The Dolphins want him too much,” added Schefter. This should come as no surprise to anyone – as Leach has ties to the organization’s coaching staff. Head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman were on the Packers’ coaching staffs when Leach played there, in addition to Sherman being on the Texans’ coaching staff during Leach’s tenure there as well. Although contract talks were reportedly “heating up” last week, Leach indicated yesterday on Sirius XM Radio that he’s in no rush to sign with a team. That dialect should be taken as a means of leverage to squeeze more money out of the most interested team (presumably) in signing him – the Miami Dolphins.
So if Leach decides to take his talents to South Beach, what would his addition mean for the Miami Dolphins? Turning 32 in November, Leach has been a first-team All-Pro fullback in three straight seasons and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top-rated lead blocker last year. The only reason he was cut was because the Baltimore Ravens were intent on reducing Leach’s $3 million salary and $4.33 million cap hit, and the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. The Dolphins’ current fullback is Jorvorskie Lane, and as well as he played last year, Leach would be a huge upgrade as a lead blocker. The Dolphins occasionally line up Charles Clay as a lead blocker, but he struggles in that area. He’s better suited for an h-back/pass-catching tight end role. Lane would probably be the odd man out because Clay gives the Dolphins more versatility.
Leach’s addition would be a boon to the Dolphins’ young, talented, and inexperienced backfield. Lamar Miller is expected to carry the load, and he’s going to need all the help he can get in his new role as the starting running back. Leach also excels in an area in which Miller struggled in last year – pass protection. Pass protection is going to be essential to second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill's success. If the money is right, Leach's signing would be a victory for general manager Jeff Ireland.