Dolphins left tackle Jake Long‘s rookie contract is set to expire at the end of this season. The former No. 1 overall pick has recently struggled, which has caused some to wonder if he’ll ever return to the player he once was.
“It is clear the pending free agent and former No. 1 overall pick is not the player he used to be. Long has battled injuries and played below his usual level for a couple of seasons,” writes ESPN.com’s James Walker. “He struggled again against defensive end Dwight Freeney in a 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts (5-3). Long spent a lot of time on the ground, getting penalized and trying to stay in front of Freeney. Coming off his rookie contract, Long may aim to be the highest-paid lineman in the NFL. But it’s been more than a year since he’s consistently played at an elite level.”
The Dolphins are faced with a big decision this offseason with Long. Left tackles are at a premium and Long could demand a lot of money on the open market. As Walker noted, the Dolphins don’t have viable replacement for Long, but there is the possibility that rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin could make the switch to the left side.
We have Jake Long ranked seventh on our Top 50 2013 Free Agents list.