Saturday, February 13, 2010

National writer: Cowboys could be a fit for linebacker Joey Porter

From Staff and Wire Reports
The Dallas Morning News

Joey Porter’s wish was granted Friday by the Miami Dolphins: They released him.

The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker campaigned last week to be waived, saying in broadcast interviews he was frustrated about his reduced role in 2009 and doubted his relationship with coach Tony Sparano could be repaired.

Mike Florio of thinks Porter could be a good fit for the Cowboys.

"The Cowboys could be an alternative, if Porter is willing to accept a backup role behind DeMarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer. Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who worked with Porter each of the past two years, has returned to the defensive staff in Dallas.

"Of course, there's a chance that anyone who has worked with Porter will want to have nothing further to do with him."

As his role diminished, Porter said, he talked with Sparano only on Sundays and stopped speaking with general manager Jeff Ireland and football czar Bill Parcells. Porter said he was the Dolphins’ best outside linebacker and unhappy about being replaced by pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake in some situations. He said he wanted to go to a team where he could play every down.

Porter said he saw less playing time after Sparano held him out of a midseason game at Tampa Bay because he “went out to get something to eat” two nights before the game. The defense deteriorated at the end of the season, and Miami failed to make the playoffs, finishing 7-9.

After Porter vented publicly, his departure was considered inevitable. By releasing him before March 4, the Dolphins save a $1 million roster bonus they would have owed him. He joined the Dolphins in March 2007, signing a five-year deal for $32 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

The team announced the move in a three-paragraph news release without comment from Sparano or Ireland.

An 11-year pro, Porter led the AFC in 2008 with 17 1/2 sacks. His sack total in 2009 fell to nine, still the Dolphins’ high, and he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s in January.

His departure increases the likelihood the Dolphins will retain 35-year-old Jason Taylor at outside linebacker. He and Porter were often ineffective as a tandem, and it was expected at least one of them would not return in 2010.