NFL teams are preparing for training camp this week, with most organizations starting their offseason training regimens at the end of July. However, one player won't be making his yearly preparations, as All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach still finds himself without a team amidst dwindling opportunities. Reports emerged Thursday that the Miami Dolphins won't pursue the nine-year pro, despite hosting a visit last month.
The Dolphins are prepared to enter training camp without Leach, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Leach was prepared to sign with Miami, but ultimately the organization opted not to free up a roster spot this close to training camp.
It's an unexpected sign of restraint by an organization willing to make moves to compete in 2013. The front office committed big money early in free agency by signing wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and with a need for veteran upgrades, the team could start as many as six players who were acquired during free agency. The Dolphins have open cap space, and Leach would be a natural fit for an organization in need of a reliable blocker in the backfield.
Despite declining to sign Leach right now, the organization could be willing to make a move when its camp opens in two days. Third-year fullback Charles Clay is penciled in as the Dolphins' starting fullback right now, but with hopes of developing Lamar Miller into a three-down running back, having a reliable lead blocker would make this transition easier. It'd be much like the role Leach filled for Ray Rice in Baltimore when the Ravens signed him in 2011 from the Houston Texans.
Playing chicken with Leach could be a dangerous move if the Dolphins feel he'll be available when they're ready. Late reports out of Baltimore indicate that Leach could be open to return to the defending Super Bowl champions, despite being released in June because of cap constraints.