Taking Care of Business
DE Phillip Merling
DE Phillip Merling
Associate Editor
Posted Apr 10, 2012

Phillip Merling and Lydon Murtha may have been restricted free agents this offseason, but it became practically a done deal that they would be back after the Dolphins extended qualifying offers to both players. On Tuesday, it officially became a done deal when both players signed their tender.

The Dolphins put a second-round tender on Murtha before the start of free agency, which meant any team wishing to sign him would have had to give the Dolphins that compensation if Miami chose not to match an offer sheet.

The second-round tender carries a $1.93 million salary for 2012, which is what Murtha now will be making.

Merling, meanwhile, got a third-round tender at $1.26 million.

With Murtha having missed all of last season because of a leg injury and Merling being mostly a disappointment since being a second-round pick in 2008, there seemed virtually no chance that either would be signed to an offer sheet.

In fact, as the deadline approaches, there hasn't been a single restricted free around the league who has been signed to an offer sheet. And that includes Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has a first-round tender.

The Dolphins had two other restricted free agents this spring, running back Lex Hilliard and defensive end Ryan Baker, but they didn't tender either player.

That made Hilliard and Baker eligible to sign with any team without restriction, and Hilliard ended up joining the Minnesota Vikings. Baker, meanwhile, re-signed with the Dolphins.

Finally, the Dolphins on Tuesday also announced free agent visits for four unrestricted free agents, all linebackers — Jonathan Goff (N.Y. Giants), Quentin Groves (Oakland), Gary Guyton (New England) and Bryan Kehl (St. Louis).

Of those, Groves probably is the biggest name, having been a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2008. Grove arrived in the NFL from Auburn with the reputation of being a quality pass rusher, but he doesn't have a sack in 22 starts over the last three years after recording only 2.5 as a rookie.

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