Extending the tender gave the Dolphins the opportunity to get a third-round pick had another team decided to sign Merling to an offer sheet, but after the deadline to sign restricted free agents passed last Friday not a single RFA around the league signed one of those.
The truth is no one was going to give up a third-round pick for Merling, who seemed to possess the physical tools when he came out of Clemson to be an effective 3-4 defensive end.
Merling did make one major contribution for the Dolphins, returning an interception for a touchdown in the 2008 season finale to help Miami beat the New York Jets 24-17 to clinch their first AFC East title since 2000.
Free Agents Visit
The Dolphins played host to a couple of unrestricted free agents Monday, linebackers Ernie Sims and Omar Gaither.
It's interesting to note that both have spent their entire career playing in 4-3 defenses.
On a leaguewide matter, the NFL announced Monday that offseason and training camp roster limits will be going from 80 to 90 players, including all unsigned players or those on injury lists.
Teams will have to reduce their roster to 75 players after the third preseason game, and then to 53 after the fourth preseason game.