The Green Bay Packers lost their second unrestricted free agent on Sunday when tight end David Martin signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Earlier on Sunday, running back Ahman Green agreed to a multi-year contract with the Houston Texans.
Terms of Martin’s contract were not immediately available, but it was Miami’s first free agent acquisition of this off-season.
The signing of Martin could be insurance for the Dolphins if the team parts ways with tight end Randy McMichael, whose agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed on Sunday night is on the trading block, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The Dolphins are believed to owe McMichael, the most prolific receiving tight end in franchise history, a $3 million roster bonus next Monday.
Martin finished with 21 catches and two touchdowns in 2006 for the Packers. During a four-game stretch between Oct. 22 at Miami and Nov. 12 at Minnesota, Martin had 12 catches and two touchdowns, once again teasing the coaching staff and fans with his ability to stretch the field. But, as often has been the case in his six-year career in Green Bay, he has spent too much time in the training room.
Martin nursed a sore groin in training camp, then missed five of the final six games of the season with a rib injury that he sustained Nov. 19 against New England.
The Packers are expected to select a tight end in the NFL draft to compete with veteran Bubba Franks for a starting position. Donald Lee, Tory Humphrey and Zac Alcorn are Green Bay’s other tight ends on the roster.
It is also possible that the Packers may pursue signing Seattle free agent Jerramy Stevens, but the 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end could be expensive.
Stevens will be a seeking a multiyear deal that could be more than the seven-year, $27 million contract extension that the Packers gave to Franks prior to the 2005 season.
However, Stevens, who was drafted in the first round by Seattle in 2002 when Thompson was in Seattle’s front office, might be worth the money, though, he has been inconsistent. Stevens’ biggest asset is his ability to stretch the field, which would give Brett Favre a big target in the red zone.
The knock on Stevens is that he drops passes and occasionally lacks focus, but at this point that would be nothing new for the Packers. Though he missed the first four games of the 2006 season with a knee injury, he played in every game between 2003-05.
Stevens caught a career-high 45 passes and scored five touchdowns in 2005, but finished with just 22 receptions and four touchdowns last season, which might keep his price tag down.
The latest out of Seattle is that the Seahawks are meeting with free agent tight end Daniel Graham (New England). If the Seahawks ink Graham, look for Thompson to make a serious bid for Stevens.