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Randy McMichael released by Dolphins

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Dolphins release QB Harrington, TE McMichael, trade WR Welker to Patriots

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By Edgar Thompson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, March 05, 2007

UPDATED: 10:03 p.m. March 05, 2007

The Miami Dolphins' busiest day of the free-agency period ended with the team better positioned for April's draft and picking up more space under the salary cap.

It could be just the beginning of a roster overhaul that might signal a youth movement under first-year coach Cam Cameron and General Manager Randy Mueller.

Miami traded popular wide receiver Wes Welker on Monday for a second-and seventh-round draft pick, giving the Dolphins nine picks - and possibly more to come.

Tight end Randy McMichael and his $4 million salary and quarterback Joey Harrington, who was due a $1 million roster bonus this week, were released.

Miami could use some of the money to land ex-Pittsburgh Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, who has drawn the interest of several teams, including Miami.

Porter's agent, Jeff Sperbeck, said Miami is "very interested" and the two parties are talking. A visit Monday from New York Giants kicker Jay Feely could be the sign more cap room is on the way. The visit clouds the future of longtime Miami kicker Olindo Mare, who is scheduled to receive a $4 million salary a season after he missed 10 field goals in 36 tries.

Miami looked to address the loss of McMichael - the franchise's all-time leader in catches (283) and receive yards (3,096) for tight end - with the signing of Green Bay's Dave Martin.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder, who played wide receiver at the University of Tennessee, caught 21 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns last season - his sixth with the Packers, who used Martin primarily to back up Bubba Franks.

The Dolphins' decision to trade Welker, who had a team-high 67 catches last season, leaves them seeeking a complement to Chris Chambers.

Miami could turn to another ex-Tennessee Volunteer to fill the void - Cincinnati wide receiver Kelley Washington. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Washington, a third-round pick in 2003, visited the Dolphins Saturday and owns a home in Fort Lauderdale.

But Miami could opt to beef up its receiving corps through the draft.

In the past, Mueller has preferred to build teams through draft picks, not free agents. Given Miami's 2006 draft, the more picks the better.

Last season, only two of the Dolphins six picks - defensive back Jason Allen and receiver Derek Hagan - played even minor roles.

If Cameron and Mueller choose to wait until April to look for wide receiver help, they'll have one of the best receiving classes in some time at their disposal. As many as six wide receivers project to be first-round draft picks.

Miami holds the No. 9 pick and has an outside shot at Ohio State burner Ted Ginn Jr. The Dolphins also could trade the pick, move down in the draft order and pick up another draft pick, as well, bringing a player like Tennessee's Robert Meachem into the picture.

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Meachem ran the 40-yard dash in less than 4.4 seconds twice in his two attempts at the NFL combine and has the kind of size-speed combination Cameron and Mueller seek.

Martin said Monday he's excited at the chance to play in Cameron's offense, which helped San Diego's Antonio Gates becomes a household name.

"You just get excited just watching what's done out in there in San Diego," Martin said. "Just seeing (Gates) play, you want to play in this offense."

In other news, ex-Dolphins defensive end Kevin Carter signed with Tampa Bay. David Bowens, another ex-Dolphins defensive end, visited the New York Jets, said agent Harold Lewis.

If Porter isn't the answer to Miami's search for a playmaker on the outside, the Dolphins could find answers in the upcoming draft.

Defensive end is as deep as wide receiver, with another half-dozen projected first-rounders, including several that should be available to Miami at No. 9 - or lower if the Dolphins shop the pick.

At the very least this should provide some market competition for Reggie.

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