The much-anticipated Ted Wells report is complete and so is the conclusion of one of the biggest stories in the history of the Miami Dolphins.
Now, all that is left is the fallout.
One of the biggest issues is what will the Dolphins do with Jonathan Martin? The Wells report concluded that he was constantly harassed by three teammates: Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry. Martin left the team in October and didn’t return.
A return to Miami seems highly unlikely for Martin. Here are several reasons why:
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross already declared publicly that he doesn’t expect Martin or Incognito to be back on the team in 2014. Incognito is a free agent, so that’s an easy decision. Martin has two years left on his rookie contract and is expected to be traded or released.
Miami’s locker room made it clear last season that Martin isn’t welcome. Right or wrong, many Dolphins players believed Martin could have handled the situation better by keeping it in-house. Instead, players believe he walked out on the team and partially left them to deal with a national media firestorm. There is a two-way level of trust that’s broken between Martin and the Dolphins’ locker room that would be difficult to repair.
Bringing Martin back would be a public relations nightmare. The Dolphins spent three months with a dark cloud hanging over the team during this bullying scandal. So much media attention and scrutiny would be on Martin returning and trying to fit in Miami’s locker room culture again in 2014. Martin is an average or below average offensive tackle. Keeping him is not worth the huge distraction for the Dolphins.
Look for the Dolphins to try to get something in return for Martin. He’s young, cheap and can play left and right tackle. Those players do not grow on trees.
But Martin certainly comes with baggage from this bullying scandal. Teams also know that Miami will probably release Martin if it can’t find a trade partner. That lowers his value.
Either way, do not expect Martin to be on the Dolphins’ roster next season.