Ricky's timing couldn't be worse
The timing of Ricky Williams' retirement couldn't have been worse for the Miami Dolphins.
Had Williams informed the Dolphins earlier this week of his desire to quit, they could have bid for former Titans halfback Eddie George and topped the
$2.2 million the Cowboys will pay him this season. Like Williams, George is a physical running back who fits Miami's style of running.
Once the Titans lost George, they immediately signed Antowain Smith, the best back available and another possibility for the Dolphins, had they known
On Sunday morning, the Dolphins were scrambling. Former Jaguars and Texans halfback Stacey Mack is a likely target. The Dolphins called former Rams
and Redskins running back Trung Canidate, who is trying to decide whether to have foot surgery, which could sideline him most of the season.
Other candidates are 32-year-old veteran James Stewart, who was released by the Lions in February, 34-year-old Dorsey Levens, and former Bengals and
Saints halfback Curtis Keaton.
The problem facing the Dolphins is that they are a playoff contender dependent on great play from their running back. Miami geared everything
around Ricky Williams.
Because Williams is only 27, the Dolphins didn't plan for his not being available. They did sign Sammy Morris from the Bills as a backup. Now, Morris
and Travis Minor will compete for the starting job unless the Dolphins sign a back from the street.
The Dolphins' best approach, though, is to try to talk Williams out of retirement or force his hand financially.
When the Dolphins acquired Williams in a trade from the Saints, they did pick up the contract and the right to sue him if he quits early.
Saints gave him an initial signing bonus of $8.843 million, and even though the Dolphins didn't have to pay the Saints for a portion of the bonus,
they do have the ability to sue for him to fulfill the contract.
If successful, the Dolphins would get a $3.3 million repayment for failure to perform. Williams is signed through 2006 and would owe the Dolphins
Unfortunately for coach Dave Wannstedt, it would take time to get Williams to reconsider and it's more likely Williams won't change his mind.
In the meantime, the Dolphins have to make the best out of a bad situation.