NEW YORK -- Is Jake Long suddenly on shaky ground in Miami?
It's possible after the Dolphins selected Stanford left tackle Jonathan Martin in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night.
Long, the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, has been an impact player for the Dolphins, earning four Pro Bowl bids for his play. But he's also coming off a season in which he was slowed by knee and biceps injuries. He's due to make $11.2 million in 2012, the final season of his rookie deal.
Because of the restructured rookie salary structure, Martin will be a bargain in comparison. Could financial realities combined with health concerns lead to the Dolphins moving on from Long?
Comments by Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland seem to further cloud Long's future.
"We're not going to be as much a power scheme as we've been in the past," Ireland said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "So his athletic ability and ... quickness and ability to play in space transfers to this scheme probably a lot better than any other scheme."
Ireland tempered those comments by praising the athleticism of Long, who stands at 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds.
"Jake Long can transfer to any scheme, in any offense and any team in the National Football League, in my opinion," Ireland said. "I think the guy is a tremendous athlete. He's quick. He's strong. He can do it."
And if he can't? The Dolphins have a younger, more cost-effective player ready to go.