Dolphins, Taylor could soon be forced into a decision

Dancing with the Stars is over, but the Jason Taylor reality show is just beginning.

In the next week, the Dolphins and Taylor get to run an option play, with each having multiple choices to make.

The pressure point is the three-day mandatory minicamp that starts Friday June 6. The Dolphins already have said Taylor will not be attending, but declined to make clear whether that was their choice or the player's.

If it was Taylor's, he would subject to an $8,638 fine for each day of minicamp he missed. The fines would increase in training camp to $15,116 per day.

But if Taylor opts to show up for Friday's minicamp, it would force an unwelcome showdown that could lead Miami to bar one of its all-time franchise greats from the Dolphins training facility the way the Titans once did with quarterback Steve McNair.

In the coming days, each side has a choice to make. Yet before it even reaches that point, the Dolphins could step up efforts to trade Taylor –- wiping out the aforementioned scenarios.

Then the options would be where Taylor would land. At this point, at least five teams have shown a varying degree of interest. They are:

» New Orleans -– Saints defensive end Charles Grant recently was indicted and there are questions about his availability. New Orleans' other defensive end, Will Smith, has one year remaining on his contract and is seeking a new deal. The Saints already have tried to stockpile defensive talent this offseason, drafting defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and signing cornerback Randall Gay. Taylor would be the latest piece added to what should be an improved defense. And New Orleans has more than $25.8 million worth of salary cap space, so accomodating Taylor's $7.5 million base salary would not be an issue.

» Philadelphia –- Throughout the offseason, the Eagles have tried to make a big splash. First they landed free-agent cornerback Asante Samuel. Then they nearly signed free-agent wide receiver Randy Moss. They inquired about trading for Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Johnson. And they have looked into the possibility of trading for Taylor. Eagles coach Andy Reid never has enough defensive linemen. During the Reid era, the Eagles have drafted a defensive lineman with their top pick five times in nine years, including this past year, when Philadelphia drafted Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws in the second round with the 47th overall pick. Taylor would team with Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole to give the Eagles a dynamic pass-rushing tag team.

» Tampa Bay –- Similar to New Orleans, Tampa Bay is $28.1 million under the salary cap, meaning Taylor's contract would not be an issue. No team sniffs around more disgruntled, talented players than Tampa, and it has done it again with Taylor. The Buccaneers starting defensive ends are scheduled to be last year's No. 1 pick, Gaines Adams, and Greg White. With defensive tackles Jovan Haye and Chris Hovan, Taylor could be a dominant force. Tampa Bay rarely is willing to surrender much in trade compensation, but they cannot be dismissed from any Taylor speculation.

» Dallas –- Of all the potential landing spots, none is more intriguing than Dallas. It is a longshot, granted, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones never can be ruled out. The Cowboys have debated the merits of trading for Taylor and they already hold additional draft picks in 2009 -– Cleveland's in the third round, Detroit's in the fourth. Dallas could decide to package picks and/or a disgruntled player such as defensive end Greg Ellis or safety Roy Williams that former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells knows well. Dallas knows its loaded with pass rushers now with Ellis, DeMarcus Ware and last year's first-round pick, Anthony Spencer. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones never bypasses big-name, talented players such as Taylor. He has thought about the possibility of Taylor in Dallas and, despite the long odds, could wind up taking action.

» San Diego –- Despite the Chargers denials, the team has debated the idea of trading for Taylor. What makes the prospects of a deal challenging are that San Diego already has traded next year's second-round pick to New England to draft running back Jacob Hester this year. But the Chargers are expected to get two mid-round compensatory draft choices for losing running back Michael Turner and cornerback Drayton Florence in free agency. Ultimately, the Chargers might decide that Taylor is too old (34) or too expensive ($7.5 million base salary), but they have done their due dilligence on the disgruntled defensive end and they have a trading history with the Dolphins. Just last year, Miami dealt wide receiver Chris Chambers to San Diego for a second-round pick.

Calling the Commissioner

Look for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decision on whether to reinstate Adam "Pacman" Jones to come any day -- and quite possibly the week of June 2.

The league has been busy investigating whether it believes Jones is ready for reinstatement. Jones has been anxious for a decision.

The feeling out of Dallas is one of optimism. If Jones is reinstated, the Cowboys will have an extensive monitoring program in place for the cornerback. They will be working closely with him on where to live, how to live, doing everything possible to give him every tool to get his life and career back on track.

If Jones is reinstated, Dallas could go from being thin at cornerback to being deep there. The Cowboys drafted South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins in the first round, and he already has impressed team officials with his abilities. Jones would give them one more talent on a team already loaded with it.

Hanging Chad

In the next two weeks, Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has a big decision to make.

The Bengals are scheduled to hold a mandatory minicamp June 12-14. Johnson has vowed that he will not be at minicamp, training camp or any activity associated with the Bengals.

However, some who know Johnson believe he might change his mind and report to the team for minicamp, averting the $8,638 daily fines.

Of course money might not be the driving issue here anyway. By not working out in Cincinnati this offseason, Johnson is foregoing a $250,000 workout bonus in his contract.

And if Johnson fails to show for training camp, as he has vowed, he would be subject to daily fines of $15,116 –- some big money.

Johnson's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, insisted Friday that his client has not made any decisions yet and that he and Johnson will be discussing the matter in the two weeks ahead.

Parting shot

Of course the Cowboys would bypass Illinois running back Rashard Mendenall for Arkansas running back Felix Jones in the first round of the draft. Jones will fit right in.

The Cowboys owner, president and general manager is Jerry Jones.

Their chief operating officer and executive vice president is Stephen Jones.

Their vice president of sales and marketing officer is Jerry Jones Jr.

Their newly acquired cornerback is the talented but troubled Adam "Pacman" Jones.

And now, their first first-round pick is the aforementioned Felix Jones.

Count 'em up -- that's five Jones'.

See that -- in Dallas, it's not so tough keeping up with the Jones'.

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