Dolphins hold off on deal for Leach

Dolphins hold off on deal for Leach
July 18, 2013, 11:00 pm
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(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Fullback Vonta Leach remains out there on the free agent market, and it appears he will be there at least a little while longer.

Leach, released last month by the Ravens, has reportedly been in discussions to join the Dolphins, but Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero tweeted on Thursday that the Dolphins have decided to head to training camp on Sunday without Leach.

"Source tells me #Dolphins standing pat, going to camp without signing FB Vonta Leach. No offer," Salguero tweeted.

Another tweet from Salguero: "Backing away from Leach is Miami's choice. He wanted to play for the Dolphins. Wasn't using them for leverage. Was ready to sign."

"Dolphins will see how talent on roster performs first. If problematic, club will circle back around to Leach, if he's still available."

But will he still be available?

With no deal in Miami or elsewhere -- Leach has reportedly drawn interest from the Giants and Texans as well -- it remains possible that Leach could yet return to the Ravens.

When the Ravens released Leach in June, general manager Ozzie Newsome said, "He’s a good football player. There could be an opportunity for him to return to the Ravens once he explores the free agent market, and we could re-visit this before or during training camp.”

According to Salguero, the Ravens do still have a standing offer on the table for Leach. The value isn't known, but it's safe to assume it's less than the $3 million he was due to receive before being released in June.

The value of a blocking back has been gradually deteriorating in the pass-happy NFL,  and the Ravens drafted hybrid H-back-tight end-fullback Kyle Juszczyk as a cheaper, presumably more versatile alternative to Leach. Still, if the money works out and Leach is open to returning, the Ravens can surely find a way to keep both Juszczyk and Leach on the roster.

For now, it appears Leach, a nine-year veteran who turns 32 in November, will remain a free agent as training camps begin. But there are always plenty of 11th-hour training camp signings. Bryant McKinnie was signed by the Ravens in late August 2011; James Ihedigbo was signed Sept. 3 last season after being among the final roster cuts of the Patriots.

You can bet Leach's phone will ring again soon.