McKinney returns to Dolphins on two-year dealBy Len Pasquarelli
Unrestricted free agent center Seth McKinney, who started all but three games for the Miami Dolphins over the last two seasons, has signed a two-year contract to remain with the team.
The retention of McKinney is a key move by the Dolphins as coach Nick Saban and offensive line assistant Hudson Houck continue to address a unit that was a problem area in 2005. Last week, the Dolphins signed seven-year veteran left tackle L.J. Shelton, who started all 16 games for the Cleveland Browns last season. Miami continues to consider other free agent players as well.
McKinney's contract will pay him $1.5 million in 2006, with a $915,000 signing bonus and base salary of $585,000. To retain McKinney in 2007, Miami must pay him a spring roster bonus of $2.5 million, and he has a base salary of $1 million for that year.
In the first two weeks of free agency, McKinney drew interest from New Orleans and Houston. He visited with officials from the Texans, where his older brother, Steve McKinney, is a starting guard, but ramped up negotiations with the Dolphins shortly after that.
By keeping McKinney, the Dolphins essentially addressed another offensive line spot, because it means that two-year veteran Rex Hadnot, an emerging young player, can remain at guard. Hadnot, who started all 16 games in 2005 and impressed the coaches, moved to center for the final three games of the season, when McKinney was forced onto injured reserve by a knee injury.
McKinney, 26, is a smart, tenacious player, with the kind of temperament you want at center. He continues to improve and his performance should get even better as the Dolphins solidify the guard spots.
The former Texas A&M standout was a third-round choice in the 2002 draft. He started only five games in his first two seasons, then moved into the lineup full-time in 2004. Until he went on injured reserve last December, he had not missed a game to injury during his NFL career, appearing in 61 straight contests.