Back in November, Miami Dolphins' offensive guard Richie Incognito was suspended for bullying teammate Jonathan Martin. Details and results of an investigation by Ted Wells will be released later this week. Monday, The Big Lead released over 1,000 text messages exchanged between the two. Yesterday, the Incognito suspension was lifted by the Dolphins. Suffice it to say, it has been an eventful week for him.
The former pro-bowler has claimed his innocence from the start, and the texts seem to reveal a closer relationship between the linemen than originally depicted. For the most part, they compare stories of partying and women. At no point does Martin indicate that he's offended, nor does he ask Incognito to stop swearing, objectifying women or insulting him. The Dolphins' locker room supported Incognito as a leader, and Martin even allegedly texted Incognito saying, "The locker room got to me a little." Incognito continues to support Martin despite the original allegations.
--- I support @J_Martin71 100% in his return to football in 2014 ---- @NFL @NFLPA @DeSmithNFLPA @nflcommish
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) February 4, 2014
Despite having the Incognito suspension lifted, his career with the Dolphins is likely over, as is Martin's. With that, the Dolphins lose their starting left side of the line. In addition, Bryant McKinnie (Martin's replacement) voided the last year of his deal, so left tackle will be a huge hole to fill in the off-season.
For a team that finished in the bottom 6 of the league in points scored, rushing yards and total yards, recreating the offensive line may not be a bad thing. Several high-profile left tackles will hit free agency next month (Branden Albert, Jordan Gross, Eugene Monroe), and landing one will undoubtedly improve the offense. Finding a guard in the middle rounds of the draft won't be a problem either.
As for Incognito, my guess is he'll only get a chance on a team with people that know him. I could see the Cowboys picking him up, as Scott Linehan (who coached Incognito in St. Louis) now controls the offense. It may not be in a starting capacity, but I can't imagine Incognito being in the driver's seat in any negotiations. Despite his allegiance to teammates, Incognito clearly has some extracurricular activities that will scare teams off. Until he can prove he's grown up, he'll be lucky to pull in the veteran minimum.