No deal for Dolphins' McIntosh
BY JEFF DARLINGTON
jdarlington@

JARED LAZARUS
NO DEAL: Dolphins offensive lineman Damion McIntosh and the team have come to a standstill on contract talks and it appears more likely that McIntosh will not return to Miami next season.MiamiHerald.com

After initial conversations about a potential new contract failed to materialize, Dolphins left tackle Damion McIntosh now appears likely to join a growing list of significant players not expected to return to Miami's roster next season.

McIntosh's agent said Monday it is more likely that his client will be available to other teams when free agency begins next week. The Dolphins have decided to explore other options for a tackle to compete with L.J. Shelton next season.

''After further discussions with the Dolphins, it appears unlikely that anything will happen prior to the start of free agency,'' said Brett Tessler, McIntosh's agent. ``When you consider the weak tackle market combined with the great season Damion had, I expect there to be solid interest elsewhere.''

Last week, it became clear the Dolphins also had made preliminary plans to part ways with quarterback Joey Harrington and guard Seth McKinney, and defensive end Kevin Carter's fate remains in discussions.

Those moves, which are likely by the week's end, have yet to be made. Unlike McIntosh, each of the other three players is still under contract.

Though management still could decide to offer McIntosh a contract if other options fall through, it is clear they have other plans.

That could mean giving the starting role to Shelton and feeling comfortable with Anthony Alabi as a backup. Or it could mean the Dolphins plan to scour the free agent market, which could result in overspending.

The draft is another option, but Wisconsin's Joe Thomas -- who is expected to be a top-three pick -- might be the only option with top-10 potential.