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Dolphins have questions at tackle

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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It’s going to take a bit longer before Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin learns where he’s playing in 2013.

After losing left tackle Jake Long in free agency earlier this week to the St. Louis Rams, Martin would seem like a natural fit to replace him. A 2012 second-round pick, Martin started the final four games at the spot last year after Long was lost for the season with a torn triceps. Martin had started the first 12 games at right tackle even though he was a left tackle for the Cardinal.

Nate Garner, who started the final four games at right tackle in 2012, was re-signed Monday and the Dolphins are entertaining ex-Kansas City right tackle Eric Winston on a free-agent visit Wednesday. The Winston news was first reported by ESPN.

Even with this evidence pointing toward Martin switching sides permanently, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said his future spot on the line remains unsettled.

“We’re still visiting with a couple of tackles out there,” Ireland told me and co-host Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “To say Jonathan is going to definitely play left tackle or right tackle, that’s still yet to be determined. I’m comfortable with him playing either position.

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“(Martin) made some great strides during the season playing right and left when Jake went down. But we’re going to continue through this process, visit with some free agents and see where those guys are. Certainly, wherever Jonathan plays I have a ton of confidence he’s going to get the job done.”

The Dolphins were among the NFL’s most active teams when the free-agent signing period opened last Tuesday. The club quickly signed three of the top players on the market – Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, Baltimore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and Oakland linebacker Phillip Wheeler – to big-money contracts. They later added New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller and St. Louis wide receiver Brandon Giibson to lesser deals. Miami also has re-signed Garner, wide receiver Brian Hartline and safety Chris Clemons.

Even with all that activity, Ireland said the Dolphins aren’t done yet in potentially upgrading the roster with more free agents. While he begins shifting his attention more toward preparation for April’s NFL draft, Ireland said he receives as many as 20 text messages a day from assistant general manager Brian Gaine about “certain guys who look like they may still be good value.”

As reported by FOXSports.com, New York Jets guard Brandon Moore is taking a free-agent visit Thursday once the Dolphins return from the owners meeting. Moore, 32, has started 137 consecutive games for the Jets dating back to the 2004 season. He is a candidate to replace 2012 Dolphins starter John Jerry.

“We still have some things we want to look at,” Ireland said.

More of the Jeff Ireland interview can be heard between 8 to 11 p.m. ET on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Tagged: Dolphins, Jets, Brandon Moore, Jake Long, Jonathan Martin

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