Dolphins lock up Carey

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Miami Dolphins can scratch one big free agent off their to-do list.

The Dolphins made sure right tackle Vernon Carey didn't hit the open market by signing him Friday to a six-year deal.

With the Carolina Panthers re-signing Jordan Gross, Carey was one of the more attractive options out there for teams in need of a tackle.

Locking up Carey means the Dolphins will have impressive bookends on their offensive line for the next several seasons. Last year's No. 1 draft choice, Jake Long, went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Now the Dolphins need to worry about their interior line.

The front office has made finding a replacement for center Samson Satele an offseason priority. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said on Thursday he expects injured guards Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas to be ready for the start of training camp. Still, there are no guarantees.

Next up in free agency should be safety Yeremiah Bell, their leading tackler. The other three Dolphins with expiring contracts are linebacker Channing Crowder, cornerback Andre Goodman and safety Renaldo Hill.