With the clock ticking toward a possible dissolution of the deal, Denver and Miami officials have extended the deadline by which defensive tackle Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson must report and pass a physical examination to complete the March 3 trade that sent him from the Dolphins to the Broncos.
According to the conditions of the trade, in which the Broncos sent the Dolphins a sixth-round draft pick in exchange for Wilkinson, the veteran tackle was to have reported for a physical examination by Friday. His failure to do so would have nullified the trade.
But the teams decided late Thursday to extend the deadline indefinitely while Broncos officials, who clearly want Wilkinson to be a part of their defensive tackle rotation in 2007, try to find the 13-year pro and persuade him to report.
The problem: Wilkinson, who acknowledged in the wake of the trade that he had "some issues" to address before reporting to the Broncos, has not returned phone calls from either team.
The clubs could probably extend the deadline, if they so desired, right up to the draft. At that point, given that the sixth-round choice involved in the deal is in this year's lottery, the trade might have to be voided, assuming Wilkinson still had not surfaced.
Wilkinson, 34, has considered retirement in recent seasons. He is also notorious for trying to avoid offseason conditioning programs and even training camp. He did not sign with the Dolphins last summer until well into camp.
The Broncos, who have made a habit in recent years of trading for onetime high-round defensive linemen, definitely want Wilkinson. They feel that despite his age, he can play well in their tackle rotation. But as a contingency, the Broncos met this week with a pair of unrestricted free agent tackles, Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott, both of the Chicago Bears.
Depending on how things play out with Wilkinson, the Broncos could pursue one of the free agents.
Wilkinson is still regarded as a solid defender versus the run but is coming off a 2006 season in which he registered just 14 tackles in 10 games. Once capable of providing plenty of inside push on the pass rush, Wilkinson did not have a sack in 2006.
A former Ohio State star, Wilkinson was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals to lead off the 1994 draft. After four seasons with the Bengals, and a contentious relationship with the front office when dealing on contract matters, he was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1998.
Wilkinson played five seasons in Washington, where he was very productive, then signed with the Lions in 2003.
In 195 career appearances, Wilkinson has 386 tackles, 54½ sacks, seven forced fumbles, four recoveries, five interceptions and 28 pass deflections.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.