As the NFL Draft approaches the internet is full of mock drafts and columns debating who said team is going to go with in the first round. As fun as mock drafts are, they are pretty pointless this early in the offseason. The free agency market is bound to have an effect on everyone’s draft boards and that includes the Miami Dolphins.
Heading into free agency here is a glance at the Dolphins unrestricted free agents;
- DT Randy Starks
- DT Paul Soliai
- CB Brent Grimes
- CB Nolan Carroll
- G Richie Incognito
- TE Dustin Keller
Brent Grimes celebrating an interception.
- RT Tyson Clabo
- FS Chris Clemons
- G John Jerry
- LT Bryant McKinnie
- LB Austin Spitler
- WR Marlon Moore
Of the players listed above their top offseason priority will no doubt be locking up Brent Grimes. Grimes was a lock-down corner for the Dolphins this season which earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. Those close to the organization feel that Miami will indeed use the franchise tag on Grimes if a long-term contract cannot be reached.
Aside for Grimes, Miami is also set to lose both of their starting DT’s as well as their entire offensive line sans Mike Pouncey. Given the fact that both Starks and Soliai are going to be asking for big money deals, it’s easy to see Miami allowing one of them to walk. As far as the offensive line goes, McKinnie has gone on record saying that he wishes to return to Miami. However, wishing for something and it actually happening are two different stories. Multiple Dolphin insiders expect Miami to make a hard push to sign free agent LT Branden Albert.
Miami and Joe Philbin flirted with the idea of trading for Albert last season. Reports have surfaced this offseason that Jeff Ireland was the one who decided not to pull the trigger on an Albert trade.Albert with Kansas City in 2013
The emergence of TE Charles Clay might spell the end of Dustin Keller in Miami, even though he never played in a regular season game. Keller’s price tag is something that Miami isn’t going to want to pay unless he takes a considerably pay-cut to stay with the team. Miami also has promising TE Michael Egnew on the roster, furthering making Keller expendable if the price isn't right.
The early mock drafts show Miami taking a LT with the 19th pick of the first round. Obviously, this could all change if Miami signs Albert to a long term deal. With just over 30 million dollars to spend, it’s quite plausible that Miami will make a couple of splash signings this offseason. Some of the other players that Miami might make a run at are;
- LT Jared Vladheer
- G Shawn Lauvao
- RB LaGarrette Blount
Fans also have to keep in mind that Miami has a new general manager. With a new general manager you never know whether or not roster holdovers are going to be the type of guys that he wants. Unexpected cuts or trades are something that fans should also keep an eye out for.
Free Agency is set to being on March 11th.