A week of activity has put the Miami Dolphins free agency plans in more perspective. They hardly are waiting for the bell to toll at midnight (tonight). Already locking up their need for a RT by resigning Vernon Carey the Phins thwarted a hole at LB by re-upping Channing Crowder. This morning they announce that safety Gibril Wilson has been signed. 3 holes filled and free agency hasn’t even started. Let’s not forget the Phins also ran out and signed the CFL’s two time Defensive Player of the Year, LB Cameron Wake.
Be sure to refresh often tonight as I will be staying awake until well past mid-night as I track the latest news on the start of free agency. In the meantime, lets roll with the final FA Primer.
ON THE ROSTER
Kendall Langford, Phillip Merling, Jason Ferguson, Vonnie Holliday, Paul Soliai, Randy Starks, Matt Roth, Lionel Dotson, Roderique Wright, Joe Cohen.
(2.5 out of 5 vs. Phins needs) The Miami Dolphins have some young unproven depth along the line. At the DE positions, two rookies were added in the draft last season and while Bill Parcells loves big DE’s the Phins don’t have a major need for one this off-season. At nose tackle, a must for the 3-4, the Phins have returning veteran Jason Ferguson who is in the twilight of his career and a few youngsters who need to step it up. While there is always a possibility that the Phins will shop for some more, it is likely to be from the bargain bin this year.
UFA’s (unrestricted free agents):
Albert Haynesworth – Tenn: There is no one better in the NFL than Haynesworth. There also is no one more expensive. The Dolphins would love to have a shot at the Pro-Bowler but they really can’t afford to offer him the type of contract he will want.
Bertrand Berry – AZ: Coming off a Super Bowl appearence isn’t helping Berry. The Cardinals have shown little desire to sign the lineman and NFL circles are not talking him up. Berry isn’t going to break the bank because he will not be an every down player.
Tank Johnson - Dallas: Johnson had plenty of off-field issues while in Chicago but those issues abated in Dallas. Johnson is a large man who is very hard to move off the ball. Still under the age of 30, Johnson could be a cheap alternative to the two mentioned above.
Other UFA’s and RFA’s:
For now with the start of free agency close, I will skip the draft eligibles until after free agency begins to wind down. The Phins will likely look to add some young depth on the Dline on day 2 of the draft.
ON THE ROSTER
Erik Walden, Cameron Wake, Charlie Anderson, Joey Porter, Reggie Torbor, Channing Crowder, Quentin Moses, Akin Ayodele, Derek Smith, George Tearrius, William Kershaw.
(3 out of 5) The Dolphins expected to lose Channing Crowder to free agency but the two sides were able to come up with a new contract agreeable to both parties. While the signing of Crowder helps eleviate a potential gaping hole in the defense, it still doesn’t fully address the position. The Phins need a big LB in the typical Bill Parcells mode and they will also need to look at younger guys to eventually take over for Joey Porter. While rumors circulated early that the Dolphins would try and trade for Dallas’ Bobby Carpenter, it now appears that they will look towards the draft or bargain shopping during free agency.
Ray Lewis – Baltimore: About 4 years ago Ray Lewis would have been highly targeted by this regime but age is catching up to the LB and his price tag isn’t going down.
Jonathan Vilma – NO: Vilma signed a one year deal with New Orleans after being traded by the NY Jets. He is now a free agent and while the Dolphins may have some initial interest in the MLB, the price tag again will likely be too high now that Crowder is back.
Bart Scott – Baltimore: For the purpose of this article I have included Scott who could be resigned by Baltimore before this even get’s published. Money will matter to Scott and the Phins are using theirs up.
Cato June – Tampa Bay: The 6 year veteran was released by the Buc’s on Wednesday and while he will be a sought after LB, it’s not likely that the Phins will show much interest in the OLB.
Kevin Burnett – Dallas: Burnett is a 26 year old back-up who could provide the Dolphins with some decent depth. Burnett however has stated that he wants to go to a team that will start him.
Other UFA and RFA LB’s:
Eric Barton, UFA, New York Jets
Jordan Beck, UFA, Denver Broncos
Monty Beisel, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Tyjuan Hagler, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Willie McGinest, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Mike Peterson, UFA, Jacksonville Jaguars
Carlos Polk, UFA, San Diego Chargers
Sam Williams, UFA, Oakland Raiders
Rocky Boiman UFA Philadelphia Eagles
John DiGiorgio RFA Buffalo Bills
Keith Ellison RFA Buffalo Bills
Buster Davis ERFA Detroit Lions
Larry Izzo UFA New England Patriots
Zach Thomas UFA Dallas Cowboys
Many pundits expect the Dolphins to target a LB as early as round 1. Brian Cushing, Rey Mauluaga, James Laurinitis, Clay Mathews, and Aaron Curry are the top LB’s in this years draft.
CORNER BACKS AND SAFETIES
ON THE ROSTER
Nathan Jones, Will Allen, Jason Allen, Gibril Wilson, Will Billingsley, Joey Thomas, Scorpio Babers, Tyrone Culver, Ethan Kilmer, Courtney Bryan.
(5 out of 5): The Dolphins may have fixed a hole at the SS position by signing Gibril Wilson on Wednesday but their starting CB and FS slots are void of quality. The Phins could possibly lose Safety Renaldo Hill and CB Andre’ Goodman to free agency and outside of Will Allen, their cornerbacks are short of nothing special. This is a need that the Phins will have to address potentially with free agency and the draft, and cornerbacks are not cheap.
CORNERS and SAFETIES
Jabari Greer - Buff: Greer is one of the top available free agent corners in this years market but there are a lot of teams that will be willing to throw money his way and overpay. Greer is good but he is not a shutdown corner. He will however likely get paid close to one.
De’Angelo Hall – Wash: The Redskins say they want to retain him, but Hall will likely want to test the market. Last season he was cut by the Raiders and immediately signed with the Skins. This year he will have the opportunity to shop himself with the season still being 5 months away from training camp.
Bryant McFadden – Pitt: A lot has been mentioned about McFadden being a Dolphins target, but the money that would be required to sign him likely won’t fit what the Dolphins will be willing to spend. He is young, but benefits from a front 7 unit that rarely gives opposing QB’s time to find an open target. Is he that good or a product of the system? Someone is going to pay a lot of money to find out.
Jim Leonhard – Balt: The rumor is that Leonhard will sign with the NY Jets on the first weekend of free agency. Leonhard really liked playing for Rex Ryan his DC last season and now HC of the Jets.
Leigh Bodden - Det: The Lions released the corner a few weeks ago and thus far no one has taken much interest in the street free agent. As the clock ticks off the opening weekend flurry of transactions, Bodden may find a suitor.
Other UFA’s and RFA’s:
Tyron Brackenridge, UFA, Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Brown, UFA, Chicago Bears
Phillip Buchanon, UFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian Dawkins, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Rodney Harrison, UFA, New England Patriots
Kelvin Hayden, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Daven Holly, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Dawan Landry, RFA, Baltimore Ravens
R.W. McQuarters, UFA, New York Giants
Justin Miller, UFA, New York Jets
Lawyer Milloy, UFA, Atlanta Falcons
Jarrad Page, UFA, Kansas City Chiefs
Allen Rossum, UFA, San Francisco 49ers
Darren Sharper, UFA,Minnesota Vikings
Will Allen UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Adams UFA Cleveland Browns
Rashad Baker UFA Oakland Raiders
Jason Craft UFA St Louis Rams
Reed Doughty RFA Washington Redskins
Demarcus Faggins UFA Houston Texans
Sean Jones UFA Cleveland Browns
Jermaine Phillips UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers
James Sanders UFA New England Patriots
George Wilson UFA Buffalo Bills