Which of The Miami Dolphins 2013 Free Agents Are Expendable?

Will Miami resign Long?


It’s a little before the half way mark of the season and The Miami Dolphins are looking a whole lot better then anyone expected them to be(including myself).  The only lingering problem is that this team that has been coming together and winning games might not look the same next season.  Yes, it’s a little early to be looking into next season already, especially when the chance of the Phins making the playoffs is on the rise, but I’m sure the front office has already started to keep their eyes on draft picks, free agents on the market and which of the 24 or more Dolphins that will be hitting the open market at years end.  Miami has too many players and not enough money to resign all of them and some are not worth the money anyway, but some are worth every penny they might ask for.  Miami also has the franchise tag that they can use on any player they like but, depending on the player, could do more harm then good against the cap.

Most of Miami’s free agents are also skill and impact players that are in positions that have finally been fixed or in the process of being fixed and allowing those players to leave could set the team back  from the direction and pace that they are heading in.  Miami does have a shot at the playoffs this year but not at the Super Bowl, well at least not yet.  The team has continued to change and get better everyweek so you never know what miracle could be made in South Florida.  Allowing their star players to get away in the off season could potentially destroy the chemistry the team has achieved and hurt next years chances.  GM Jeff Ireland believes that he can always find a diamond in the rough and not have to pay players or deal with divas.  He has also cut 4 out of 9 from this years draft and Tight End Michael Egnew has yet to be active.  He also cut 2 from 2011 and Daniel Thomas is not working out so far.  So out of Ireland’s last 15 draft picks, 3 have actually made a real difference, 5 are 2nd or 3rd string backups, 1 hasn’t played yet and 6 were cut.  So far the draft is not the way to go, at least not while Ireland is making the calls.

Miami’s Free Agents this year are:

Anthony Armstrong                        Will Barker                          Reggie Bush

Chris Clemons                                   Pat Devlin                            Anthony Fasano  

Ray Feinga                                          Jonathan Freeny              Jabar Gaffney  

Nate Garner                                       Brian Hartline                     Jake Long

Jeron Mastrud                                  Tony McDaniel                  Marlon Moore  

Matt Moore                                       Lydon Murtha                   Jonathon Amaya  

Sean Smith                                         Austin Spitler                     R.J. Stanford  

Randy Starks                                      Marcus Thigpen                Jason Trusnik  


That’s a total of 24 players Miami has scheduled to hit the open market after the season.  There are quite a few names on this list that could seriously damage the Phins if they were allowed to get away.  Even though many might say that its not a possibility for players like Jake Long or Reggie Bush to leave, Ireland has pulled off some serious head scratchers in the past.  The majority of this list can easily be allowed to walk away like Garner, Spitler, Stanford and others unless they would like to return on minimum salaries since they don’t produce anyway.  Tony Mcdaniel has been less then average in play and that’s when hes not hurt so losing him wouldn’t exactly be a surprise.  The “must keeps” on this list are a serious problem when it comes to cap room.

On offense, Jake Long is considered to be one of the best Left Tackles in the league and will be demanding big numbers in a new contract. Bush with his 1000 yards last year and likely 1000 yard season again this year will warrant good money but nothing big because he is 27, injury prone and replaceable.  Working in Bush’s favor is the fact that Daniel Thomas does not seem to be working out and Lamar Miller isn’t ready to carry the load yet.  Hartline, Fasano and Thigpen are not HUGE factors but big enough to matter and demand medium to large contracts.  Hartline being Tannehill’s favorite target, Fasano being the only real TE on the team and Thigpen being the best kick returner Miami has had in a decade are all players that must be retained.  Moore knows the offense and had good showings but hasn’t exactly been lights out, he will be a coaching decision.  Pat Devlin has apparently come a long way and is a viable back up to Tannehill, which makes Moore expendable and that’s if he doesn’t get traded before the deadline. Most the other players on offense are on one year contracts or rookie deals.

On defense the only must keeps are Sean Smith who has finally started to prove that he can really play at an elite level and Randy Starks who is having a great year and will only continue to grow playing along side Paul Soliai. Chris Clemons has not shown enough to be brought back with a big contract or even a medium one.  If he wants to stay he will have to agree to a less then average contract or test the open waters. Spitler and Trusnik have been little more then Special Teams specialists and are easily replaceable as well as the remaining players.

So out of 24 there are 7 that must be a part of this team going into next season to keep some kind of cohesion, but will also eat up a large chunk of the $50 million the Phins are supposed to have next year(give or take a few million).  Not to mention that there must be at least $5 million to sign draft picks and Owner Stephen Ross has publicly stated that a dominate #1 receiver will be this off season’s main priority.  Star receivers demand star money.  Even though Miami has a whole lot of cap room going into next season, it seems to quickly disappear when you read over the FA list and needs of the team.

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Tags: Brian Hartline Jake Long Jeff Ireland Reggie Bush

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerimie-Nordlum-Rothwell/1448173712 Jerimie Nordlum-Rothwell

    Long, Hartline and Smith all are a must resign. If we can’t reach a deal with Long then trade him for draft picks. Not too many Stud OL in this years draft. Hartline will help take pressure whoever we draft this year whether its Keenan Allen, Woods or someone else. Same goes for Sean Smith…………..Starks would be nice to bring back, but he is having a pro bowl season so its going to take a lot of $$ to bring him back.

    • Miami Jules

      I agree… Long has been plagued by nagging injuries lately, so I understand where IPP above is saying, but he is a one time 1 round draft pick and a pro-bowler and desrves all the benifit of a doubt he has earned.

    • jcartwright67

      I’m not completely sure of the trade rules but Long isn’t eligible….not realisticly I should point out. His contract ends this season. We have two options; sign him to a new contract or franchise him for one season. To trade would mean doing that right now in mid-season while under contract…which makes no sense to us or any team wanting him. A trade would require a team assume his huge salary this season and accept the fact he’s a FA next season. This would force a team to negotiate a new, long-term contract before season’s end or loose him to FA. Not a realistice option or a completely desperate move.

  • Ripp

    In the past two years Long has regressed. I think they could resign him near what he is making now. Smith, being a CB will command big bucks. Hartline should make what a number 2 WR averages to make and I think Bush is happy with the way he is being used in Miami and for that reason I think he will take give Miami a home town discount. Fasano is the wild card. That is one player that will be hard to predict what will happen. As for Starks, I think he will be the one that they let walk. He is having a great year but of all the starters he is the most expendable due to the depth at DL.

    • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

      id rather see them trade odrick then let starks walk. Starks is having a pro bowl year and is another player that would stay for less imo.

  • Jeff in PA

    Thank you very much for your service to our country. I’m a Dolfan from the glory years of Super Bowl Victor days, but also a HUGE Dan Marino fan, stranded here in NW PA, and in the Buffalo Bills viewing area. Could be worse, could be in NJ, NY or Boston.
    I think losing Long next year may be a mistake, unless someone else offers way too much money. Bush, albeit an exciting back to watch, may NOT be a long-term answer. Smith and Starks are the must signs. Let’s hope by the end of this year, we have a problem of having 4-5 more must signs on this list.
    Go Phins!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

      i feel your pain. I live i Maine, prime Boston viewing area. Its tough being a phins fan this deep into new england

    • http://twitter.com/JumpManOneFive Tim the III

      Im in northwest PA too Jeff stupid Bills haha

  • Miami Jules

    Will Barker? Who is he? Please pardon my ignorance but I hadn’t even heard of the name, and this year, for the first time, I actually followed the pre-draft and consequential draft… I can’t even remember some of the positions some of these less notable FA’s play, but some of these, not as famous names, at least ring some of kind of bell, but Will Barker? May Mr. Barker forgive me, but it doesn’t even sound like an NFL name to me… sounds more like … er… a game show host maybe?

  • jcartwright67

    Smith, Starks, Devlin, Hartline, Bush, and Long are my choices to retain. I’m no capologist so I’m not sure its possible. Smith, is a top tier CB. He’s not elite as evidenced by him being schooled by the Rams but produced well against Cincy and AZ. He’s inconsistent but a top tier guy none the less. Starks is a beast. Enough said. Devlin will be cheaper than Moore and just as good in the WCO. Moore will go to a team with a chance to start. Hartline is a strong, dependable, and sometimes exceptional 2nd WR. A great fit in the WCO. Bush is a threat to any D at any moment and a real talent that Tannehill needs in his development. He must stay! Long is my big question mark. He’s going to be real expensive and I don’t see him dominate…but that could be my ignorance. He has penalties, allows sacks, and misses assignments on blocking. He’s good/great…but is he the best or deserve such a large portion of the cap. Could we still be competitive with moving Martin to his natural left side and replacing him with a RT in the draft or FA? That option would be cheaper than resigning Long as we know LT’s command a higher salary than RT’s. Getting a list of starting caliber FA’s for next year would be nice. I’d sure like to get a solid WR and TE…something sorely missing from our O and not financially available to us last year.

  • kells

    Starks and Smith are mandatory. Long maybe not for the money he wants and I see him fading. He isn’t the same Long as his first 2 years. I say let him go and get another Pouncey type of rookie linemen who is fast and strong. Move Martin to LT, he will be bigger, better and stronger next season, perfect at LT. Hartline will work for the right price, if not let him go too. I am starting to like Clemons finally, we may want to reconsider letting him go but it has to be for the right price. Bush can stay for a low price because I think we can get a FA or rookie to do what he does now.