March 12th officially kicks off the 2013 NFL Free Agency period. With over 40 million in cap space, Miami has the tools needed to make a big splash and fill the necessary holes on both sides of the ball. Whether they focus primarily on defense or offense, I expect to see GM Jeff Ireland make at least one big move in FA this year, whether it be grabbing one of the big three wide receivers, or staying within the organization and signing one of our own free agents. The Dolphins success in 2013 will greatly depend on the organization’s ability to be smart yet effective in both free agency and the upcoming draft. Here are the three free agents I want the Fins to sign, and the three free agents I think they will sign.
Free Agents I’d like to see take their talents to South Beach:
1. Fred Davis, TE Washington Redskins: Davis has yet had the opportunity to really prove himself in this league. After coming off his best season two years ago with 796 receiving yards, Davis tore his achilles last season. Davis is what the Dolphins need. He is 6 foot 4, 247 lbs of muscle, but still has the speed to get down field. One of the reasons I like Davis is he would come relatively cheap. The only problem with Davis is he would definitely be a project, especially having just recovered from a serious injury and never really having a “wow” season. However, he has the size the Fins need to help QB Ryan Tannehill in both the redzone and on third down. The worst thing that could happen is the Dolphins bring in Davis and he fails to perform and the Fins lose a small chunk of change on him. The upside? The Dolphins get a playmaking beast that gives defensive coordinators fits.
2. Randy Starks, DT Miami Dolphins: I really really like Randy Starks. After watching him closely all last season, he became one of my favorite Dolphins. While Starks is aging (age 29), he still has a couple good years left. Frankly, I don’t trust moving DE Jared Odrick inside, especially to fill Starks’ shoes. I also don’t like the idea of the Fins using a draft pick to take a DT in the draft, as they need to utilize those picks on other defensive needs like DE or CB. I would love to see Starks in teal and orange again next year, hopefully along side a new aggressive pass rusher and DE Cameron Wake.
3. Derek Cox, CB Jacksonville Jaguars: While at some point I see the Dolphins going secondary in the draft, I don’t think bringing in Derek Cox could hurt. Cox has missed a bunch of games over the last three seasons, but when he is healthy, he is a pass-stopping machine. There is a chance the Jags will keep Cox, but if they don’t I would love to see Ireland bring him to Miami and help the Dolphins’ secondary. If the Phins got Cox, they could draft a safety to help Reshad Jones.
Free Agents I think will take their talents to South Beach:
1. Greg Jennings, WR Green Bay Packers: Whether or not you’re for Jennings coming to Miami, deep down I think this deal will happen. It makes sense. Jennings puts his house up for sale. He calls out HC Joe Philbin on TV and says, “Hey Joe remember me?” Jennings then goes on to say he “wouldn’t mind playing in Miami.” Lastly and most importantly, the Dolphins need a wide receiver. Preferably one who will perform and keep his mouth shut (no more Brandon Marshalls or Chad Johnsons please). The only way I don’t see Miami taking Jennings is if they are planning to go wide receiver early in the draft, or if they don’t want to shell out the money Jennings will demand. Whether or not you want him, seeing Jennings in a different shade of green catching a touchdown after touchdown from Tannehill would be nice.
2. Jared Cook, TE Tennessee Titans: Personally, I don’t think Miami will re-sign Fasano, and Michael Egnew is not his replacement. With Eifert and Ertz being the only “safe” picks at tight end in the draft, I think Miami will grab Cook out of FA. While I like Davis, Cook has already proven himself as a playmaker during his time in Tennessee. He is big, fast, and is athletic enough to hurtle players. One of the main reasons I see Miami taking Cook is he would be relatively inexpensive for his output, and is not a diva off the field, which is exactly what Joe Philbin is looking for.
3. Brian Hartline, WR Miami Dolphins: This is a pretty safe bet I think. Hartline is coming off his best statistical year (surpassing the 1k mark) and established himself as Tannehill’s go to target. However, Hartline is by no means the answer for Miami’s number one receiver, and he everyone knows it. That doesn’t mean he isn’t valuable. I think Miami will keep Hartline while shopping (or drafting) the number one option. Hartline has great hands and while he is prone to falling down after catching the ball, the upside is he catches the ball.
Whether or not my predictions hold true in the upcoming month, the fact of the matter is Miami needs to do something. There is no more time for waiting. The fans are eager for a winning season. With a few extra plays made here and there, Miami makes the playoffs in 2012. Miami has all the cards to make a push and grab exactly what they need, and establish a team that will make the playoffs, or more.