Dolphins Free Agents – Offense

The Dolphins have twelve players set to hit the market once free agency begins and they have a lot of tough decisions to make. I will break down the free agents over the course of the coming week. In this column, I will highlight the primary offensive free agents. Later this week, I will highlight the primary defensive free agents and then in the final installment, I will highlight the rest of the bunch.

Reggie Bush
Coming to the Miami Dolphins, Bush was labeled as injury prone and someone who couldn’t last an entire season. Over the past two years, Bush has proven to be a hard worker who gives everything he has in practices and in games. Bush has been a dynamite player for the Dolphins and as this past season progressed, they got him more involved in the passing game, which paid off.

If Bush walks, the Dolphins are left with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Lamar Miller is dynamite and is the future of the Miami Dolphins backfield. However, Daniel Thomas has shown a lot of hesitation over the past few years and also dealt with numerous concussions last season. Can Miller and Thomas make up for the absence of Reggie Bush?

I don’t think so. The Dolphins should bring back Reggie Bush and work hard to get him involved in the passing game. Bill Belicheck has two dynamite Tight Ends and works to get them both involved. Joe Philbin needs to do the same with Bush and Miller and make Defensive Coordinators stay up late to figure out how to stop the dynamic duo.

Brian Hartline
Hartline is one of the guys who quietly goes about his business and doesn’t seek the attention that a lot of wideouts look for. As the primary receiver for the Dolphins this past season, Hartline caught 74 passes and gained 1,083 yards – both career highs. All of this with no past experience with Ryan Tannehill.

If the Dolphins keep Hartline, and they should, Mike Wallace would be the perfect compliment. Wallace is a speedster and will spread the entire field. While Jennings is a nice addition, I feel he is too much like Hartline – just a possession receiver. With three possession receivers in Jennings, Hartline, and Bess, the Dolphins will find themselves in the same situation as last year, which was them being unable to spread the field.

Imagine a receiver corps of Wallace, Hartline, and Bess along with Bush and Miller? The Dolphins can be pretty explosive. The Dolphins should resign Hartline and not let him even get to the open market.

Jake Long
Has there been an article you’ve read that hasn’t mentioned Jake Long? In 2008, the Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long with the #1 pick in the draft. In his first three years, he started every game. However, in 2011, he only played in 14 games and in 2012, he only played in 12. Is Jake Long declining or has he been met with bad luck over the past two seasons?

It’s hard to say but I’m going to lean towards bad luck. Jake Long is a monster. While his production did decline a little this year, you need to remember that he was playing in a new system with new schemes.

When you select Jake Long with the #1 pick in the draft and you let him walk after his contract ends, what does that say about your talent evaluation and the job you’re doing? Remember, they also let Vontae Davis go, who was the Dolphins first round pick in the 2009 draft.

It is very hard to find great left tackles in the NFL. If you don’t have a left tackle who can handle the elite defensive ends, your quarterback won’t survive. We all saw what happened when Jonathan Martin stepped in. At times, he looked absolutely clueless and couldn’t handle the pass rush.

The Dolphins need to resign Jake Long. If he hits the open market, his price tag will skyrocket and the Dolphins won’t be able to afford him. Work out a deal or slap the franchise tag on him. You need consistency on the offensive line and keeping Jake Long in place will help the line and the Dolphins offense take the next step in 2013.

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