The Miami Dolphins won’t have to make a decision on their free agents until March 2014. They will likely negotiate with them at some point at the appropriate time (to steal a Joe Philbin catch phrase). The start of the league new year will once again take place in March when the feeding frenzy known as free agency begins.
Last year the Dolphins invested almost 200 million dollars into contracts and loaded up on papered talent but alas nothing came of the spending spree. It has led many to believe that Ross will be a little tighter with his wallet. Perhaps, but the Dolphins do have an estimated 35 million to spend in free agency this year. Even after the spending last free agency. Sorry but that is good financial planning.
In total the Dolphins will have to make a decision on 17 impending free agents. Two are exclusive rights FA’s and four are restricted. The rest of the 11 FA’s are free to go.
Unrestricted free agents
Brett Grimes – Fans want the first year Dolphins to be re-signed and indications are that if the team can not work out a contract for him that he will receive the franchise tag. That will cost the Dolphins between 9 and 13 million for the season. Grimes today stated he wanted to stay in Miami.
Paul Soliai – There are very few up front run stoppers as good as Soliai. Soliai took a lesser deal two years ago to remain with Miami. He won’t do it again. The Dolphins will need to either pay him or let him go. Soliai is 30 years old and that may play into any decision.
Randy Starks – Starks is coming off the franchise tag and was none to thrilled when he was benched early in the season (rather wasn’t listed as the immediate starter) in favor of Jared Odrick. Odrick played well enough this year to make Starks expendable without a home town discount.
Chris Clemons – Clemons is not a player who will be in high demand and the team will likely be able to retain his services for a good price. Will they want to is another story. Clemons was o.k. this season but proved that he is not an end all safety. The Dolphins may look to depth, development, or the draft for a replacement.
Nolan Carroll – It’s time to go. Carroll was surprisingly good at times this season but was also typically bad. His last two games of the season were not very good at all and it likely was the nail in the coffin.
Bryant McKinnie – McKinnie played well for the Dolphins in the short time he was here and actually acted like a leader. Make no mistake though he is a stopgap and the Dolphins will go into free agency and the draft looking to upgrade the position. McKinnie also has a bad habit of getting out of shape in the off-season.
John Jerry – The Dolphins need to fix the offensive line and while Jerry has shown flashes of promise he is also nothing close to an answer. I would be surprised if Miami re-signed him.
Dustin Keller – At first look I would think that Keller would be a no re-sign given the play of Charles Clay but Keller is going to be a very cheap TE in free agency after his devastating injury. It might be a good idea to get him cheap for another year and see how it plays out.
Austin Spitler – Spitler saw a lot of playing time this year but really is nothing more than a special teams player. It’s unlikely he will be back as his production as a LB was not memorable.
Tyson Clabo – Believe it or not Clabo turned out to be a decent RT after a dismal start to the season that lasted into mid-season. After his benching for Jonathan Martin Clabo came back with a renewed determination. That likely won’t win him a contract extension with the Dolphins but if it does, Clabo needs to play like he did the last month and not the first two. He can’t be immediately penciled in as a starter. I would be surprised if he is back though.
Richie Incognito – Sorry but it doesn’t matter what the David Wells investigation reveals, Incognito will not return to the team. The Dolphins would have likely replaced him after this 0ff-season regardless of the scandal that surrounded him.
Restricted Free Agents:
Pat Devlin – Devins future with the Dolphins could very well be determined by what happens with Joe Philbin
Will Yeatman – This is another one of those projects that need to be wrapped up. Yeatman was moved from TE to T/G but couldn’t make it as a tackle so was made a guard and really didn’t stand out as a guard. Time to move on.
R.J. Standford – Might not be a bad short term cheap investment to keep this kid around and see what he can do through training camp. Wouldn’t cut him earlier than that and wouldn’t pencil him as a rostered player until he proves more.
Danny Watkins – Watkins was a former first round pick who failed in Philly. With the Dolphins offensive line in shamble most of the season, Watkins couldn’t crack the lineup. Do the math.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents:
Armon Binns – Binns’ injury really hurt his chances of making an impact on the team. He should get another shot through training camp to gauge his recovery. Miami learned this year that good depth at WR is a must after only bringing four to the season. Binns’ was competing for a legit number 3 position and there is no reason he can’t push Reshad Mathews for the fourth spot if Brandon Gibson comes back healthy.
Jonathan Freeny – After two years we are still waiting to see this kid develop into something. He is not expensive, he is an exclusive rights FA, and is young. No reason to not let him play it out in training camp.
It’s hard to say what is worse, having 17 players ready to hit free agency in some way or the fact that only two of them are really instrumental to your team. Paul Soliai and Brent Grimes are the only two players Miami should be ready to buy at a premium. The rest of the players, if they leave, are players that can be replaced internally, VIA free agency, or in the draft.