Arguably the worst part (or maybe the most talked about) part of the 2013-2014 Miami Dolphins was the offensive line. No team gave up more sacks than the ‘Phins this season, and that is undoubtedly a result of two things. First, the ‘Phins O-Line was not as talented or as strong as it has been in the past. Secondly, OL Coach Jim Turner and Head Coach Joe Philbin did not prepare their players for opposing defenses. Is it entirely one of these two reasons that made the ‘Fins’ O-Line stink so bad? No, it was most likely a combination of both. That being said, Miami must fix their O-Line this off season, whether through Free Agency or the draft, if they want to have a better year next season. Here is a list of potential free agent linemen that the Dolphins could target through Free Agency.
Branden Albert, LT, Kansas City Chiefs: According to sources and analysts, Albert is apparently “the guy” that the Miami Dolphins will pursue this off season. The ‘Fins’ decided against signing Albert last season. He started 12 games for the Chiefs and only gave up 4 sacks.
Charles Brown, LT, New Orleans Saints: He started 14 games for the Saints last season, but was eventually benched for Terron Armstead. He is still young (age 26) and the Dolphins could get Brown for a decent price. He will most likely test the FA market looking for a starting gig.
Eugene Monroe, LT, Baltimore Ravens: After Bryant McKinnie was benched, he was signed by our very own Miami Dolphins and used as a stop-gap at LT this season. Monroe was the person he got benched for in Baltimore, and for good reason. This guy is a prototypical franchise LT. He would not come to Miami without a large price, that is, if Baltimore doesn’t re-sign him first. Monroe would solve Miami’s huge hole at left tackle.
Michael Oher, RT, Baltimore Ravens: I see the Ravens securing Monroe, and potentially letting the man behind the movie The Blind Side walk. Oher would be a great 1-2 year stop-gap for the Dolphins. He can play the tackle position at a high level, though his progress in the league has slowed with age. The 27 year old would be an upgrade from Tyson Clabo at RT for sure, and Miami could probably get him for a decent veteran’s price.
Rodger Saffold, RG, St. Louis Rams: This is fellow staff writer Tyler McMullen’s guy. Saffold can play either LG or RG, and is a beast of a guy at 6 foot 5, 332 pounds. He is athletic and would fit well in Miami’s blocking scheme. If St. Louis doesn’t want to pay him, expect him to be high on Miami’s radar.
The Miami Dolphins will likely fix their offensive line through a combination of draft picks and Free Agency additions. Good Linemen are invaluable and are therefore hard to come by. The ‘Phins will like have to spend a chunk of their cap space on a new member of their offensive line, but looking at how often Ryan Tannehill was on his back last season, it may be a worthy investment. I personally hope to see Miami wait until the 2nd or 3rd round before drafting a lineman, as the 2014 Draft is deep at the position but not especially top-heavy. The Dolphins made a huge splash in last year’s FA, spending over 90 million dollars and yet failed to make the playoffs. Hopefully new GM Dennis Hickey has a plan, and a good one at that.