The Miami Dolphins are heading into the NFL Free Agency period with roughly $30 million plus in cap space, which will give new general manager Dennis Hickey room to fill key holes along his talented roster.
Hickey was recently able to sign CB Brent Grimes, coming off a Pro Bowl season with four-interceptions, to a 4-year deal as his first play of the 2014 offseason. The best is yet to come, in my opinion.
Miami recently explored the idea of bringing former Cleveland Browns MLB D’Qwell Jackson on board, but Jackson opted to sign a 4-year deal with Indianapolis instead. This is quite telling in that Miami is likely looking for an upgrade at the middle backer position. This would shift last year’s mike backer, Dannell Ellerbe, to the will position and last year’s will backer, Philip Wheeler, to the sam position to compete with last year’s starter, Koa Misi.
Miami also brought former Detroit Lions safety, Louis Delmas, in for a visit. Last year’s starting free safety Chris Clemons is a free agent this year and Miami is in a position to upgrade that spot, but may be able to bring Clemons back as plan B if necessary.
With the free agency period beginning on March 11th, let’s take a look at some moves I would make if I were Dennis Hickey…
Move #1: Sign Eugene Monroe to protect QB Ryan Tannehill’s blind-side.
Monroe is a 26-year old left tackle, who is still young and considered one of the league’s top tackles when healthy. He is a versatile offensive lineman and would fit what Joe Philbin and co. are trying to do with their offensive line.
With Monroe and Baltimore not seeing eye-to-eye right now, Miami could swing some money his way to bring him on board.
This is one move that I would bang the table for, just not as much as the next move…
(Back-up plan: Branden Albert who is stationed in Miami currently, works out in Miami, and wants to play IN Miami. If they can get him for less money, I say why the hell not?)
Move #2: Give your money to a younger defensive lineman:
It hurts me to admit it, but Miami will not have DT Paul Soliai nor DT Randy Starks back next season. Both players are going to have a nice following for their services and Miami should look to build towards the future.
With Starks and Soliai both entering 30 years of age next season, Miami should look at a younger player, who actually may be a better option than Miami’s previous defensive tackles. DE Lamarr Houston is my guy here if I am paying top dollar for a defensive tackle and is one guy I would bang the table for.
Houston, who is just 26 years old, played defensive end for the Oakland Raiders at 300 pounds, similar to Jared Odrick two seasons ago for Miami. He’s an athletic big man who is strong at the point of attack and defends the run well, while also being a presence rushing the passer.
And for some odd reason, even with a monstrous amount of cap space, Oakland does not seem interested in retaining Houston unless the price is right as they believe he does not fit what they would like to do defensively.
Houston and Odrick would give Miami two things here:
First off, they would become one of the more versatile and athletic defensive tackle tandems in the league, along with being quite young (both are 26).
Secondly, it gives DC Kevin Coyle options in his defensive schemes. Both can play 3-4 defensive end (obviously Miami would still need a NT), but they are also athletic enough to get after the quarterback in 3rd and long situations, which was something that killed this defense a year ago. Coyle would simply have the ability to rush 4 or 5 guys to get after the QB.
Move #3: Find an upgrade at the safety position:
Now it’s time to upgrade that secondary with a true ball-hawk. The obvious choice would be former Buffalo Bills S Jarius Byrd as he is a true ball-hawk and it would weaken the Bills, but he will have a steep price tag. Former Browns S TJ Ward would also be a nice option, but I see green in Ward’s future…
The guy that I am most interested in would be former Detroit Lion, Louis Delmas. I know, I know, “Dude, he can’t stay healthy…”, but Delmas can play. He’s 26-years old and still has a decent amount of football left in his tank.
Delmas, when healthy, is arguably one of the top players at his position and would slide in nicely next to Reshad Jones in Miami’s back-end.
Move #4: Sign a guard:
Miami will likely need to find a guard this offseason, potentially two…Don’t get your hopes up for a guy like Geoff Schwartz, but there are a few second tier options that could be interesting…
Roger Saffold is my guy here if I’m Dennis Hickey. Saffold is still young and has the versatility this team is looking for in their offensive linemen. Saffold has played both tackle and guard for the St. Louis Rams, therefore he’s quite an interesting option here for Miami.
Saffold has battled injuries throughout his career, therefore I believe Miami could snag him for a decent price that would not be a huge cap hit.
Saffold’s ability to play both guard and tackle gives Miami flexibility during May to select the best offensive lineman available wherever that may be.
Move #5: Final move, have a kick-ass draft!
It’s finally time for the Miami Dolphins to have an excellent draft selecting the best player available in the first round, and then filling needs on a BPA stand-point from there on out.
With Miami’s interest in Jackson, the possibility of Alabama’s CJ Mosley at 19 interests me and get’s me quite excited as a possible move if he falls to that spot. If not Mosley, OSU OLB Ryan Shazier is another interesting option – Shazier weighed in at 237 pounds today at his pro day and ran an astounding 4.37 unofficial 40-yard dash with a tweaked hammy. Other options could include second rounders Stanford Shayne Skov and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland. Lastly, third round options include the FSU backers in Telvin Smith and Christian Jones.
Miami would also be smart to weigh the option of adding a dynamic play-maker such as Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks, USC WR Marquis Lee, LSU WR Odell Beckham, NC TE Eric Ebron, or Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro to their offensive skill group.
Let’s not forget about the running back position, either. Miami will look to add a running back this season, so don’t sleep on options such as fellow staff member Paul Picken’s guy OSU RB Carlos Hyde, Eric Roddy’s guy FSU RB James Wilder, Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk, West Virginia RB Charles Sims, or my guy, Washington RB Bishop Sankey.
Leave me some feedback in the comment section below to tell me if you like this outline or not. What did you like? What did you hate? What would you change or what would you do if you were GM of the Miami Dolphins!?
Don’t miss this week’s episode of Direct Snap as we will be discussing Free Agency throughout the entire league giving you our top 15 free agents and their top fits/predicted landing spots. If you want to catch last week’s podcast, click HERE. Don’t forget to “like” us on facebook and follow us on twitter @Direct_Snap.