It’s unofficial but it’s official. Teams can’t sign a player, they can’t even talk to a player but starting today and continuing over the next three days, teams can talk to a players agent. Including contract details. This isn’t a gauge your interest period it’s a negotiation period. Will the Miami Dolphins make a play for Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe? Possibly. They will start talking today for certain.
While today marks the opening of free agent talk there has been some speculation over the last 24 hours that some pre-window tampering may have taken place. Arizona’s Darnell Dockett “tweeted” yesterday a welcome to his new teammate Branden Albert. If Albert signs with the Cardinals on Tuesday, a team also looking for a new LT, the NFL could take a look. The other LT that Miami is interested in, Monroe, is still negotiating a deal with the Baltimore Ravens but the Ravens want to pay eight million per season and Monroe wants ten.
The Dolphins, with a plenty of cap space, almost 40 million minus the portions handed to Brent Grimes could swoop in and take Monroe. If both options fail and they very well may, the Dolphins should look to the West coast where Jared Veldheer is hitting the open market. Veldheer is the least known of the top three but many have him ranked the 2nd best tackle in free agency above Albert. At 26 years old he is younger that Albert too. He likely won’t be much cheaper.
The Dolphins don’t simply have OT needs. They need guards as well and we are all about to see what Dennis Hickey’s vision for this team is. Hickey has to replace Tyson Clabo, Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, Bryant McKinnie, and John Jerry. One LT isn’t going to fix the line and it’s inconceivable that the Dolphins will address all four position in free agency. The Dolphins best plan of attack would be to add a LT in free agency where the pool is three high and one legit starting guard. The team should then look to adding a RT and RG via free agency that are either up and coming or aging veterans while avoiding more higher profile players. Then address those two positions in the draft outside of round one.
While Miami doesn’t have a lot of other needs on offense, that can’t wait until the draft, the defensive side of the ball will be a lot more interesting. Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are both testing the free agency market. Starks has supposedly moved out of his home and Soliai’s agent, David Canter has said it was a “great seven years in Miami”. Soliai is expected to be pursued by multiple teams starting today.
The Dolphins will eventually have to make a decision on Dimitri Patterson but for now they don’t need to do anything. Expect Patterson, who’s 5.4 million dollar cap hit doesn’t become guaranteed until the start of the season, to be sitting on the outside while Miami does their business. Then the team will likely ask him to restructure his contract to a far less deal with playing time incentives. The Dolphins will also need to look at replacing Nolan Carroll who is testing the market as well
For now, there isn’t much talk moving around the net today. The New York Jets are expected to make a run at KC guard Jon Asamoah and Rotoworld is reporting that the team will start talking with his agent sometime today.
The Dolphins have however tendered two of their exclusive rights free agents. LB Jonathan Freeney and WR Armon Binns.