After signing Pro-Bowl CB Brent Grimes to a 4 year contract extension, the Miami Dolphins now turn to Free Agency to start fixing what was a ghastly O-Line last season. The Dolphins have issues at every position on the O-Line except for center (assuming C Mike Pouncey is not punished for his participation in the Incognito-Martin fiasco). That means Miami has four spots to fill (2 tackles and 2 guards) in both FA and the 2014 NFL Draft. First thing is first, the Dolphins need to find a LT to protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. The three big names in FA right now are Kansas City’s Branden Albert, Oakland’s Jared Veldheer, and Baltimore’s Eugene Monroe. Sources close to the team (per NFL.com) report that Arizona is at the top of the list of suitors for Veldheer, and Branden Albert is reportedly the ‘Phins’ number one target right now. Apparently Albert is very close to being a Dolphin, but those are of course rumors and have not been stated directly from Miami’s front staff. That being said, I think Miami’s best option of the “Big 3″ is Eugene Monroe.
Monroe has been the healthiest of the three during his time in the league. In five seasons, Monroe has missed just 5 games. That is extremely good for someone who gets hit on every single play and is tasked with protecting his QB’s blindside. Advantage Monroe.
Furthermore, Monroe is the perfect size for Miami’s zone blocking scheme. He is 6 foot 5 and a quick yet strong 305 pounds. Veldheer is 6 foot 8 and 322 pounds. Albert is also a good size at 6 foot 5, 316 pounds, but has struggled to stay healthy, and that could prove costly to Miami late in a season. All three would be able to play in Miami’s scheme, but given Monroe’s healthy past and perfect size, I would give him the advantage in this situation too.
As of right now, all signs point to Miami landing Branden Albert, and I am not sure how I feel about that. It looks like Baltimore will retain Monroe, who in my opinion is the best out of the three. He possesses ideal size for Miami’s zone blocking scheme and has started at least 15 games in each season he has been in the league. In other words, he is reliable, proven and a for sure thing.
In terms of money, Monroe and Albert will demand around the same in terms of their contracts. I would not mind Miami spending a little bit more for Monroe, seeing that he has not had as many injuries as Albert in the past. Regardless of how this scenario plays out, I am just glad that new GM Dennis Hickey is being active and addressing Miami’s glaring needs in FA. If the Dolphins can land one of the “Big 3″ and possibly another linemen in FA, it will give them a better picture of who to target in the upcoming draft.