Drew Rosenhaus was on local Miami radio yesterday talking about his running back client Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw is working out in the Miami area and according to his agent would “love to play for the Miami Dolphins”. And so begins the yearly lead up to NFL free agency where agents will say anything depending on what town they are in. If Rosenhaus was in NY, you can bet he would have said that Bradshaw would “love to re-sign with the Giants”. If Cleveland it would be the Browns, and so on.
Yet, Bradshaw would make an ideal compliment to the bullheaded Daniel Thomas. He is quick, catches well, and has a solid history with the Giants as part of a duo and at one point a trio of rotating backs with the G-men. His style of play would benefit the Dolphins in third down situations and while his name isn’t as flashy as say, Reggie Bush, he can be just as electric and has a better NFL statistical career thus far than Bush.
And he will be much cheaper as well.
When free agency opens there will be a lot of options, not just at the running back position and where the Dolphins decide to spend their money will be as interesting as who they spend their money on. For example, what happens if Logan Mankins is stripped of his franchise tag and makes it to the open market? Last year’s hot rumor was that the Dolphins attempted to trade for Mankins in a rare division trade. Would Miami pounce on the opportunity to add a Pro-Bowl guard to their line without giving up compensation?
The Dolphins are not in a position to add multiple top names to their team. It’s likely they can add one big name and then a couple of pieces from the tier two of free agency. This year however will be different considering the short time period between the start of FA and the start of training camp. Those second tier players will be off the board quick and it will not be surprising to see many FA’s sign with the first team they visit or sign without visiting a team at all.
For the Dolphins, they also will need to look at their own free agents. With an expected window of 72 hours to sign their own players, the Dolphins, like the other 31 teams will need to have a plan already in place to get their guys under contract, release the ones they don’t want, and set up their system for dealing with free agency…oh, and of course sign their rookies and any undrafted rookies they want.
While it is common knowledge that Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs, and Ronnie Brown will be free agents, Tyler Thigpen, despite his non-franchise tag will likely hit the FA market. Thigpen wants to compete for a starting job and it’s not likely to happen in Miami despite the questions surrounding Chad Henne. With Chad Pennington gone and Thigpen likely gone, only Tom Brandstater is on the roster leaving everyone to rightfully assume that the Dolphins will add a QB once the new league year starts.
Of all the Dolphins free agents, Tony McDaniel could become the sole priority during that 72 hour window. McDaniels’ play over the last two seasons has progressed enough to warrant the Dolphins giving him another deal. He is becoming a valuable team player in their defensive rotation. Outside of McDaniel, Richie Incognito remains unsigned as well but is likely to remain in Miami even if he does not sign a multi-year deal.
What this all culminates in is a 72 hour window into what the rest of the NFL does and the Miami Dolphins do. In what could be a glimpse into that window of free agency, Miami’s decision to sign any of their players in that 72 hour period will be a better indication on what they are looking for when the market opens. As will every other team in the league.