The Dolphins are one of the youngest teams in the NFL for a reason. only 14 players are above the age of 29 and nine of those are over the age of 30. Not all of those 14 are expected back on the roster when the 2017 season kicks off.
T.J. Yates was added as insurance to Matt Moore, Matt Moore has one year left on his deal and is expected back. Mario Williams is not. Of the 14 29 and over, only six players were non-injury replacement starters. Ndamukong Suh, Branden Albert, Earl Mitchell, Jermon Bushrod, Cameron Wake, and John Denney.
Of those starters only Suh, Wake, Albert, and Bushrod were very good in 2016. Conversely the Patriots have 12 players on their roster currently over the age of 29. Almost all of them are high contributors to the team.
This is not an area that the Dolphins need to improve in. The team must get better in the 25-28 range so those players grow into stage three and maybe stage four. Where Miami’s problem lies however is that they have no back-up plans for this groups eventual departure from the team.
Miami must find replacements for Cameron Wake and it’s not a bad idea to start looking for options now for Ndamukong Suh although the priority is a lot less. Bushrod, Matt Moore, and linebacker Koa Misi all need replacements on the roster this year ideally. John Denney at the age of 38 only has one maybe two years left but the Dolphins should be looking for a replacement now and maybe even this off-season. Denney is an impending free agent and is a specialist.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins some of their better depth is also in this group. Dominique Jones, Sam Young, Kraig Urbik, Bushrod, and Moore. Jones and Bushrod are free agents and the Dolphins have no players on the roster to replace them with.
Then there is Branden Albert. Albert is starting to show the signs of his age. At 32 Albert’s back issues appear to be starting to take its toll. Miami has his replacement in Laremy Tunsil but they don’t have Tunsil’s replacement at left guard. Moving on from Albert will not likely be happening this year. Albert will count just over $10 million in cap space this year and releasing him would save the Dolphins over $7 million but again, they may have to replace two guard positions this off-season if they release Albert.