The Miami Dolphins have holes that they need filled and they have starting spots that need to be filled. What they do in free agency will help dictate what they do in the draft.
It’s never an easy task to find the right pieces for a football team. The Dolphins have learned over the past several years that simply adding the number one free agent doesn’t work. The Mike Wallace’s and the Dannell Ellerbe’s are all high-profile price tags but don’t always bring the same punch.
Finding the right fits is as important as finding the right talent level. Last year the Dolphins scaled back on free agent spending and it’s likely that this season will do much of the same. Ideally the Dolphins would like to get to a place where talent is being supplemented and not replaced.
This years Dolphins team is not in the position to simply supplement their roster. They have too many needs that can’t simply be addressed in the draft. There are two ways they can do this. One, by adding starters to the roster in free agency and two, by adding depth players in free agency and then drafting their needs. The second may be smarter as they work towards building a long-term solution but the first will allow them to compete quicker. Or should.
Miami however needs to find a third option. An option that allows them to do both. That option involves identifying the positions of greatest need, addressing it in free agency with one or maybe two players, then supplementing the roster until the draft allows them to fill out the remaining holes. But what positions are of th greatest need?
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There is no guaranteed that Byron Maxwell will play out this years contract with the Dolphins although given the parameters of the deal, $8.5 million against the cap, $3 million in dead money if released, and a savings of $5.5 million, Maxwell could very well play it out and the Dolphins may find improvement in his play.
Releasing Maxwell would create a unnessary hole but it’s now one that can’t be filled. The Dolphins will need to address the position in the draft again this year but not in rounds one or two. Free agency could be a starting spot to supplement the roster. The problem is the Dolphins got good but not great production from their back-ups this year and the group as a whole is very young. Players like Xavien Howard and Tony Lippett are both growing into their roles.
Free agency should provide the Dolphins an opportunity to address Maxwell’s spot if the Dolphins opt to move on but if they do not and keep Maxwell, free agency would not be a wise spot to try to find a starter. In this case looking to the draft would be the smarter bet.