The clock is still ticking but it will not be ticking much longer. The start of the league new year and thus free agency begins officially at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.
While it’s already being reported in the media that several big name players are set to sign new contracts with other teams, like Calais Campbell with the Jaguars, what can you expect the Miami Dolphins to do?
The answer is actually quite simple. Barring a major shocker, the Dolphins will do absolutely nothing. This is not the same team it was three and four years ago. This is the football team of Adam Gase and Chris Grier and the approach they are taking is not to overspend. It’s to fill in.
Those days of overspending on the big-ticket name are over for now. The Dolphins want to be more careful with their cap allocations and the idea of keeping their own young players over higher priced veterans is taking hold within the teams executive structure.
When the proverbial bell rings at 4:00 p.m. do not expect the Dolphins to announce a big signing. Do not anticipate hearing that a contract has been offered to anyone actually. Instead, the Dolphins are likely going to take the approach they took last year. They are going to be diligent and look for players that will supplement the roster while they develop their own players.
Last years approach brought in Mario Williams and it didn’t work. But the same approach did work with Isa Abdul-Quddus and it worked out very well for Andre Branch who’s one year FA deal is now a three-year $27 million deal. Expect to see more of these types of deals in the coming days, not day.
The Dolphins have thus far traded for Julius Thomas which become official today. Re-signed both Kenny Stills and the aforementioned Branch. They have decisions to make on several restricted free agents and are currently working on an extension for Kiko Alonso. That deal could be announced by 4:00 this afternoon.
What you are more likely to hear about today are players like Michael Thomas and Damien Williams. Alonso and talk about Dion Sims possibly returning. As for other teams free agents, it won’t be quiet just more of a rolling thunder than a loud strike.
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The Dolphins will start lining up free agent visits and these players are expected to be young players with potential who will be value based signings. The Dolphins are expected to host LB Lawarence Timmons sometime in the next couple of days. At 31 he may be the oldest free agent visit although some believe Miami may entertain former Jets center Nick Mangold for a potential guard spot.
There should be a lot of excitement surrounding this years free agency. For all the right reasons. Miami seems to be willing to spend their cap space but that money is going to internal players. The Dolphins are building a team to win consistently not buying one piece and hoping the rest of the puzzle falls into place.
More importantly the Dolphins appear to be looking at players that can fit the systems that they are running. In other words, those days of trying to fit square pegs into round holes appear to be over.
Finally watch for names like Koa Misi and Dion Jordan to surface as both could be released to free up more cap space. In addition a restructured deal of Reshad Jones could also add cap space as well. There is a lot of work to do and a lot of moving parts that will make this free agency interesting. Just don’t expect the Dolphins…to make a big splash.