Now that the NFL Draft is over, Miami may look to return to the free agent market to add depth at key positions.
The Miami Dolphins did an excellent job in the NFL Draft to build their team for long-term success. They went in with the intent to build their defense, and with five of seven drafted players, did just that. However, as is usually the case, there remains room for improvement. Therefore, don’t be surprised if the Dolphins look back to the free agent market to add quality depth at some key positions.
Even at this point of free agency there are quality players who remain available. Chances are the Dolphins will remain patient in signing any players until later on. Quality players from other teams will continue to get cut, and Miami may prefer to swoosh in and pick them up after the fact. As it stands, however, after signing 14 undrafted rookies, the Dolphins have 88 roster spots filled. That leaves two spots still available to invite to training camp.
The team may decide to continue looking at undrafted rookies that have yet to sign with a team. These players, however, would have a slim chance of making the final 53-man roster. If the Dolphins want a player that can fill a spot right away when called upon, there are talented veteran players available now. Here’s an early look at some available free agents that could come in and help Miami right away.
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Nick Mangold, Center
In an article posted earlier this week, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero argued for the Dolphins adding players at both the center and running back positions. In the article, Salguero believed that Miami would benefit in signing the veteran Pro Bowler Mangold. I tend to agree.
With a quality center already on the team in Mike Pouncey, most people do not initially think that the Dolphins need to add a center. And if Pouncey was not injury-prone, then they wouldn’t have to. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and Miami should consider getting stronger at the position. Believing that Pouncey can last a full season at this point is quite naive. While Kraig Urbik is a quality backup, he’s not the player that Mangold is. Mangold would be a solid upgrade even at age 33. It shouldn’t be too hard either for the Dolphins and the seven time Pro Bowl player to come to a mutually beneficial contract.
Rashad Jennings, Running Back
To continue Salguero’s belief that Miami should add to their offense, Rashad Jennings could be a valuable pickup at running back. Some would argue LeGarrette Blount, but I think he’s out of the price range of what Miami is willing to offer any running back even once he does lower his asking price.
I, personally, don’t feel the Dolphins need nor should they add a back to their roster. I liked the combo of players led by Jay Ajayi that Miami finished last season with. And once Damien Williams comes back down from reality, and signs his tender, that combo that also includes Kenyan Drake will return. If the Dolphins are concerned about a possible injury to Ajayi, however, they may be hesitant in believing that either Williams or Drake can take on a heavy workload. In that case, adding a veteran player like Jennings could come in handy. Considering what some of the top running backs have received in contracts this offseason, any deal that Jennings receives would be considerably cheap.
Corey Graham, Safety
Some people still believe that the Dolphins should sign a veteran defensive tackle. After adding two solid players last weekend in the draft, however, I am not one of those people. Both Davon Godchaux and Vincent Brown are solid additions that, arguably, could’ve been taken much higher. They will both come in and challenge Jordan Philips for snaps, and don’t be surprised if either one of them takes the starting job from Philips.
The real surprise from Miami is that they did not take a safety at any point last week. The only secondary player they took was CB Cordrea Tankersley in the third round. Miami has already signed a pair of safeties this offseason so adding a third would be a bit unusual. However, T.J. McDonald will spend the first eight games on suspension, and signed just a one-year deal. Nate Allen is a good player to fill the rotation, but not an ideal starter.
Graham is on the wrong side of 30 now, but he could be the short-term answer the Dolphins seek. Like Mangold, Graham is also a former AFC East player that may want to stay within the division to exact some sort of revenge on his former team. Once Buffalo signed Micah Hyde, Graham became expendable but he is still a capable starter. At least until McDonald returns from suspension.