5 Free Agents the Miami Dolphins Should Target This Offseason
Miami Dolphins: 5 Free Agents to Target
The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a mini makeover. Two people of high power in Miami’s organization, general manager Jeff Ireland and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, have been relieved of their duties in the past week.
The Dolphins’ Ireland-built team sputtered down the stretch, losing their final two games after sitting at 8-6 with a prime opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Sherman-orchestrated offense managed to score only seven points in these final two games.
Whoever owner Stephen Ross decides to bring in will find himself in a favorable situation despite media reports. The new GM will have power over all player personnel decisions and will inherit a team that is an offensive line away from being in the playoffs.
The new GM will immediately have to deal with 16 in-house free agents and will have to make quick evaluations and decisions about these players. Ten of those 16 players started a game last season. Four offensive line starters, including Richie “the Bully” Incognito, will be free agents in 2014.
Besides the offensive line, which is expected to get a retooling this offseason, the Dolphins are in need of upgrades at the running back, linebacker, safety and defensive tackle. Defensive tackles Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are both free agents as well is safety Chris Clemons. With Starks and Soliai both being 30 and top five free agent DTs, it’s hard to imagine Miami retaining them both.
The Dolphins are in luck with the running back market as it is full of players who bring the power that the Dolphins (LeGarrette Blount) need or fit the Dolphins’ system perfectly (Ben Tate).
Before the new GM is even in place I will tell you five free agents that he should target this offseason.
5. DT Peria Jerry
Peria Jerry, older brother of Dolphins guard John Jerry, is the youngest out of the bunch of good free agent defensive tackles which makes him one of the most desirable. He is a versatile player who played DE in 2013 in addition to his normal DT spot. Jerry could thrive in Coyle’s blitz-happy, multiple-front defenses.
4. RT Michael Oher
Michael Oher, the Baltimore Ravens' free agent RT, could be a piece that helps solidify an offensive line that set the Dolphins’ record for most sacks given up in a season. Oher would replace Tyson Clabo, who struggled for much of the season. Oher would have to be one of many offensive line acquisitions the Dolphins need to make in order to have success in 2014.
3. FS Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd, who many Dolphins’ fans know from his days with the Buffalo Bills, is a ball-hawking safety who has 22 interceptions in his five-year NFL career. He is a man who could greatly help Miami’s secondary, which was tied for 10th in interceptions last season, become one of the best secondaries in the league. While no respect is lost for the man he would replace, Chris Clemons, catching interceptions could be the difference between winning and losing games. Clemons did not specialize in this.
2. LT/LG Branden Albert
Brandon Albert could be huge (and expensive) addition. Albert could play either left guard or left tackle with the Dolphins as both players who started games at those positions will be free agents this offseason. The Dolphins nearly completed a trade for Albert in the 2013 offseason but can now get him without giving up any draft picks -- at the right price of course. It is still unclear if the Kansas City Chiefs will re-sign or franchise tag Albert again.
1. RB Ben Tate
Ben Tate is a part of a class of free agent running backs filled with players that the Dolphins would love to have. Tate gets the nod over other free agent running backs because not only can he run through arm tackles, which is something Miami’s running backs did too seldom last year, but he has knowledge of the zone-blocking scheme which the Dolphins -- and his present team the Houston Texans -- run.
Also, the Texans’ former head coach Gary Kubiak is reportedly in the running for the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator position. If Kubiak joins the Dolphins' staff then this could be a match made in heaven. Tate has run for 1,992 yards in three seasons while splitting carries with Arian Foster.