Predicting the Miami Dolphins’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Forecasting the Dolphins' 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
The Miami Dolphins have once again found themselves in headlines across the country as the NFL’s independent investigator, Ted Wells, released his report on the “bullying” scandal that plagued the Dolphins’ 2013 season. The 148-page write-up concludes that Jonathan Martin was indeed harassed and names Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey as the main culprits.
Details and opinions on the report are rampant, but in the immediate future the Dolphins must deal with the repercussions that may present themselves as well as perform the normal duties of an NFL front office in the offseason. Free agency starts March 11 at 4 p.m. and the Dolphins may have to replace their entire offensive line, depending on what happens with Pouncey, as well as fortify the other glaring holes along the roster.
The Dolphins found themselves in the news earlier in this offseason as they replaced their former, much-maligned GM Jeff Ireland with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers personnel man Dennis Hickey. The search to replace Ireland took nearly a month and was highly scrutinized. Dolphins owner Steve Ross made himself seem extremely incompetent as Hickey was, at best, Ross’ third choice to become GM, but Ross may have landed a solid talent evaluator. Time will soon tell though; Hickey has his work cut out for him.
The Dolphins have around $30 million in cap space to work with and need to add at least four offensive linemen (assuming Pouncey returns in 2014) through free agency with the intention of having at least two of them start. This may mean chasing big names and handing out big money (again) for the Dolphins. The Dolphins will also need to add a defensive tackle as they will likely lose at least one starter. Both Randy Starks and Paul Soliai will be free agents come March 11.
The Dolphins went flashy last offseason with the additions of big names like Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Dannell Ellerbe. This offseason the Dolphins will need to go gritty and fortify the trenches in free agency and the NFL Draft to get back to the physical style that was absent from last year’s squad.
After what has happened so far in 2014, the Dolphins would prefer to stay out of the national media for awhile unless it’s Super Bowl coverage. Here are the five biggest splashes the Dolphins will make in free agency this year.
Danny Williams is an NFL writer for Rant Sports, follow him on Twitter @DannyWeeumzNFL
Bringing back Tony McDaniel
McDaniel left the Dolphins and became a Super Bowl winner. The Dolphins had an 8-8 season. Still, money talks and the management team that didn’t make McDaniel an offer when he became a free agent last offseason is now gone in Miami. A reunion could happen and would greatly benefit the Dolphins who went from 13th in rushing yards allowed in 2012 with McDaniel on the team to 24th in 2013.
Re-signing Brent Grimes
This is an absolute must for the Miami Dolphins. Grimes is the best player that has fallen into the lap of the Dolphins organization since Chad Pennington. Grimes allowed zero touchdowns as a 5-foot-9 cornerback, led the Dolphins in interceptions and was the second ranked cornerback in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus.com’s ratings. The Dolphins would make a huge mistake letting this shutdown cornerback leave and would instantly find themselves set back as cornerback would be added to the long list of positions that need to be fixed.
Getting two athletic guards in Jon Asamoah and Mike Pollak
The Dolphins need guards. Their previous two starters were both named as culprits in the bullying scandal. Both are also not very athletic and don’t fit the zone blocking scheme that the Dolphins run. Asamoah and Pollak both are experienced in the zone blocking scheme and both fit the athletic mold, weighing a much lighter and maneuverable 305 pounds.
These new guards would be much quicker and would actually be able to get to the second level of a defense and block linebackers, which would greatly help the Dolphins' 26th ranked rushing game, compared to the 340 (Jerry) and 320 (Incognito) pounders who rarely blocked past the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins will likely draft a pair of guards no matter who is brought in.
Landing Jairus Byrd
Anyone who has read anything I have written about this free agency period knows that I really want Byrd to come to Miami. Bryd would be the biggest name in the Dolphins' potential free agent class, but not the most important. The Dolphins’ need for offensive linemen trumps all other wants, but landing Byrd, along with re-signing Brent Grimes, could morph Miami’s secondary into one of the best ball-hawking defensive backfields in the NFL.
Signing the two best OTs on the market in Eugene Monroe and Jordan Gross
This would be the biggest move of free agency that would lead to the most success. Both of these men are seasoned NFL veterans and would instantly bring the leadership that was obviously lacking in the locker room and on the offensive line.
Also, as you can see from the picture above, Gross isn’t afraid to back down from another man, something one of the Dolphins’ previous OTs had a problem with.
Not only that, but the two would likely cut the sack total that the Dolphins surrendered in 2013 (58, a new franchise record) in half. Ryan Tannehill is in the do-or-die stage of his career and having protection from the dangerous edge rushers in the NFL will be key to him leading the Dolphins to greatness and breaking the long standing “Marino curse.” Landing two of the best offensive tackles in free agency would instantly fortify the Dolphins offensive line and would make Dolphins fans fall in love with new GM Dennis Hickey.