NFL Miami Dolphins

5 Miami Dolphins Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

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5 Dolphins Storylines to Watch Heading Into Free Agency

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It is officially March, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan you are looking forward to the new NFL league year starting on Mar. 11. It is on this date that NFL teams will officially announce the signings of any free agents, but Mar. 8 is when teams can begin negotiations with these players and their agents.

The Miami Dolphins have a load of in-house free agents, but the focus of free agency in Miami is not on re-signing players (except Brent Grimes). The focus in Miami is on luring free agents from other teams, mainly offensive linemen.

It’s no secret that the Dolphins' offensive line was one of the worst in franchise history in 2013. This is made obvious by the 58 sacks conceded, a franchise worst. The Dolphins will likely have only three of the eight offensive linemen to start a game in 2013 returning to the team, two in a backup role.

The other returning starter, Mike Pouncey, is facing a possible suspension following the release of the Wells report for his alleged involvement in the “bullying” scandal.

Dennis Hickey is in his first and most important year as the GM of the Dolphins. Hickey has his work cut out for him, but with Ryan Tannehill in place as the quarterback, Hickey (at least for the time being) doesn’t have to tackle the tough task of finding a quarterback that many first-year GMs face.

Instead, Hickey just needs find a franchise left tackle to protect his franchise quarterback and pick up the pieces left behind by former GM Jeff Ireland.

These are the five Dolphins storylines to follow heading into free agency next week.

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5. Will the Dolphins Replace Chris Clemons?

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Chris Clemons is a backup plan for the Dolphins once again after finishing the one-year deal he signed with the team last offseason. The Dolphins would like to replace the capable Clemons with a playmaking ball-hawk like Jairus Byrd or TJ Ward. Miami has the resources to do so, but whether or not the players hit the open market is yet to be seen. The Dolphins have also brought in former-Detroit Lion Louis Delmas recently.

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4. Will the Top LTs Hit the Market?

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The Dolphins desperately need a left tackle and would spend a large chunk of change on one of the top LTs if they reach the open market. Eugene Monroe is the name to watch for Dolphins fans as he is the best LT available, but retaining him is the Ravens’ main priority now that Dennis Pitta has been inked for next season.

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3. Will Mike Pouncey Receive Punishment for his Role in the "Bullygate" Scandal?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If the Dolphins think the answer is yes, then they might need to bring in a veteran center to play in Pouncey’s absence. Ideally the Dolphins would land a center who could also play guard to fill another hole when Pouncey returns from the looming suspension.

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2. Will a Linebacker be Added to Compete for Playing Time?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The linebacker additions of the 2013 offseason were disappointing to say the least, but after much discussion I have accepted that at least Philip Wheeler could become a role player in this defense as a situational pass rusher and blitzer. Does this mean the Dolphins will bring in a linebacker to play coverage and perhaps take Wheeler or middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe’s job?

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1. Will Brent Grimes be Re-Signed, Franchise Tagged or Neither?

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The Dolphins have been said to be in “rebuilding” mode. If this is true, signing or tagging an expensive cornerback who will be 32 when the season starts doesn’t fit into the plans. Miami has made their intentions clear to get a deal done with Grimes, who has also voiced his desire to return to Miami. Will it actually happen before free agency starts?