By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on April 13, 2014
The Miami Dolphins had a productive free agency period in which they made several major free agent signings to improve their roster after an 8-8 season left the franchise out of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. How will these major free agent signings impact the Dolphins' 2014 season?
The Dolphins signed running back Knowshon Moreno to a one-year deal late in the free agency period. Moreno will be expected to take over the starting running back position and will likely split carries with either Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas or Mike Gillislee during the 2014 season. Moreno rushed for over 1,000 yards, had over 500 yards receiving and had 10 rushing touchdowns for the Denver Broncos in 2013.
Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell was signed to a four-year deal by the Dolphins as their first signing of the free agency period. With Randy Starks being re-signed by the franchise and Paul Soliai departing through free agency, Mitchell will be expected to take over Soliai's defensive tackle spot in the starting lineup. Mitchell had 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Houston Texans in 14 games started in 2013.
Veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan was signed to a two-year contract by the Dolphins less than a week into free agency. Despite playing in just seven games in 2013, Finnegan might be the Dolphins' No. 2 cornerback opposite of Brent Grimes. Finnegan will be expected to compete for playing time after the departures of Nolan Carroll and Dimitri Patterson.
Shelley Smith was signed to a two-year contract following a two-season stint with the St. Louis Rams. Smith started eight games with the Rams over the past two seasons. With the departures of guards Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Danny Watkins, Smith will be competing in training camp to be one of the Dolphins' two starting guards.
The Dolphins' biggest free agent signing of the 2014 offseason was none other than tackle Branden Albert. Albert established himself as one of the NFL's best left tackles while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs over the past six years and was selected to his first Pro Bowl following the 2013 season. Albert will replace Jonathan Martin at LT and will protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill's blindside.
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