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One of the biggest factors in how teams approach the draft is how they address needs in free agency. Free agency will be a key part of how the Dolphins look to add to the roster.
Dave wrote a blog yesterday stating the purge has begun, and this was in regards to releasing players that the Dolphins feel they can get better performance from at a better cost. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline were released in the last 48 hours, and that is just the beginning of what is going to take place. You can expect LB Darnell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler along with DT Randy Starks and CB Courtland Finnegan to be released in the next week, as the Free Agency period starts on March 10th.
These moves, perhaps along with a few other moves, will free up to possibly 35 million dollars in cap space for the Dolphins to work with. Also, WR Mike Wallace is still a possibility for being released as well.
One thing that will be interesting to watch is how adding Mike Tannenbaum will possibly effect the way Miami will approach free agency. While GM Dennis Hickey is still over the 53 man roster, I find it hard to believe that Tannenbaum will not have a say or a thought on who to look at in free agency. With that said, let's take a look at a few players that I think could interest Miami.
David Harris, ILB, New York Jets - Davis is coming off another very productive year for the Jets, with 72 solo tackles, 52 assisted tackles and 5.5 sacks, Harris has been a rock for the Jets and just turned 31 in January. There will be stiff competition for Harris from the Bills and his former coach and now Bills coach Rex Ryan. The Falcons, Bears and Jets also will be in the mix. This is a player that Mike Tannenbaum drafted.
Mason Foster, ILB, Tampa Bay - 26 years old and coming off a shoulder injury that caused him to miss games in 2014, Dennis Hickey is familar with Foster, and he would be a fall back plan if the Dolphins were to miss out on Harris. 6'1, 241 lbs, Foster has been productive in his time with Tampa Bay and has shown and ability to get to the QB from his ILB spot. He had 6.5, 7.0 and 12.0 sacks from 2011-2013 along with 83, 106 and 90 total tackles during that same time frame.
Brandon Flowers, CB, San Diego - Has been a rock solid CB in the league with Kansas City and with San Diego, where he had a bounce back year for the Chargers. The 29 year old CB would be a solid starter opposite Brent Grimes.
Kareem Jackson, CB, Houston - Struggled early in his career, but has turned into a solid CB that can work both at the slot and outside. Only 25 years old, the Texans would like to re-sign him. The Dolphins have discussed him and Flowers.
Chris Culliver, CB, San Francisco - The Dolphins are in need of a CB opposite Brent Grimes, and the 26 year old Culliver is coming off a very solid season for the 49ers. He has the size you like at 6'0, 199 lbs and will come up and tackle in the run game. 4 interceptions in 2014, 7 in his career with the 49ers.
Davon House, CB, Green Bay - Another young, big CB at 6'0, 195 lbs, House has played in a lot of nickel and dime packages for the Packers, but wants an opportunity to start now. Green Bay wants him back, but at their price. Starting CB Tramon Williams is a free agent as well, but his is on the wrong side of 30.
Dan Williams, DT, Arizona - The Dolphins were getting gauged in the run game by the end of the year and finished 25th in the NFL against the run, giving up over 120 yards per game. Word is the Dolphins want DT that are better against the run, and Dan Williams is that type of player. He can play NT in a 3-4 set and anchor against double teams.
Kendall Langford, DT, St. Louis - The former Dolphin was a solid player in Miami, but not a 6 million dollar a year solid player. The Rams cut Langford after he was beat out by rookie Aaron Donald. The Rams want him back at a reduced price, but Langford wants to start. If the Dolphins lose DT Jard Odrick, which is very possible, Langford would be a solid replacement. 29 years old.
Rahim Moore, S, Denver - S Louis Delmas is coming off an torn ACL, and the rumor is the Dolphins want to re-sign Louis. He certainly had a very good year for Miami while healthy, but will he be ready for the season? When Moore was first bought up as an option, I balked, as the memory of that Baltimore game was still fresh in my mind. That said, he is only 25 years old coming off a solid season for the Broncos and he was tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions.
Antrel Rolle, S, New York Giants - The 32 year old Rolle wants to re-sign with the Giants, and the feeling seems to be mutual. That said, if they can't work things out, it would be nice to bring this veteran playmaker home. He would add a solid veteran leadership to this team.
Orlando Franklin, OG, Denver - While the Dolphins improved their offensive line last year, the OG spot continued to be a HUGE problem. Miami gave up 46 sacks last year, and this is a spot that has to be upgraded. Franklin comes out of a zone blocking scheme in Denver and is versatile enough to play at ORT as well. He will be in demand along with San Francisco OG Mike Iupati. Orlando is only 27 years old.
Clint Boling, OG, Cincinnati - The 25 year old Bengal has been a rock solid OG for the Bengals and will be a solid addition to the Dolphins offensive line.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland - coming off an injury plaqued year, Moore had showed promise as a deep threat for the Raiders the previous 3 years. He has nice size at 6,0, 190 lbs and speed to get deep. He averaged 18.7, 14.5 and 15.1 yards per catch prior to the 2014 season. A fresh start might be just what the doctor ordered.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco - Credit for this nugget goes to Dan, aka jammer, who stated the Dolphins could be interested in Crabtree. There were rumors that Crabtree played with a foot injury last year, although he denied it. The 49ers offense as a whole was a disappointment last year, Crabtree included. Teams need to hope he returns to the form he had when the 49ers got to the Super Bowl.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland - The Dolphins are working on re-signing TE Charles Clay right now. If he get's away, Cameron is a very talented, big TE that can stretch the field and certainly be that seem threat that Clay is. The one problem with Jordan, and it is a MAJOR problem is his issues with concussions. Teams will have to possibly look to structure contracts to protect themselves, as he has missed major portions of seasons due to concussions.
After a month of evaluating the roster talent in this "make or break" 2015 year for Philbin (yeah, we've heard that one played before, eh?), the Dolphins cut both WR Brian Hartline and WR Brandon Gibson. The two moves clears out $6.4 million in contracts making the Dolphins at about $9 million under the cap.
As Rich stated on the forum, the following cuts would put the Dolphins at $35 million under the cap:
While I am a Brian Hartline fan, he is definitely overpaid for what he produced last year. I am wondering if that PCL injury that he had affected his ability to get open in the new Lazor offense. Releasing both Hartline and Gibson were expected, and we should see several other cuts in the coming week as the Dolphins try to sign impending free agents DE/DT Jared Odrick and TE Charles Clay. Both have been told that they are wanted back in Miami.
It looks like WR Rishard Matthews will be back with the Dolphins and will probably stay in the doghouse. He asked to be released or traded but the Dolphins said, "You're cheap and talented. Are you crazy?" (well, something to that effect;) Hopefully the Dolphins will utilize him more this year. He is another receiver who saw less passes thrown his way last year in the new offense.
Next week I will start our Miami Dolphins mock database as the current roster moves by the Dolphins creates a lot of changes in the mocks.