Cleat Geeks

On The Clock: Miami Dolphins 2016 Offseason Preview

In his “On the Clock” series, NFL analyst Brett Casella (@NFL_iQ on Twitter) will take an in-depth look at all 20 teams that failed to make the playoffs as they head into the 2016 offseason. He will conduct a thorough examination of each roster and make recommendations on whom to cut and re-sign, as well as which players to target through free agency and the draft.

This article will focus on the Miami Dolphins.

Team: Miami Dolphins
2015 Record: 6-10
Draft Pick: #8

Season Summary

As is the case for most teams, the Dolphins entered the seasons thinking this was the year they get to the playoffs. After a 1-3 start head coach Joe Philbin was fired, and his interim replacement Dan Campbell coached the Fins to a 5-7 finish. As was expected by most people, Campbell wasn’t retained at the end of the season, and Adam Gase was hired to replace him.AdamGase_Dolphins_2016_getty_0

All in all, 2016 was kind of a weird year for the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill showed flashes of brilliance, but also moments of utter incompetence. Lamar Miller shined when called upon, but was criminally underused by both coaching staffs. On the bright side, the Dolphins look to have a great young tandem of wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker.

Re-Signings & Cuts

Things are still up in the air with Olivier Vernon, who is likely the biggest decision the Dolphins will have to make this offseason. At only 25 and a premier 4-3 defensive end, he will be in high demand if he hits the open market. A franchise tag is a possibility.

Photo by; Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by; Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Miller was frustrated with his lack of touches in 2015, and appears to want out of Miami. As an unrestricted free agent, expect him to play somewhere else next year.

At 34-years old and fresh off a torn achilles, the Dolphins may attempt to restructure Cameron Wake‘s contract, who is slated to make just under $10M next year. Cutting him would save $8.4M, so it may be a  pay cut or get cut situation. Other cut candidates include CB Brent Grimes ($6.5M in savings), TE Jordon Cameron ($7.5M in savings), and WR Greg Jennings ($4M in savings).

Free Agency Needs

The Dolphins don’t have a whole lot of cap space: only $9M as it stands now. However, this number will likely be in the $25-$30M range by the time they are ready so sign free agents. Still, they will need to pick and choose who they pursue carefully.

The secondary of their defense sticks out like a sore thumb, and not in the good way. There are a number of good defensive backs in this year’s free agent class. Corners in the Dolphins price range might include Trumaine Johnson or Casey Hayward.

Could the Dolphins bring back this guy?

Could the Dolphins bring back this guy?

On offense, the Dolphins should try to improve the interior of their offensive line, specifically their guards. Free agents they may consider include Evan Mathis, Alex Boone, and a reunion with Richie Incognito.

If TE Jordan Cameron is in fact cut, they may look to fill his void agency. Possible replacements include Ladarius Green, Dwayne Allen, and Coby Fleener.


Potential Draft Picks

The Dolphins could go a number of ways with the eighth pick. They are in desperate need of a coverage linebacker; if Myles Jack fell to them, it would be a dream come true. Jaylon Smith could be a good future investment if his medical tests go well.

LB Reggie Ragland, Edge rusher Noah Spence, and OT Ronnie Stanley are all other names to consider for Miami in the first round.

The second round offers just as many possibilities. Miami could look to TE Hunter Henry, G Cody Whitehair, OT Jason Spriggs, S Darien Thompson, or CB Eli Apple.

Have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about the article? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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