Ok, so I'm gonna try and start doing a semi-regular post here, looking at various things during the offseason. For this first one, I thought I would start off with a look at free agency and who all would be available for the Dolphins to pick up. Now I won't be taking any of the draft class into consideration for this, and I will try to keep my opinions on the free agents out of this as well. This is just to show allof the options the Dolphins have available and I'll let you guys discuss it in the comments. And all of these free agent discussions will be assuming that no CBA will be reached, and that to become an unrestricted free agent the player will need to have 6 years in the NFL.Alrighty, so I'm going to give some recommended music to listen to while reading these posts. Sometimes they will be in the theme of the post, other times they will just be something that caught my ear and I like.
This weeks recommended listening: Contractor by Lamb of God, from the album "Wrath".
Nose Tackles As we know, Jason Ferguson finished this past season on injured reserve. Now the question that we are faced with is will Ferg be back? We've heard that he might consider retirement, and we've heard that me might come back for another year. Regardless, the Dolphins need to find someone to be his full time replacement for when he decides to hang em up.
Vince Wilfork: Most every Dolphins fan would be absolutely thrilled to get Wilfork in the aqua and orange (or coral). He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason which means that Miami can pick him up without having to give up any draft picks. However the likelihood of him not being re-signed by the Patriots in slim. However, he is a beast of a nose tackle, is young enough to be around for a while, and has said that he wants to get a long term deal.
Casey Hampton: Another nose tackle with some experience in the NFL. Hampton has 9 years of experience with the Steelers, and so will also be an unrestricted free agent. However, he is 32 and isn't much of an upgrade age wise from Ferguson, but he would be a good replacement for Ferg skill and experience wise. His biggest downside is his age, which means that he would only be a temporary fix.
Ryan Pickett: Pickett is a middle ground between Wilfork and Hampton in terms of age. At 30, he could still have a few years left in his career, and has 9 years of experience. However, when he was with the Packers they played a 4-3 defense until this year, so his experience as a 3-4 nose tackle is more limited. However the Packers did have a pretty good defense this year, and he showed that he can handle the position.
Free Safety Gibril Wilson did not work out for us as well as we had hoped he would when he was initially signed. He showed that he does not have the skill set to be able to be an effective free safety.
Oshiomogho Atogwe: Atogwe has been one of the best players on the Rams aside from Steven Jackson, and has gotten the reputation as a ball hawking free safety. He has recorded 19 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles in his 5 seasons. He was franchised tagged by St. Louis this year and didn't sign the tender until right at the end because he was hoping to come to a long term deal. He did end this season with a shoulder injury in week 13.
Antoine Bethea: Bethea is another restricted free agent free safety on the market. The probability that the Colts let him walk is probably low, but has been a rather good part of the Colts defense this year. He has recorded 11 interceptions over his 4 years, but one of his upsides is that he is only 25 years old.
Nick Collins: Another free agent from the Packers, Collins has 5 years of experience in the NFL which means he is a restricted free agent. He is still a young player at only 26, so he still has a fairly long career left ahead of him. In his 5 seasons he did manage to get 17 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles.
Linebackers As we know, both Joey Porter and Jason Taylor are getting up there in years, and Akin Ayodele hasn't really been that good as a compliment for Channing Crowder at the ILB position. The Dolphins need to get some help at the LB spots, so lets see who's available.
Karlos Dansby: Dansby will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and is a player that many of the Phinsiders would like to pick up. Having recorded 10 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, and 25.5 sacks in his career, he would be a good young replacement for Joey Porter at the OLB position. It still remains to be seen what the Cardinals will do with him, whether it be re-signing him or giving him a franchise tag.
Elvis Dumervil: Dumervil is a young linebacker at only 26 and has played 4 seasons, meaning he will be a restricted free agent. However he has amassed 43 sacks in those 4 seasons, 3 of them with more than 8 sacks, including this year where he led the league with 17. He has experience with new DC Mike Nolan, and would be another good addition to our pass rush.
Shawne Merriman: Merriman has been a solid OLB for the Chargers and has definitely made a name for himself. While he hasn't put up many interceptions or forced fumbles, he has gotten 43.5 sacks in his 5 seasons. He has had some off the field issues and has also been suspended by the league for testing positive for steroids. He has not tested positive for steroids since then, but has suffered a season ending knee injury that kept him out for most of the 08 season.
Tight Ends Miami's tight ends were fairly lackluster this year, with Fasano not showing the same skills that he had in '08 and Haynos not really doing much of anything but blocking.
Owen Daniels: The biggest name in the TE market, Daniels is considered by most to be in the top 5 of TEs in the league. More impressive is that he has only been in the league for 4 years. He did suffer a season ending knee injury this year, but if the Texans don't re-sign him or franchise him, he would be a huge upgrade to the offense.
Ben Watson: It's hard for a guy to get some impressive stats when he's competing for catches with the likes of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. But Watson has been a fairly solid TE for the Patriots with 20 touchdowns and only 6 fumbles over 6 seasons. He has suffered from some injuries, only playing in all 16 games once in his career, but he will be unrestricted.
Wide Receivers It's quite obvious that the Dolphins need a true #1 receiver rather badly. Everyone has been talking about Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson and knows their info, so I will leave them out of the list. Instead, I will look at some other options that we will have available in free agency.
Miles Austin: Austin has been another name that has been tossed around here. Austin had an amazing breakout year this season, gaining over 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is only 25 and has shown the skills of a guy who can be a great receiver for many years to come. However the chances of him not being re-signed by the Cowboys is extremely small, and apparently the Cowboys are already doing the prep work for a long term contract for him.
Antonio Bryant: A 8 year veteran who has shown flashes of having the skills to be a good #1 receiver, he has spent half his career on bad teams with offense problems in the Browns and Bucs. Still, he has managed to get over 1,000 yards with each of those clubs and has played all 16 games in 4 seasons. He will also be unrestricted, so unless Tampa uses a franchise tag on him, he can be gotten without having to give up draft picks.
So those are not all the free agents available to us obviously, but just a few that we could look into. If anyone has any other options, mention them in the comments and I'll add them to the next post. I tried to throw out some more options than just the ones we've been debating over recently, but for some spots there aren't that many options, and my fingers are tired from all this typing. So, I will leave you with something funny I found on the interwebs.