2012 Free Agents: Options for the Miami Dolphins

Drew Brees will be a free agent in 2012. Who does Miami really have a chance to sign though? (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I no longer have my fantasy football posts to churn out on Fridays so instead I'll post weekly updates on potential free agents and once free agency begins, I will recap the signings and releases. We have plenty of time before free agency begins and plenty of players will still resign with their teams before the period.

Since we have some weeks to discuss, I'll start this one slowly by listing notable free agents for each position. As we move along, I will start discussing potential targets and what the terms of the deals may be in order to land some of the players. Here is the list of notable free agents:

QBs:

Drew Brees: Don't expect him to be there. I list him because technically, he will be a free agent. If he doesn't receive the franchise tag and hits free agency, every member of New Orleans' front office should be fired.

Matt Flynn: His recent outing against the Lions just helped earn him another few million per year. Suddenly he's the highest prospect at QB that legitimately has a great chance to hit free agency unless Peyton Manning's option is declined.

Kyle Orton: Miami had the opportunity to trade for him in August, but they declined due to the price tag. They can get him for much cheaper in March.

Jason Campbell: Has always had pretty good talent, but has been plagued by inconsistency. His future with Oakland is done with Carson Palmer on board now. Campbell will land himself with a franchise, but he won't be given the starting position without having to fight someone for it.

Chad Henne: Let's face it, the current Dolphin probably won't be a Dolphin in March. His chance of returning has been squandered by the emergence of Matt Moore.

Donovan McNabb: An aging QB that is better suited to tutoring a young QB. Except McNabb sees himself as a great QB and isn't interested in mentoring. He's likely squandered any opportunity to play again in the NFL unless a team becomes desperate.

Alex Smith: Has done much better this year, but few give him credit for that. Because of San Francisco's success, the team will probably look to bring him back with a one or two year deal. Smith would be smart to accept that offer before free agency to help solidify his standing in the future.

RBs:

Ray Rice: A great, versatile RB that shouldn't be allowed to hit the open market. He'll see his payday in Baltimore either through a new contract or a franchise tag.

Matt Forte: Another great, versatile RB that shouldn't be allowed to hit the open market. I don't think there is a chance he leaves now that Angelo and Martz are no longer around in Chicago. It's time for the Bears to make amends for their mistakes (not paying Forte) and regret the ones they've already made (trading Greg Olsen).

Ryan Grant: A one-cut RB that is best suited to be paired with another RB.

Peyton Hillis: A bruising back, but he's been the one receiving bumps and bruises this year. He'll be a curious one to follow this off-season.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis: A bruising back that may not be back because of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. Someone will love him as a RB that can wear down defenses. He won't be a big-play RB and is also best suited to be paired with another RB.

Other Notables:

LaDainian Tomlinson

Cedric Benson

Marshawn Lynch

Arian Foster: Suckers, he's a Restricted Free Agent. You can stop dreaming now.

WRs:

Reggie Wayne: An aging WR that should be signed by the Colts to either make another run with Peyton Manning or to help Andrew Luck. If he doesn't return to the Colts, he's best suited for a franchise looking to win now.

Wes Welker: He's not going anywhere.

DeSean Jackson: A headcase that also probably won't be going anywhere. He's a vertical threat and a great return man and if he hits the open market, he will command $10 million a year.

Vincent Jackson: Still a very good WR and a great target for Philip Rivers. The Chargers are likely to try and resign him before free agency since Macolm Floyd has not looked like he can be the #1 WR and thrive without VJack.

Steve Johnson: A terrific WR, but has had a few issues with drops. A great WR for a team that can deal with his Chad Ochocinco-like antics on the football field.

Marques Colston: A terrific WR the Saints will resign. He's a physical WR and a gifted route runner.

Robert Meachem: He's probably a candidate to be passed on by New Orleans with their other free agent priorities. Not as good as Colston, but Meachem is a young WR and a good vertical threat. He's also a good option in the red zone.

Mario Manningham: Not as flashy as Victor Cruz and not a star like Hakeem Nicks, Manningham is a legitimate playmaker. He's not only a good vertical threat, but he has the good moves to freeze a DB and break long runs after the catch.

Plaxico Burress: He still has the hands and is a very good red zone threat, but he hasn't been able to create separation this year. He's at the downside of his career and will find a job somewhere in the NFL, but he'll be the "cheaper option" for teams wanting quick WR help.

TEs:

Jermichael Finley: He should receive the franchise tag. He's a great receiving TE that is physically gifted.

Tony Gonzalez: He's at the end of his career and is no longer a big vertical threat, but he's still a great receiving TE and uses his instincts he's perfected over the years to keep himself productive.

Fred Davis: A young TE that has shown he can be very beneficial in the passing game. His price will be severely impacted by a four game suspension for drug use. He's an incident away from being suspended for a full year. You have to weigh the risk/reward factor with him.

John Carlson: A young TE that has had injury problems. He's a great pickup for a TE, but is a not below the elite TE mark.

OL:

Carl Nicks(OG): The top lineman available. He will have a lot of teams bidding for his services and he'll probably be very costly.

Ben Grubbs(OG): Another top lineman that will demand a hefty contract. The Ravens would love to resign him, but they will be focused on Rice and locking up Joe Flacco with an extension.

Jeff Saturday (C): A savvy veteran that is on the downside of his career. He's a great option for teams looking for quick help, but he may decide to return for the only team he's played for.

Jake Scott(OG): A powerful lineman that has consistently produced for the Titans. He's an upgrade at guard for most teams and he won't cost as much as Nicks or Grubbs.

Others:

Kareem McKenzie (OT)

Vernon Carey(OG/OT)

Jared Gaither (OT)

Max Starks (OT)

Trai Essex (OT)

DL:

Kendall Langford (DE): A current Dolphin that most 3-4 defenses would love to have on their team. May be expendable thanks to Randy Starks and Jared Odrick.

Paul Soliai (NT): Another current Dolphin that makes the situation look bad. He's not a stat guy, but he's a huge reason for the Dolphins success against the run and his presence allows Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett to blitz. He's the top NT on the market.

Robert Mathis (DE): A great 4-3 DE that hasn't been happy he hasn't received an extension. A chance he could be allowed to walk to allow former first round pick Jerry Hughes to take over.

Cliff Avril (DE): Another solid 4-3 DE option, but many think he benefits from the attention Detroit's defensive tackles receive.

Sione Pouha (NT): A solid 3-4 NT option for most teams. The Jets will likely try to resign him, but they face tough decisions in free agency.

Aubrayo Franklin(DT/NT): His stock has slipped since he signed with New Orleans and changed positions. He could be a nice signing for most teams, whether looking for a 3-4 NT or a 4-3 DT.

OLB:

Mario Williams(OLB): Keep dreaming. He's not going anywhere. For all those running a Wake/Williams combination in Madden, just remember it's only a video game.

Anthony Spencer(OLB): A solid, unspectacular player. Another Cowboy OLB is more well known for rushing the passer, Spencer has been solid at stuffing the run. He's merely average at pass rushing, but he's still a solid OLB compliment. Just don't ask him to be your top pass rusher.

Jarret Johnson(OLB): He's done a solid job for the Ravens, but he's playing in the shadows of Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, and Ed Reed. Despite not being a household name, he will be a great signing for another team. You can bet the Ravens would like to resign him if they can.

Others:

Rocky McIntosh

Manny Lawson

E.J. Henderson

Curtis Lofton

CBs:

Brent Grimes: He's finally being recognized for being one of the top CBs in the NFL. The Falcons would love to keep him, but he's going to bring in a heck of a payday.

Cortland Finnegan: He's a very physical CB and you'll get some personal foul penalties with him, but he's still one of the top three CBs on the market.

Carlos Rogers: Quietly having a good year. Known for stone hands, he's done better at holding on to interceptions.

Brandon Carr: He's been plagued by inconsistency, but he'll have no problem finding a new home if the Chiefs don't resign him.

Terrell Thomas: He was solid #2 CB before he tore his ACL. He may not be resigned by the Giants since they have Corey Webster and Prince Amukamara onboard.

Tracy Porter: Has had problems with health and is best known for his interception against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, but he's a solid #2 option.

S:

LaRon Landry: Very athletic and delivers big hits. He could become one of the highest paid safeties this year.

Michael Griffin: He's a big name, but is plagued by inconsistency. You'll love him and you'll hate him over the course of the season.

Brandon Meriweather: Inconsistent just like Griffin. He's been named to Pro Bowls simply based off name recognition. He's athletic and a strong hitter, but he's undisciplined. He'll make big plays and his mistakes will cause big plays.

Chris Harris: More consistent than Griffin and Meriweather, but even he has been inconsistent a little and allowed two 40+ runs and a 70+ yard TD in one game. That won't help his stock.

Tyvon Branch: A solid strong safety that is great against the run. He's good in zone coverage, but don't expect him to excel in man coverage.

Gibril Wilson: Just kidding. Well, not really. He's really a free agent. Just don't think of him in Miami.

Kickers and Punters:

Why bother listing them? Miami is set at this position. Let's keep it that way...

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