Reshad Jones approves of this mock offseason! - Joel Auerbach
Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, and Jairus Byrd to Miami this offseason? Probably not, but that doesn't mean Miami will have an unsuccessful offseason.
I am not going to do it. I am not going to do it. Darn it, I can't believe I'm doing it. I told myself I wasn't going to do a mock offseason this year because they are too hard to predict with contracts and players are either re-signed before free agency, get the franchise tag, or more players are unexpectedly added to the market. They are about as accurate as a Miss Cleo psychic reading or a Mel Kiper mock draft. I wasn't even going to do a mock draft until after the first week of free agency. So much for that plan...
I am all for re-signing Long, Smith, and Bush. Except I am not for re-signing them at the contracts I fear they will get. Same goes with Hartline. I'd be negotiating with him for a contract close to $5 mil per year, but I'd be looking at other receivers on the market while doing so. Hartline's price may drop because of the amount of receivers in free agency and the draft, but for this scenario I am going to project his salary demands to be too high for my liking. I will be much more comfortable with Miami dishing out deserved money to Randy Starks. So here are the additions, including re-signings.
Randy Starks, DT: He is the one free agent Miami has that is well worth the hefty contract he will be asking for. Some may like the idea of letting Starks walk and replacing him with Odrick, but I have another idea for the future. I prefer Miami keep Starks and even rotate Odrick inside more in 2012 so we know if he even has a future at 4-3 DT in Miami, but that Starks will eventually push out Paul Soliai after his contract expires. This way Miami could go with Starks and Odrick as the top two DTs in 2014 and beyond or they could also replace Odrick if he shows little promise.
Nate Garner and Lydon Murtha, OL: I lump these two together because they're worthy additions for depth. It would be a mistake to peg them in at starter, but they are familiar faces on the unit and could probably step in easier than some other backups from other teams. Garner especially provides solid depth because his versatility to play anywhere on the line. Of course, either of these players can be cut later on if they're beat out in training camp.
Brent Grimes, CB: A better CB than Sean Smith and more worthy of a contract that Smith will be asking for. I'd be fine with Miami trying to re-sign Smith, but I do not expect him to sign a contract for $5 mil per year or so. If Miami is going to be dishing out a contract of $8 mil or more, Grimes would be a better candidate. Even with Grimes, I'd look at the market for Derek Cox. He has a lot of talent, but can't stay on the field. His talent is worthy of a contract of $7 mil or so, but if his market is limited because of his injury history and his price falls to the $5 mil range (I don't expect it so I'm not including him here), I'd be very interested in a Grimes/Cox tandem. But for the better sake of reality, I'll stick with just Grimes.
Dimitri Patterson, CB: You're probably thinking I'm a bit confused because he's not a free agent. Except he should be! Patterson should absolutely be released by the Dolphins and allowed to hit the open market. So why include him as a re-signing? Well, because he has potential and is an intriguing player that could actually earn a starting position. Except there is no way Miami should allow that to happen with his contract. I'm hoping they release him and then sign him for a much more team-friendly deal, even if it is a one or two-year deal.
Greg Jennings, WR: Likely to be the cheapest of the top free agent WRs. I'd prefer Wallace to Jennings personally, but Jennings could still have another 5 years of solid production and he'd likely be the best mentor to other WRs to boot. He's still worthy of an $8-9 million contract.
Kory Lichtensteiger, OG: Yeah, I'd love to get Andy Levitre instead. Except Levitre is by far the best guard available in free agency and is going to get an overpaid contract. Plus there will be a few people here on the Phinsider that will be ready to protest outside of the Dolphins training facility if they spend $6 mil or more on a guard. You know who you are! Lichtensteiger is a far cheaper option that does have some upside. He's very good in pass protection, but struggles against some stronger defensive lineman when run blocking. He may or may not be much of an upgrade, but he could be worthwhile competition for a starting job.
Martellus Bennett, TE: Washington's Fred Davis would be my top target, but I feel the Redskins will find a way to keep him. Finley will likely be available too, but he could command more money than Bennett. I'd go with Finley before Bennett as well, but I fear he will also receive too high of a contract for my liking. Bennett is not as great as Finley in the receiving game, but he is a better blocker and will provide more balance to the offense. Finley is just too ineffective of a blocker to be worth the contract he will likely get.
Lawrence Jackson, DE: He was buried on the depth chart in Detroit behind Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Even at the age of 27, Jackson has some potential. He's solid against the run and has done pretty well rushing the passer during limited snaps. He may not win a starting job, but he will provide solid depth. His acquisition could make it easier for Miami to slide Odrick inside even if Starks stays. Jackson would likely compete with Vernon for a starting job with the loser being used for depth.
Joseph Addai, RB: Strictly a "see what he has" signing. Addai is surprisingly effective as a blocker, but has speed and is versatile out of the backfield with his ability to catch. He's just a tentative runner that seemed to avoid contact. He was out of the NFL in 2012, but he has enough ability to bring him in for training camp and the preseason to see what he has. Mostly because I have little faith in Daniel Thomas. In fact, if Thomas wasn't making so little money and was getting paid $1 mil or more, I'd cut him to save salary cap room. Addai would compete with Thomas for the #2 job. If he loses, I'd cut Addai.
1st Round, Kenny Vaccaro, FS: Really, I'd prefer Dee Milliner, but I don't think he'd be there. Even if Miami signed both Grimes and Cox in free agency, I'd still go with Milliner for the future of the franchise. Vaccaro is no slouch though. He has good size and speed and is an aggressive tackler. He reminds me of Troy Polamalu in how he can come out of nowhere and make solid hits, but he even seems to wrap up better than Polamalu, who prefers to hit you with his shoulder instead of wrapping up. Vaccaro's abilities allow him to play all over the field. He can play man on TEs and RBs, play zone, or come in and blitz. His coverage skills are solid enough that he could even be a nickel CB.
2nd Round, Justin Hunter, WR: I love his size and speed. Before 2012, he was considered to have great hands. His hands were very streaky in 2012 though. With his great height, elite speed, and his aggressiveness to go up and get the ball, I'd take the risk that his hands return to pre-2012 levels.
2nd Round, Jordan Poyer, CB: Banks and Rhodes are likely gone by this point. Poyer is solid, but not great in many areas. He already shows solid technique when he turns to run with the receiver. He is one of the better man cover corners though, but he may struggle with bigger WRs because of his lack of height and strength. He is an aggressive corner though that certainly can make some plays.
3rd Round, Dallas Thomas, OT/OG: He is a solid prospect at either position. He played LT for the Vols in 2011 and allowed 0 sacks against both Melvin Ingram and Jadaveon Clowney, showing he is more than adequate at OT. Even if he does not excel at OT, he should be a well above-average OG in the NFL.
3rd Round, Da'Rick Rogers, WR: Doubling up on WRs in back-to-back rounds? Why yes I am. Why? Because I don't have Miami re-signing Hartline or another #2 WR in free agency. Rogers is a superbly talented WR. He has good speed and exceptional strength. He could be a target all over the field and he is not an easy player to tackle. He would go much higher if he wasn't immature. Team violations got him kicked off the Vols, but he did lack effort when he wasn't the primary target with Tennessee as well. You'd hope he matures and if he does, Miami would get a solid return on the investment. You may have thought Miami's WR corps looked weak if you stopped reading after the free agency section. Would you feel bad though if Miami went into 2013 with Jennings, Hunter, Bess, and Rogers as their WRs along with Bennett as the new TE? I sure wouldn't! In fact, I'd be very excited about the potential of the passing game.
4th Round, Corey Lemonier, DE: Great quickness off the line and is good against the run. He doesn't possess all the pass-rushing moves, but he does a great job with the moves he does use. Lemonier could start early if he competes with Vernon and Jackson, but would provide solid depth at what was perceived to be a position of weakness. You'd hope that at least one of the three young DEs would reach their potential and if two of them do, then Miami has found a future replacement for Wake. There's a chance he's a third round pick, but I think the depth of free agent DEs and the amount of quality DEs in the NFL Draft may push him down a round.
5th Round, Tharold Simon, CB: This also may be stretching it as he could also go a round higher. It's tougher to project this late in the draft. Simon was inconsistent in pass coverage at LSU, but he has very good size and speed. He is athletically gifted and is more of a project than some earlier CBs. He only became a full-time starter in 2012 and will have room to grow. With a pick this late in the draft, I would be very happy to take a gamble on this project.
7th Round, Sean Renfree, QB: He is tall with a strong arm and some good tools. I already project Devlin to return (not really going through all the RFAs since they are restricted anyways), but Renfree could be a good #3 QB to bring into the 2013 season.
7th Round, Anthony Rashad White, DT: He is a big-bodied DT with powerful hands. He's not that great of a pass rusher and isn't very quick inside, but he is a versatile lineman with experience in multiple techniques. And did you know his father happens to be Reggie White?