2013 NFL Free Agency: Miami Dolphins Primer and Live Thread

Justin K. Aller

The Miami Dolphins, along with the rest of the NFL, will start the craziness of the free agent signing period later this afternoon. Before we get there, here's a look at the Miami Dolphins roster as it stands, as well as where the team could be looking.

Congratulations. We did it. We've made it to the 2013 NFL Free Agency period. In just a few hours, all the rumors and speculation will start to have answers. Will the Dolphins land a big name wide receiver? Are they really the only team in consideration for Mike Wallace? It's time to start seeing pen put to paper.

The madness will start at 4pm ET today. At that point, every player with an expiring contract from last year will officially be free to talk to, and sign with, whichever team they choose. Let the games begin!

In order to get you ready for the day, here's a look at the Miami Dolphins' depth chart, as it stands, as well as the needs the team has heading into today.

According to NFL rules, a team can have up to 90 players on their roster during the offseason and into training camp.

Offense (26 Players)

First

Second

Third

Fourth

Wide Receiver

Davone Bess

Rishard Matthews

Jeff Fuller

Left Tackle

Jonathan Martin

Jeff Adams

Andrew McDonald

Left Guard

Richie Incognito

Chandler Burden

Center

Mike Pouncey

Josh Samuda

Right Guard

John Jerry

Right Tackle

Will Yeatman

Tight End

Charles Clay

Michael Egnew

Kyle Miller

Wide Reciver

Brian Hartline

Armon Binns

Brian Tyms

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill

Matt Moore

Pat Devlin

Halfback

Lamar Miller

Daniel Thomas

Marcus Thigpen

Jonas Gray

Fullback

Jorvorskie Lane

Defense (25 Players)

First

Second

Third

Fourth

Defensive End

Jared Odrick

Derrick Shelby

Lee Robinson

Defensive Tackle

Kheeston Randall

Chas Alecxih

Defensive Tackle

Paul Soliai

Randy Starks

Defensive End

Cameron Wake

Olivier Vernon

Linebacker

Koa Misi

Jason Trusnik

Linebacker

Karlos Dansby

Josh Kaddu

Linebacker

Kevin Burnett

Austin Spitler

Jonathan Freeny

Cornerback

Nolan Carroll

Jimmy Wilson

Dimitri Patterson

Julian Posey

Cornerback

Richard Marshall

R.J. Stanford

DeAndre Presley

Safety

Reshad Jones

Safety

Kelcie McCray

Special Teams (3 Players)

First

Second

Third

Fourth

Punter

Brandon Fields

Kicker

Dan Carpenter

Long Snapper

John Denney

Salary Cap

Currently, the Dolphins have a total of 54 players on their roster. During the offseason, a team's salary cap number is calculated by the sum of the 51 highest salary cap numbers on the roster. Once the season starts, that will transition to all of the money the team uses for all 53 players on the roster, plus the reserve lists and the practice squad. But, for now, it's just 51 players.

2013 NFL Salary Cap: $123.0 million
Rollover from 2012: + $5.3 million
Top 51 Salaries: - $94.6 million
Dead Money: - $3.3 million
Salary Cap Space: Approx. $30.4M

With that $30.4 million, the Dolphins have to use around $6 million to sign their draft picks this year. That means the team has approximately $24.4 million to use this year in free agency. (I'm not worried about the $5 million or so the team needs to have to operate during the season in case they need to sign someone - I will assume they can find that money later on by re-signing Randy Starks off the franchise tag or cutting people in camp). Remember, that's salary cap money, not "average per year" money. A player can make $6.2 million per season over five years, but only count as $2.1 million this year against the cap, thanks to bonuses and the way finances are counted in the league (Brian Hartline's numbers).

Dolphins Needs:

  1. Wide Receiver: Despite re-signing Brian Hartline, the Dolphins still need to address the wide receiver position this offseason. The team will likely look to add a receiver in free agency, and then double up with a high draft pick as well. Possible Targets: Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola
  2. Defensive End: The Dolphins need to add a complimentary pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake. They will likely look to the draft for this position, particularly after placing the franchise tag on defensive tackle Randy Starks. Adding someone who comes fairly cheaply and is a "pass rush specialist" could happen. Possible Targets: Osi Umenyiora, John Abraham, Robert Geathers
  3. Cornerback: Most likely, Sean Smith will sign somewhere else in free agency this year, meaning the Dolphins really have to address the cornerback position this year. Even with Smith, the team was likely to draft a cornerback. A free agent could be in the cards if Smith does leave. Possible Targets: Sean Smith, Chris Houston, Antoine Cason, Mike Jenkins, Marcus Trufant
  4. Tight End: Just like the wide receiver position, the Dolphins could be looking to upgrade the tight end position this offseason. Anthony Fasano is a free agent, but, unless something massive happens in the next few days, I would expect him back. The Dolphins could also look to add a seam stretching, pass catching tight end as well. Possible Targets: Anthony Fasano, Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett, Dennis Pitta (RFA), Delanie Walker, Dustin Keller
  5. Offensive Lineman: Jake Long is likely gone, though that's not 100%, so the team should be looking for an offensive lineman. Most likely, they will be looking for a right tackle, but could also move John Jerry from right guard to right tackle, where he has played previously, and sign a right guard. Possible Targets: Jake Long, Eric Winston, Andy Levitre, Deuce Lutui
  6. Running Back: I have not been considering this as a position of need for the Dolphins, but with Reggie Bush leaving, and rumors of the team targeting the position, it's starting to creep up as a need. The team seems happy to start Lamar Miller, but could be looking for an upgrade over third year runner Daniel Thomas. The team won't spend a lot of money on the position, but you can't rule out signing someone. Possible Targets: Rashard Mendenall, Michael Turner, Jonathan Dwyer, Kevin Smith, Ronnie Brown, Lex Hilliard

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