We are closing in on the official start of the 2013 NFL season, with the Miami Dolphins reporting to training camp in less than two weeks. However, the 2014 free agency period should also be on our minds, specifically, which players from the Dolphins could potentially hit the open market next March.
Here's a look at players with expiring contracts after this season.
- Armon Binns (Exclusive Rights) - The Dolphins will likely tender Binns, especially if he keeps up his offseason/OTA/minicamp performances into training camp and through the season. He's currently in position to be the third or fourth wide receiver on the team, and will likely return in 2014.
- Dan Carpenter - This is DC$'s final year on his contract, but the bloated $2.7 million salary cap number could mean he doesn't even make it to the season. He's in a training camp battle with rookie Caleb Sturgis, and teams don't usually use a fifth round draft pick on a kicker unless they intend to keep him.
- Nolan Carroll - Much maligned among fans, Carroll has demonstrated an ability to be a depth cornerback. He was out of position last year as a starter. He should not find much demand on the free agent market, so a return to Miami is a real possibility.
- Tyson Clabo - Miami signed Clabo to a one year deal this season, giving them a chance to evaluate him, or evaluate their options for landing an offensive tackle next year. If he comes out and plays well, Clabo could be re-signed.
- Chris Clemons - Clemons re-signed with Miami on a one year deal this year, after finding the free agency market was not what he expected. However, the Dolphins are high on Jimmy Wilson and Kelcie McCray, so Clemons may not find a market in Miami next year either.
- Aaron Corp - Corp is, at this point, purely a camp body going into the 2013 season. Unless he somehow unseats Pat Devlin as Joe Philbin's "teacher's pet," Corp will not make it to the end of contract.
- John Denney - A two time Pro Bowl long snapper, Denney's four year contract runs out after this season. Denney's return to the Dolphins will really come down to how much he wants from Miami. It's hard to justify spending a fortune on a player who only gets on the field for punts, extra points, and field goals.
- Pat Devlin (Exclusive Rights) - As with this season, Devlin will be an ERFA next year. Expect the Dolphins to tender him again, then work on a long term deal. Devlin seems to be in line to be the second string quarterback once Matt Moore is no longer with the team.
- Jonathan Freeny (Exclusive Rights) - As fans, we have not seen a lot out of Freeny, but if he sticks with the team this season, he will probably be tendered at the end of the year.
- Brent Grimes - Signed a one year deal this year. As he proves his health, and if his play approaches his former Pro Bowl level, expect Miami to re-sign him. The team is deep with young, potentially talented cornerbacks right now, but Grimes will provide the veteran leadership to the group if Miami brings him back.
- Richie Incognito - Coming off a Pro Bowl year, Incognito will be looking to prove to Miami that they cannot afford to let him leave. The team has depth at guard right now, especially if rookie Dallas Thomas is moved inside, so moving on from Incognito is a possibility. Personally, I hope the Dolphins keep him.
- John Jerry - Jerry is the guard who could be on his final season in Miami. While Incognito will be looking to prove he is worth bringing back in 2014, Jerry may be playing this summer to prove he is worth keeping in 2013.
- Reshad Jones - Jones should be the Dolphins' top priority to re-sign at some point this summer or during the season. If he plays like he did last year, he should earn a Pro Bowl nod this year, and earn himself more money. The sooner Miami re-signs him, the cheaper he will likely be for the team. Jones is not going anywhere next year.
- Josh Kaddu (Exclusive Rights) - An interesting one for Miami. If they tender him, and can keep him cheaply, they probably will, letting him continue to develop as a reserve linebacker. However, they are deep at linebacker, so a tender may or may not be decided by preseason play and practice this year.
- Dustin Keller - Signed a one year deal this year in order to try to prove himself worthy of a more expensive, long-term deal. If he proves worth it, Miami might try to pony up the cash, depending on the development of Charles Clay, Michael Egnew, and Dion Sims.
- Lance Louis - Signed a one year deal with Miami, trying to prove that he is healthy. So far, he has had to continue rehab work, not yet being cleared to fully practice. Once he does get cleared, he has the potential to take over the starting guard position from Jerry.
- Koa Misi - The only member of the Miami starting linebackers to make it through the offseason unscathed, Misi will be playing to prove to the Dolphins that he should return next year. Misi has gotten better each of the last two years, but will not have to do it without Karlos Dansby next to him. He has the potential to force the Dolphins to re-sign him, but they don't have to with Kaddu, Jelani Jenkins, Austin Spitler, and Jason Trusnik all developing behind him.
- Julian Posey (Exclusive Rights) - Buried deep down the Miami depth chart, what happens this year will likely determine if Miami will tender Posey after the season.
- Paul Soliai - The Dolphins have a decision to make this offseason. Both Soliai and Randy Starks are scheduled to be free agents. The team seems to be ready to let the season play out, then make an offer to one of the two, moving Jared Odrick inside in 2014. Whichever player, Soliai or Starks, plays the best this year will likely be the one Miami approaches first about a long term deal. The other is likely spending his final season with the Dolphins.
- Austin Spitler - Spitler is similar to Kaddu, although he will be an unrestricted free agent. He was serving as the fourth linebacker during OTAs and minicamp, meaning he is the first reserve, and likely someone the coaches like heading into the season. That means the team could have him as a priority to re-sign this year.
- R.J. Stanford (Restricted) - Miami will tender Stanford, who ended up getting more playing time last year than expected when cornerback injuries started building up. He's a player the coaches like, and, while he will not be a starter this year, he is still a young player and can develop into something solid on the depth chart.
- Randy Starks - See Paul Soliai.
What do you think of the Miami free agents? Should Jones be the top priority? What about the Soliai/Starks situation?