Dolphins 2014 Free Agents: A look at the second 10 free agents to be

Chris Trotman

The Miami Dolphins have numerous players scheduled to hit free agency this season. We will take a look at each of them, along with the type of free agent they will be and their 2013 salary cap number. This morning, we start with the second ten. SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

The Miami Dolphins head into this offseason with a lot of questions swirling around the team at every level, from the front office down through the coaching staff and on to the players. Who will remain with the team and who will depart? While we wait for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to decide what to do with Jeff Ireland, Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman and the rest of the staff, we can take a look at the players for the Dolphins who are scheduled to be free agents in March.

Yesterday, we started with the first ten players from the list of 20 players with expiring contracts. Today, we look at the second half.

Bryant McKinnie
Tackle
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $650,735

McKinnie is a tough one. Miami traded for him in midseason as a way to calm the madness that was the offensive line, and to a degree it worked. The Dolphins dropped a sack allowed a game from before McKinnie to after his arrival. While there is more to it than just McKinnie, his presence clearly had an impact, especially once Richie Incognito was suspended and McKinnie was responsible for assisting Sam Brenner as he learned his role as the starting left guard. However, McKinnie and the Dolphins agreed to void the last year on his contract as part of the trade, meaning they both agreed the trade was a 10-week rental, and McKinnie would be free to test free agency after the season. Miami will likely not look to bring back McKinnie, instead addressing the left tackle through either free agency or the draft, but there is a possibility.

Marlon Moore
Wide Receiver
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $296,471

Moore being re-signed comes down to the coaching staff. He's not someone who is going to be a mainstay of the offense, falling somewhere on the depth chart behind just about every other receiver on the roster, but he was brought back to Miami this season when the team needed the wide receiver depth and Moore is a very good special teams player. There's a role for a player like Moore, and he could be re-signed, likely for the veteran minimum.

Chris Owens
Cornerback
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $117,647

Owens was claimed off waivers late in December to provide depth to a roster that was quickly watching cornerbacks fall to the injured reserve list or wind up injured in games. He played five snaps on special teams in Week 17, but never made an appearance on defense. He was likely a two-week rental and will be allowed to leave once free agency begins.

Paul Soliai
Defensive Tackle
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $7.375 million

A Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Soliai's future with the Dolphins will be a big decision for the team. His play went down this year, but so did that of most of the defensive front seven. He can still be a dominating presence in the middle of the defensive line, and he has the skill set to play nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme as well. Soliai has been franchise tagged once by the Dolphins, so it's unlikely the team will want to use it a second time on him, so a contract extension is the most likely course of action here. Soliai just turned 30 last week, so he is not going to command a massive deal in terms of years, but he could be looking for another contract paying him around the $5.75 million his last one averaged over two seasons. Soliai seems likely to be re-signed, but it's not a guarantee.

Austin Spitler
Linebacker
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $481,765

The Dolphins released Spitler in the final round of roster cuts in August, and seemed set to play the season without him. Then, a month into the season, he was re-signed and was put back into his special teams role with the club. He made a few appearances on defense throughout the year, but he is first-and-foremost a special teams player. The Dolphins could be looking to once again let Spitler hit free agency and look to fill his roster spot with someone else. However, he could be re-signed at the veteran minimum for training camp, and see if he earns his way on to the 53-man roster, or if someone can beat him out for the position. That's probably a likely scenario.

R.J. Stanford
Cornerback
Restricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $630,000

Similar to Spitler, Stanford is primarily a special teams player, but he does seem more snaps on defense than the linebacker. Spitler rotates into the defense at cornerback, filling in for injuries. However, he himself landed on injured reserve near the end of the season after breaking his leg against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Re-signing Stanford probably comes down to how well his leg is progressing. He's someone who could be brought back at a fairly cheap rate, would provide decent depth in the secondary, and add to the special teams. As long as his leg is ready, he should probably be re-signed for training camp, and allowed to compete for a roster slot.

Randy Starks
Defensive Tackle
Unrestricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $8.45 million (Franchise Tag)

Everything above about Soliai stands for Starks, except for the nose tackle portion, with Starks having a Pro Bowl berth as a 3-4 defensive end as well as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Starks could be re-signed, but the common belief is that the Dolphins will only bring back one of the Soliai/Starks tandem, and Soliai probably makes the most sense. If Starks is not brought back, Jared Odrick will fill his starting position, but it would be harder for the Dolphins to fill Soliai's role. If the two sides can work out a mutually beneficial contract, one that does not have a large cap number, Starks would be a great player to target for a contract extension, but there's nothing so far that seems to say the two sides can come to that agreement.

Michael Thomas
Safety
Exclusive Rights Free Agent (?)
2013 Cap Number: $71,471

Thomas is a question mark for this list. He's listed as an exclusive rights free agent after this season, but I have also seen him listed as under contract for 2014. My thought is, he probably was signed to a two year contract when the Dolphins poached him off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, so he is already locked up for next year. If not, he probably will be given a qualifying offer at the league minimum to bring him back to the team for next season, allowing the Week 15 AFC Defensive Player of the Week and hero of the Patriots game, compete for a roster position.

Danny Watkins
Guard
Restricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $555,000

Watkins was signed by the Dolphins after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles just two years after selecting the guard in the first round of the Draft. He was expected to be the primary reserve at guard in case of injury this year, but ended up spending more time inactive than on the field this season. He did see some playing time, but he was skipped over by Nate Garner and Sam Brenner when it came time to replace Richie Incognito. If the Dolphins coaching staff some of the potential that made Watkins a first round draft pick, they may look to make a qualifying offer on him, but there is not a lot of proof of that kind of observation. More than likely, Watkins will be allowed to test free agency.

Will Yeatman
Tackle
Restricted Free Agent
2013 Cap Number: $555,000

If healthy, Yeatman would likely receive a qualifying offer, or be signed to a contract extension at some point. The coaching staff have spent too much time developing him as a tackle after he came into the league as a tight end, to just give up on him now. When Yeatman did see the field, he played well, primarily being used as a sixth offensive lineman, but an ACL tear ended his season early. The Dolphins will likely look to keep Yeatman, even if it means signing him before his knee is completely recovered.

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