Hey guys, I know its been a while since I've been here, but its mock season, my favorite (only slight sarcasm) time of the year. This year, I've taken a different approach to my mock off season. As we have no idea how Hickey gonna be running the show in Davie, I've decided to take control and establish myself as supreme overlord of Miami. Im going to go through like the usual mocks and give my desired free agent signings and the amount I'd pay for them, keeping the cap in mind, but when I give my mock draft, that's where it'll get a little different, so keep reading to see. Before I start, I'm going to be using ESPN's James Walker's predicted salary cap space for the Phins ($17 million). (All cap numbers via spotrac)
Every year, a couple of guys are cut or traded to increase cap space, and here are the guys I think will be cut or traded this year:
CUT Dimitri Patterson - CB: Patterson played well this year when he was on the field. But he spent far too much time not on the field With injuries, making this an easy cut
CUT Jonathon Martin - OT: The Dolphins need to move on from this mess. While Hickey may try to find a trade partner, I doubt anyone will bite knowing that Martin is going to be cut regardless. With Incognito leaving via FA, cutting Martin removes us from the problem.
TRADE Matt Moore - QB to the Jacksonville for a 5th round pick: Moore may be a fan favorite, but he doesn't represent the true competition Tannehill needs at this stage. Moore can, however still be a solid stopgap elsewhere, and the Jaguars would love to have a QB with his experience to mentor Johnny Manziel/Teddy Bridgewater/Derek Carr/Blake Bortles.
TRADE Cameron Wake - DE to the San Diego Chargers for the 25th overall pick: I know guys, we all hate this move, but I think it will be inevitable. We have a lot of depth at DE with Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby. That, combined with Wake's age and contract will most likely put him on the trade market. The Chargers had a good season this year, but their lack of a true pass rusher caused them to fall short of being a true contender. They will be willing to part with their late 1st round selection for Wake, and the Phins should take it.
These two moves free up about $10 million, bringing the total to $34 million. While many fans may want the Dolphins to cut Philip Wheeler, who was one of Jeff Ireland's biggest failures in free agency, cutting him would lead to a $10M cap hit this year (the cap hit falls to $4M if we cut him next year), so Hickey will most likely stick it out with him this season, and have him compete with Jelani Jenkins and Josh Kaddu this season.
LT Brandon Albert (4 year, $24M): Albert gives the Phins something they don't have, a true franchise LT. Albert needs to be the Phins number 1 priority. Albert has been an elite player recently, but his injury history, as well as the depth of the free agent OT market and the OT position in the draft should reduce his price tag a bit.
RG Rodger Saffold (3 year, $10M): Saffold gives the dolphins another solid starter to help them rebuild their O-line. Saffold struggled at OT, but he has been very effective since moving inside of RG, and should be a good pickup for the Phins.
DT Paul Soliai (3 year, $15M): Between Starks and Soliai, Soliai needs to be the guy that we re-sign. Its rare to find a run stopper of his caliber, while pass rushing DTs like Starks are a little easier to find in the draft.
FS Chris Clemons (2 year, $6M): Clemons was a very good FS for the dolphins this year, and he needs to be resigned by the dolphins. He may not be a superstar, but he gets the job done.
CB Brent Grimes (3 year, $21M): Optimus Grimes, 'nuff said
TE Jimmy Graham (5 year, $45M): The Saints are in dire straits when it comes to cap space and they will have almost no money to sign their elite TE to a deal or even to franchise tag him. As hard as it is to imagine, Graham is going to be on the market, and the Dolphins should pounce on the chance to bring him back to Miami. He will most likely be looking for a contract similar to the one Rob Gronkowski earned, which is about $9M per year.
These free agent pickups bring the Dolphins cap space down to $ 5 million, which is enough to sign the draft class and to have enough money for emergency signings, and with Dawn Aponte's money wizardry, it should be even more than that.
This is where it gets interesting. Rather than simply estimating where players will be taken, I've actually simulated the draft with fanspeak's on the clock draft simulator. This actually makes intelligent picks for other teams, adding a sense of realism to the mock draft. Here we go:
19th overall pick: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - At the 19th pick, i was planning on drafting an OT, but with the top 3 off the board, I decided to grab a dominant pass rushing DT in Aaron Donald. Donald's stock has skyrocketed since the senior bowl, but he has been a stud all year. Although he is undersized, his explosive first step and great swim move, as well as a talent for finding leverage, makes him an ideal nickel pass rushing DT for Coyle's 4-3 defense. He also helps in the Dolphin's NASCAR and SPEED packages by adding a true DT who is also a great pass rusher. He is the first DT since Ndamukong Suh to sweep every major defensive tackle award this season.
25th overall pick (from Chargers): Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame - After passing up on a OT with our first 1st rounder, I was left with the choice of Zack Martin and Antonio Richardson at this pick. Martin was the obvious choice here, dominating pass rushers at LT in Notre Dame. The switch over to RT shouldn't be too tough for him, as he has had experience playing almost all 5 O-line spots during his time at Notre Dame, and seems more like a natural RT anyways.
50th overall pick: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn - The Dolphins need a true number 1 running back, as Miller is better suited in a change-of-pace role and Daniel Thomas is better suited to a bench-warmer role. Mason is a top talent coming out, the whole package who has the potential to become an elite RB in the NFL. I was looking at Mason and Baylor's Lache Seastrunk with this pick, but with the Jets taking Seastrunk with the pick directly before this one, Mason was the obvious pick
81st overall pick: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas - Yeah, I was as surprised as you are that Jeffcoat was available in the late 3rd round. He is a 2nd round talent, and can be a great off-the-bench pass rusher for the Dolphins, adding some depth after trading away Cameron Wake. With Jeffcoat sliding this far, I had to take advantage and pick him up
112th overall pick: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami - Although Henderson has had issues in the past at Miami, he is a supreme talent that can provide sorely needed depth along the Dolphins O-line, especially with Brandon Albert's and Rodger Saffold's injury histories.
143rd overall pick: Brandon Linder, OG, Miami - Yeah, let's draft all of the Miami O-lineman. Regardless, Linder is a good player who can compete with Dallas Thomas, Seantrel Henderson, Nate Garner and Danny Watkins for the starting LG spot, while also providing more depth for the Phins.
147th overall pick (from Jaguars): AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama - The Dolphins need a backup policy behind Ryan Tannehill, as well as some competition. McCarron had a stellar career at Alabama, and it will be interesting to see how well he crosses over to the NFL
174th overall pick: Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt - Special teams and safety depth
211th overall pick: Jeremiah George, LB, Iowa St. - Another special teams guy competing for a spot.
Well. that's it for my first (and only) offseason mock, leave any thoughts below and let me know what you think in the poll