One week from today, the Miami Dolphins will be on the field for the first time during their 2014 training camp. The team will be looking to find the right combination of 53 players to take on to the regular season, and will be focused on Week 1's contest against the New England Patriots. Everything surrounding the players and coaches will be all about 2014.
In the front office, however, someone will already be looking toward 2015. After this season ends, the Dolphins have several players who are scheduled to hit free agency in March 2015, and decisions need to be made about potential contract extensions soon.
Last year, the Dolphins signed safety Reshad Jones to a contract extension in early August. A little later in the month, they did the same with long snapper John Denney, then re-signed linebacker Koa Misi in September.
The 2012 season saw punter Brandon Fields signing a contract extension in August.
The Dolphins' front office seems to always get busy locking up some players to long term deals during the training camp and preseason timeframe. Will it be the same under first year general manager Dennis Hickey?
If it is, there are several options for the front office to target. Currently, the Dolphins free agents after this year are:
Unrestricted Free Agents:
- David Arkin
- Jalil Brown
- Charles Clay
- Daryn Colledge
- Louis Delmas
- Jason Fox
- Matt Moore
- Knowshon Moreno
- Jared Odrick
- Daniel Thomas
- Jason Trusnik
- Damian Williams
- Stephen Williams
- Jimmy Wilson
Restricted Free Agents:
Exclusive Rights Free Agents:
The Dolphins also still have third round draft pick, offensive lineman Billy Turner, to sign still. That deal, one of four rookie contracts still to be signed around the NFL, should not take very long to negotiate, thanks to the NFL's rookie wage scale.
The top targets for the Dolphins in looking to sign players to a contract extension should be Clay, Wilson, and Odrick. All three play vital pieces on the Dolphins roster, with Clay working his way into the NFL Top 100 Players list this year, Odrick serving as a starting defensive tackle, and Wilson playing the jack-of-all-trades defensive back playing the nickel cornerback position and as a reserve safety. Miami could look to wait on Clay, making sure last year's breakout season was not a one-time thing, but that could also wind up costing them money if he backs it up with an even better year this year.
The team also has to be looking toward quarterback Ryan Tannehill this year. Though the third year signal caller still has one year remaining on his rookie contract, keeping him with the team through 2015, this offseason should be an interesting one for him and Miami. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, rookie draft picks cannot renegotiate their contracts until after their third year, meaning Tannehill could start looking for a new deal as early as March - with a holdout always a possibility. The Dolphins also have to make a decision this year on whether or not to exercise their fifth year option on Tannehill, keeping him in his rookie contract one additional year, but paying him the transition tag salary since he was a top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. This year, the transition tag for a quarterback was $14.7 million.
The Miami front office is going to be busy over the next few weeks. Do they lock up some of their pending free agents, keeping them off the market?