The Miami Dolphins are looking for ways to upgrade their offensive line this offseason, specifically along the interior offensive line. The team is set at tackle, assuming Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert is recovered from his knee injury last year and Ja'Wuan James continues to develop as the team's right tackle. Pro Bowl guard Mike Pouncey will move back to center, where he earned his first Pro Bowl berth, this upcoming season, meaning Miami will upgrade the center position from within, but now has holes at both guard spots.
The team currently will use Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas as the guards, replacing Pouncey at right guard and the combination of Daryn Colledge and Shelley Smith at left guard. Both Thomas and Turner are young players who, with development, could become solid players at the position. The issue is when that development happens. Will they be ready for full time duty by the opening weekend? Odds seem to say Miami needs to find at least one veteran offensive lineman to better their odds of locking down the offensive line.
The team seems to have a target in mind, according to a report from the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero. Miami could be looking to steal center/guard Dan Connolly from the New England Patriots, a move that could upgrade Miami's offensive line while weakening the Patriots' line. Salguero writes the Dolphins are in competition with the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and the Patriots for Connolly; Seattle and Tampa Bay would like him to play center, while the Dolphins, Bears, and Patriots envision him at guard.
Connolly, who is 32-years-old, would likely be a short-term option for Miami, allowing them to keep working to develop Thomas and Turner while ensuring that they have an offensive line that, on paper at least, should coalesce into a functioning unit that can keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright, as well as open lanes for running back Lamar Miller. Connolly accounted for a $4.1 million cap hit for the Patriots last year, with a base salary of $3 million.