clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dolphins free agents in 2016: Who is entering a 'contract year' for Miami?

New, comments

The Miami Dolphins open their 2015 training camp next week. Which players are entering their "contract year" with free agency looming at the end of the season?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have a lot riding on this season. After adding players like defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency and signing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a contract extension, the Dolphins are looking to win this year. The team also has several players who are looking to win next offseason as they enter the final year of their current contracts.

The 2016 free agents for the Dolphins are broken down into three categories: unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, and exclusive rights free agents. Unresticted free agents are players with at least four seasons of accrued service in the NFL and have had their contract expire; this is the typical "free agent" that, in March, is free to sign with any team for the following season. Restricted free agents are players who have three seasons of accrued service and their contract has expired; the original team must place a qualifying tender on the player, who can then negotiate with any team during the free agency period (usually with a deadline around the NFL Draft before negotiations must end and the player's rights become exclusively his previous team's), if the player agrees to a contract with a new team, the original team can match the offer, of allow the player to join the other team with the potential of draft pick compensation depending on the level of tender originally placed on the player. Exclusive rights free agents are players with two or less seasons of accrued service, and their contract has expired; if the original team places a qualifying tender on the player, he has no negotiating rights with any other team and either will play for the salary in the qualifying tender, or he will have to sit out for the season.

Under NFL rules, to "accrue" a season, a player must be on "full pay" status (the 53-man roster) for six regular-season games in a league year. If a player is placed in any special category (e.g., Injured Reserve, practice squad, Physically Unable to Perform list), he will not accrue a season (assuming he is placed on those lists without having reached the six-game threshold before the move).

The scheduled Dolphins 2016 free agents are:

Unrestricted Free Agents (15)

Zack Bowman, cornerback
Louis Delmas, safety
Josh Freeman, quarterback
LaMichael James, running back
Jeff Linkenbach, offensive lineman
Rishard Matthews, wide receiver
Jacques McClendon, offensive lineman
Lamar Miller, running back
Matt Moore, quarterback
CJ Mosley, defensive tackle
Spencer Paysinger, linebacker
Derrick Shelby, defensive end
Kelvin Sheppard, linebacker
Olivier Vernon, defensive end
JD Walton, offensive lineman

Restricted Free Agents (6)

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, quarterback
Laron Byrd, wide receiver
AJ Francis, defensive tackle
Jordan Kovacs, safety
Michael Preston, wide receiver
Michael Thomas, safety

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (9)

Sam Brenner, offensive lineman
Deandre Coleman, defensive tackle
Emmanuel Dieke, defensive end
Shamiel Gary, safety
Matt Hazel, wide receiver
Tyler McDonald, wide receiver
Gerell Robinson, wide receiver
Jake Stoneburner, tight end
Tommy Streeter, wide receiver