The Miami Dolphins have 18 players scheduled to become free agents next month, unless the team chooses to re-sign or franchise tag the player before the March 15 start of free agency. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look at all of the Dolphins' soon-to-be free agents and make a recommendation of what decision the team should make. We will also give you a chance to vote on what the team does with each player.
Matt Moore, quarterback
2015 Salary Cap Number: $2.6 million
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $2.6 million
Moore joined the Dolphins for the 2011 season, where he was supposed to backup Chad Henne. An injury to Henne, however, thrust Moore into the starting role for 12 games. He threw for 2,497 yards with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions during the season. He returned to a backup role for the 2012 season after the team drafted Ryan Tannehill. His first contract with the team expired after the 2012 season, but he re-signed with the team for two more years. He continued to backup Tannehill before again re-signing for the 2015 season on a one-year contract.
The Case for Re-Signing
Moore has provided a veteran presence behind Tannehill, giving him a mentor as well as insurance in case Tannehill ever gets injured. The younger quarterback has not missed a start in his four-year career, which has limited Moore to six appearances over that time, with 16 completed passes for 219 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. It has never been a case of Moore not being ready, as much as it is just Tannehill's toughness. Keeping Moore would continue to provide stability in the quarterbacks room, especially as the team moves to offensive coordinator number four in five years.
The Case for Tagging
There is no case for tagging Moore. The quarterbacks franchise tag will likely exceed $20 million for the season this year, potentially as high as $25 million. There is zero chance Moore gets tagged.
The Case for Allowing Moore to Leave
Moore will be 32 when the season begins next year, which is starting to get to that age where quarterbacks fall off. He is also fairly expensive (36th highest quarterback per-year salary average). The Dolphins could draft a rookie this year to take the backup role, or could elevate Logan Thomas ($600,000 salary cap number for 2016) as Tannehill's backup. It is a little risky to leave the season in a young player's hands, if something were to happen to Tannehill, but the team has to save some cost somewhere this year, and quarterback could be the option. Tannehill has proven he is able to take a hit and bounce back up, and, entering his fifth year, he is the veteran now so it may be time to look to younger players coming up behind him.
Let Moore leave. At this stage of his career, Moore has to be hoping for one last shot at a starting job, and he is not going to get it in Miami. If he is willing to come back to the team for the veteran minimum in 2016 (around $900,000) then the Dolphins could make that deal. Moore has been critical to this team as the sure-thing behind Tannehill, and someone who could come in a keep the offense together if Tannehill was injured. The team, however, has to start pushing Tannehill and developing younger players. Moore cannot be in the long term plans for the team.