We continue our look at the Miami Dolphins' 2016 free agent class, trying to decide who the team should re-sign, who they should franchise tag, and who they should allow to leave in free agency. Our first two posts have Matt Moore leaving and Lamar Miller being re-signed. This morning, we turn to a late season addition to the team, adding depth to the offensive line.
Re-Sign, Tag, or Leave: Matt Moore
The Miami Dolphins have decisions to make on their soon-to-be free agents. We take a look at each player and decide if the team should re-sign, franchise tag, or allow the player to leave.
Shelley Smith, offensive line
2015 Salary Cap Number: $87,647 (prorated contract)
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $745,000
Smith signed with the Dolphins for the final two weeks of the year, adding depth to the offensive line after injuries decimated the starting group. He did not make any appearances for the team. This was Smith's second stint with the Dolphins, having played for the team in 2014, playing all three interior linemen positions. He started the 2015 season with the Denver Broncos before being waived in mid-November.
The Case for Re-Signing
Smith, a sixth round draft pick by the Houston Texans in 2010, is a fringe offensive lineman at this point in his career. He provides decent depth, and does have the flexibility to play either guard or the center position. Having Smith on the roster gives the team a veteran offensive lineman to fill in whenever needed. He should not cost much in terms of salary cap number, though the team may want to play the game where they sign him to the roster after Week 1 to make sure his full contract does not become guaranteed. Re-signing Smith may not be a priority, if the team feels like Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, or Jamil Douglas will be able to serve as depth, but he should be an option if they are ready to move on from one or more of those younger players.
The Case for Tagging
There is none.
The Case for Allowing Smith to Leave
The Dolphins allowing Smith to leave is not really an issue either way. Bringing him back provides a veteran option for depth, but allowing him to leave really will not impact the team on the field in 2016. Miami will likely bring back all of the Thomas, Turner, Douglas trio to provide depth, which probably makes Smith redundant and makes letting him walk away in free agency a viable option.
Allow to walk. This one is tougher to choose than the first two, mainly because there is not really a pressing need either way for Smith. He does provide depth, but the team, if they address the starting level this offseason, could already have depth signed for the year. If they re-sign him, he is going to spend the summer on the roster bubble one-way or another. Keeping him as a camp-body could make some sense, but likely the team can find cheaper options down the road.