The Miami Dolphins are starting to work toward their 2016 offseason plans, with draft scouting continuing this week with the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Free agency is not that far off, however, and the team has to make some decisions on the 18 players they have currently slotted to be free agents when their contracts expire in March. Will the Dolphins re-sign any of the players prior to the start of free agency? Will the franchise tag come into play this year?
We are working our way through all of the Dolphins' soon-to-be free agents, starting with already completed looks at quarterback Matt Moore, running back Lamar Miller, guard Shelley Smith, safety Louis Delmas and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. You can follow the links below/to the right to vote for what the Dolphins should do with linebacker Spencer Paysinger and wide receiver Rishard Matthews. At the bottom of this post, you will find another poll in which you can vote to re-sign, franchise tag, or allow today's player to leave.
Derrick Shelby, defensive end
2015 Salary Cap Number: $2,356,000
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $2,356,000 (all guaranteed)
The 2015 season started with Shelby staying in his backup role on the defensive line. He primarily played on earlier downs as a run stopper and actually had more snaps than Cameron Wake before his season ending injury. After Wake was lost for the season, Shelby stepped in as the starter and recorded 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an interception. Those aren't bad numbers for a guy who has mostly been a backup.
The Case for Re-Signing
Shelby is a key player on the defensive line, but mostly on run downs. There is no question he is good against the run and he had a nice 2nd half to the season after replacing Wake. He has stated he would like to stay in Miami and the Dolphins will have to make a decision between Shelby and Oliver Vernon. Shelby will be a lot cheaper than Vernon.
The Case for Tagging
There is none, there is no way Shelby will get tagged.
The Case for Allowing Shelby to Leave
Shelby has spent his career in Miami as a backup, but has appeared in every game but one in those four years. Good against the run, average against the pass. He has also stated that he would like the chance to start, whether it be in Miami or somewhere else. If the Dolphins can't get their cap under control, I don't think they will be able to afford Shelby. Some team may overpay Shelby and the Dolphins will have to watch him go.
Re-sign. I'm really on the fence here though. I think the Dolphins will only keep one, either Vernon or Shelby. I would like to see Shelby signed to a reasonable deal, but don't overpay him to stay here. He is a key rotational played on this defensive line, but if he's asking for too much the Dolphins will probably let him walk. But if he wants reasonable money, Shelby will be back in a Dolphins uniform.