The Miami Dolphins have 18 players scheduled to be free agents when the new league year begins in March, split between unrestricted, restricted, and exclusive rights free agents. Between now and the start of free agency, the team has to decide whether they will re-sign, franchise tag, or allow each of those players to leave South Florida.
We have been working our way through all of the Dolphins players with expiring contracts, taking a look at their role on the team, and giving our recommendation for what the team should do. We then as you to vote on each player, deciding if they should be re-signed, tagged, or allowed to leave. Thus far, we have completed quarterback Matt Moore, running back Lamar Miller, guard Shelley Smith, safety Louis Delmas, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, and linebacker Spencer Paysinger. We also have the polls available for wide receiver Rishard Matthews and defensive end Derrick Shelby, which you can find using the links below.
Re-Sign, Tag, or Leave: Derrick Shelby
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.
Jacques McClendon, offensive lineman
2015 Salary Cap Number: $68,824 (prorated)
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $745,000
McClendon bounced on and off the Dolphins roster several times during the 2015 season, originally signing as a free agent from the Jacksonville Jaguars in April, then being waived in mid-September for three days before re-signing. He was then waived again in late September before re-joining the team at the beginning of December. The team again waived him in mid-December before bringing him back for the last two weeks of the year. He appeared in three games for the Dolphins, but was mostly the emergency option when center Mike Pouncey was injured.
The Case for Re-Signing
The Dolphins found out why having a second center on the team is important when Pro Bowl center Pouncey was injured, and the team had to move Jamil Douglas to the position, a spot he had not played. Shotgun snaps were a scary proposition for a while, as the ball was routinely too low. Unfortunately for Miami, they had waived their true backup center Sam Brenner and, after the fifth time the team had waived him, the Denver Broncos claimed him. McClendon was re-signed to fill that center vacancy. Having someone who can step in at center is valuable to a team, and, with McClendon a veteran-minimum type of player, he would not be an expensive player to keep.
The Case for Tagging
There is none.
The Case for Allowing McClendon to Leave
The team seems to have decided Douglas is the backup center to Pouncey, and he continued to progress during the year as he got more experience. If the Dolphins are going to keep working Douglas at center, McClendon's value is probably not re-signing worthy at this point. The team could look to keep him as a camp body, working with the second- and third- teams during camp, but they could look to an undrafted free agent for that as well.
Allow to leave. This almost became re-sign simply because of all those bounced snaps from last year, but Douglas really did improve, Pouncey should come back healthy, and the team seems comfortable with those two. The team should look to add another center at some point, but a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent probably makes more sense to allow him to continue to develop behind Pouncey.