Dolphins will have difficult decisions to make on their own free agents – The Denver Post

The Miami Dolphins are expected to have an NFL-leading $ 74 million in cap space to spend on players this offseason.

That kind of consumer flexibility is created by 28 players becoming unlimited, restricted or exclusive rights free agents.

That’s nearly half of the team, meaning Miami leaders and decision-makers will have some tough calls to make when their offseason begins after Sunday’s season finale against the New England Patriots.

Here is a look at the upcoming free agents with an explanation of how much they were paid this season, an overview of what they have contributed this season and what lies ahead.

Recipient Will Fuller – $ 10.5 million

Fuller was Miami’s worst free agency signing since the Dolphins deployed security Gibril Wilson to a $ 27.5 million five-year deal in 2009, and he only lasted one season. Fuller contributed with four receptions on 26 yards in the one and a half games he played before breaking his finger and checking the team and the season out. Fuller will likely have a hard time convincing the next team that his heart is still for playing football.

Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah – $ 7.5 million

Ogbah delivered his second dominant season in a row for the Dolphins, contributing 40 tackles, nine sacks, 24 quarterback hits and a league-leading 10 passes from a defensive lineman. The Dolphins would be wise to re-sign this 28-year-old, but it could probably tax the team’s payroll. Miami will also consider locking him in for next season using the franchise brand, which would pay him $ 17.5 million.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett – $ 5 million

Brissett, a former prominent Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, led Miami to a record of 2-3 in his stay as Tua Tagovailoa’s replacement when Miami’s starting quarterback was injured. He completed 62.7 percent of his passes and threw in 1,283 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions. His 78.1 passer rating was the fourth worst in his six-year career. Given that Miami’s quarterback room is pretty unresolved, it’s hard to say what’s on the horizon at this position.

Tailback Phillip Lindsay – $ 3.25 million

Miami claimed Lindsay and his contract out of exemption four games ago, and the former Pro Bowler has contributed 87 yards on 28 touchdowns in the three games he has played for the Dolphins. Resumption of the 27-year-old should be considered, but it is probably not a priority.

Recipient Albert Wilson – $ 3 million

Wilson’s had a rather inconsistent four-year tenure with the Dolphins, for whom he has started 33 games since 2018. With his dull production – 25 receptions for 213 yards – in 13 games this season, both sides can benefit from advancing.

Cornerback Justin Coleman – $ 2.25 million

Coleman was signed with the hope that he would take over the nickel-cornerback spot, but his inconsistent play allowed Nik Needham early on to keep his old role. Coleman improved as the season progressed and contributed with 27 tackles and two interceptions. But it is a while to conclude that he is anything more than a journeyman.

Linebacker Elandon Roberts – $ 2.14 million

Robert returned to the Dolphins nine months after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery, resuming his starting role as Miami’s starting linebacker and delivering a career year in which he recorded 78 tackles, one sack and one interception, which he returned to a touchdown. Roberts, who turns 28 by April, is considered one of Brian Flores’ lieutenants, so don’t be surprised when he signs again.

Tight-end Durham Smythe – $ 2.2 million

Smythe, who has started 40 games for the Dolphins over the past four seasons, recorded a career-high in receptions (32) and receiving yards (325). But this in-line tight end remains limited as a pass catcher and has only scored two touchdowns in his career. Expect this former Notre Dame standout to sign with the highest bidder.

Running back Malcolm Brown – $ 2.14 million

Brown, who joined Miami as a free agent last offseason, started three games early in the season and contributed with 125 rushing yards and a rushing score of 33 carries. He also caught three passes in 10 yards before being placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury. At this point, he is a minimum wage player.

Tight-end Mike Gesicki – $ 1.4 million

Gesicki, who has been used as a receiver more than a tight end the last two seasons, recorded a career-high in receptions (71) and receiving yards (758) this season. But he has only scored two touchdowns this season, bringing his total to 13 goals in the last three years. Although he is a productive offensive weapon, Gesicki does not necessarily fit best into Miami’s offense, which can make him one of the Dolphins’ toughest off-season decisions. Because it can be expensive to use the franchise brand on Gesicki because of how much he has been used as a recipient, you should expect him to test the market for free agents.

Punter Michael Palardy – $ 1.4 million

Palardy, a former St. Thomas Aquinas standout, has been inconsistent this season and it has contributed to Miami’s matches on special teams. He averages 44.3 yards on 74 points (ranked 24th) and 39.7 net yards per carry. punt (ranked 19th), which means he either needs to be replaced or have competition out of season.

Defensive tackle John Jenkins – $ 1.2 million

Jenkins played in the first six games of 2021 and served as the Dolphins’ replacement for Raekwon Davis. During that stretch, he contributed 16 tackles in 169 defensive snaps. If this 32-year-old continues to play, it will likely be for the veteran minimum.

Security Jason McCourty – $ 1.2 million

McCourty had 21 tackles in the seven games he played with Miami before going on injured reserve due to a foot injury. Jevon Holland blossomed into one of the team’s best playmakers in his absence, meaning the 34-year-old’s services are no longer needed. If he has signed in Miami or elsewhere, it will likely be for veteran minimum.

Linebacker Duke Riley – $ 1.1 million

Riley started three of the 15 games he played in 2021, logged 22 tackles and blocked a punt this season. He was one of the few productive players on special teams because his energy was contagious. This is the smallest he has ever played in his five-year NFL career, but at a minimum wage, he brings plenty of value.

Linebacker Brennan Scarlett – $ 1.1 million

Scarlett started four of the 12 games he played this season, contributing 17 tackles, a quarterback stroke and a pass break. He is a role player who has played more snaps on special teams than he has in defense this season.

Recipient Mack Hollins – $ 1.1 million

Hollins is not only one of the Dolphins’ best special team contributors, he has also been one of the team’s most productive red zone weapons. He has scored four touchdowns on his 14 receptions, which he has turned into 223 yards. This team captain should be a priority for signing, but at the right price.

Center Greg Mancz – $ 990,000

The Dolphins sent a sixth-round pick in 2022 to Baltimore this summer to acquire Mancz and a seven-round pick in 2022. Mancz started four of the five games he played this season as a replacement for injured center Michael Deiter, but his game did not imply that he is more than an NFL backup.

Tailback Duke Johnson – $ 920,000

Johnson, a former standout at the University of Miami, has developed into the team’s leading tailback in the last three games, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. carry indicates that this 28-year-old could potentially do more with a better offensive line leading the way. But his days of potentially leading a backfield are probably over, meaning there will not be a huge demand for his services.

Recipient Isaiah Ford – $ 920,000

Ford, a 2017 election in the seventh round, has been dropped and re-signed 10 times since 2018 by the Dolphins. His intellect and understanding of Miami’s offense makes him hard to replace, which explains why this fifth-year veterinarian has contributed 12 receptions at 161 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Linebacker Vince Biegel – $ 920,000

This Dolphins starter in 2019 has had two tough seasons due to injuries, but he has fought his way back to the 53-man big list and has primarily contributed to special teams this season. It’s hard to say if there’s more up for Biegel, who turns 29 by July. But he has proven that he has the kind of versatility and makeup that Flores likes.

Security Sheldrick Redwine (RFA) – $ 850,000

This former prominent University of Miami was dropped from the Carolina training team in late October and has contributed two tackles in the four games he has played this season with Miami. It’s unrealistic to expect Miami to spend an original $ 2.4 million round of bidding on Redwine, but he could be signed to a NFL minimum contract.

Cornerback Jamal Perry (RFA) – $ 850,000

Perry, who was the first player to be signed to a Flores-led Dolphins team back in 2019, may have an uphill battle back with Miami due to the knee injury he suffered in late November. He faces a tough rehab as a limited free agent. Do not expect Miami to bid on him, but he may be re-enrolled for minimum, giving him a chance to retrain with the Dolphins.

Tailback Patrick Laird (RFA) – $ 850,000

Laird, who came to the Dolphins as an exhausted rookie from California, has spent the past three seasons serving as a special team contributor and a pass-catching specialist in the backfield. His 2021 season ended with a knee injury, meaning he will likely sign for minimum with Miami or another team when he is healthy. Getting a bid is unlikely.

Cornerback Nik Needham (RFA) – $ 850,000

The Dolphins have unsuccessfully tried to find a cornerback better than Nik Needham in the last three seasons, but the former UTEP standout Miami has evolved as an exhausted rookie continues to prove his worth as a versatile defender. In his three seasons in Miami, he has contributed 169 tackles, six interceptions and three sacks, while starting 22 of the 44 games he has played. That’s why the Dolphins need to be careful about which bid – first round ($ 5.5 million), second round ($ 4 million) or original round ($ 2.4 million) – they give this 25-year-old as a limited free agent. . because another team might be trying to lure him from Miami.

Recipient Preston Williams (RFA) – $ 850,000

Williams was Miami’s most promising rookie of 2019 before his season ended prematurely due to a knee injury. Last year, a foot injury derailed his second season as a starter. This season, Williams has been relatively healthy, but has not been a factor in this receiver-starved offensive. He has caught six passes on 71 yards in the eight games he has played. His struggles and complicated personality may motivate the Dolphins to move on instead of making the initial bid ($ 2.4 million) for this limited free agent. But it is possible that Miami may again sign a smaller contract if he does not sign elsewhere.

Linebacker Sam Eguavoen (RFA) – $ 850,000

The Eguavo, a CFL import that the Dolphins have spent the past three seasons developing, has spent most of his tenure in Miami as a contributor to special teams. This season, he has contributed 16 tackles, a half sack and six quarterback hits in the 180 defensive snaps he has played. Submitting the initial offer ($ 2.4 million) on the Eguavo would be tax irresponsible. So expect the soon-to-be 29-year-old to become an unlimited free agent.

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