Free Agency 2014: Miami Dolphins Thus Far

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The 2014 season will be an extremely critical one for many in the Dolphins organization. Essentially it is playoff or bust for members of the Dolphins such as head coach Joe Philbin. Luckily for Philbin, his head was spared when the ax came down on former general manager Jeff Ireland and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. That won’t be the case if the Dolphins miss out on the playoffs like they did last season. This will also be a critical year for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He has been steadily progressing, but didn’t prosper as well as some thought last year. Repairing a horrid offensive line and connecting with Mike Wallace this off season will do wonders for the third year quarterback.


Free Agents



Credit to

Credit to

Brent Grimes, CB – Grimes was a one year contract shot last season in free agency, and it clearly paid off. The post Achilles injury Grimes played himself to a Pro Bowl this past season and also to a well deserved four year, $32 million dollar contract. Before the Patriots struck a deal with Darrelle Revis, Grimes was the best corner in the AFC East and one of the best in the league.

  • Contract: 4 years, $32 million
  • Grade: A


Randy Starks, DT – It initially looked as if the Dolphins had no desire to bring back Starks (or Soliai), but a mixture of low market for aging pass rushers and a new push by Miami brought Starks back home. After Soliai went to Atlanta the Dolphins needed to bring back one of their old tandem pieces. Having the two time Pro Bowler (2010, 2012) will greatly benefit Miami.

  • Contract: 2 years, $12 million
  • Grade: A



Paul Soliai, DT – Soliai was a very solid player for the Dolphins since being drafted in 2007. He was the elite run stuffer of Miami’s front seven. The Dolphins couldn’t bring back both of their star defensive tackles, especially at what Soliai was given in Atlanta, so they chose Starks over Soliai. Miami now has to find a run stuffer to replace him.

  • New Team: Atlanta Falcons
  • Grade (Atlanta): B+
  • Contract: 5 years, $33 million
  • Grade (Miami): C


Credit to Rich Kane/Icon SMI

Credit to Rich Kane/Icon SMI

Nolan Carroll, CB – There was a feeling amongst Dolphins insiders that Carroll would be leaving Miami. He has been a good nickel and dime package corner while in Miami, and even a serviceable number two. When Miami drafted Jamar Taylor and Will Davis in last year’s draft, Carroll was on his way out. The only thing that would have kept him around would have been Grimes not playing well and Carroll playing phenomenal. The case was obviously the opposite. His depth and special teams contributions will be missed.

  • New Team: Philadelphia Eagles
  • Grade (Philadelphia): B
  • Contract: 2 year, $5.2 million
  • Grade (Miami): B


New Arrivals

Louis Delmas, S – The Dolphins had a formidable safety tandem in Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones, but they felt they could do better. Delmas’ career play has been better than Clemons ( Pro Bowls 2010, 2011 and All Rookie Team 2009), but he has failed to stay healthy the past few seasons. If Delmas can return to Prow Bowl form and stay healthy he could be a steal for Miami.

  • Old Team: Detroit Lions
  • Grade (Detroit): B
  • Contract: 1 year, $3.5 million
  • Grade (Miami): B


Branden Albert, OT – Dennis Hickey and company knew what they wanted, so they went out and got it. Albert is set to turn 30 this season, but that doesn’t really matter since he has been playing at a high level the past few years (Pro Bowl 2013). Albert is a great pass blocker as well as nasty run blocking. The Dolphins will leave it to him to protect Tannehill’s blindside in this crucial third season for the young quarterback.

  • Old Team: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Grade (Kansas City): C-
  • Contract: 5 years, $46 million
  • Grade (Miami): B+


Credit to Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Credit to Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Earl Mitchell, DT – Mitchell played nose tackle in the Texans 3-4 defense, but will have a chance to move a little more freely in the Dolphins 4-3 defense. Mitchell is considered to be an up-and-comer and will benefit from the return of Randy Starks. This could either be an addition preparing for Jared Odrick’s last year of his rookie contract.

  • Old Team: Houston Texans
  • Grade (Houston): B+
  • Contract: 4 years, $16 million
  • Grade (Miami): B-


Cortland Finnegan, CB – Finnegan brings some, for lack of a more precise word, “swag” to the Miami defense. He will trash talk anyone and everyone that crosses his path on the field, but he will need to walk the walk as he did in 2012 to earn his opponents respect. Finnegan’s past two seasons have been plagued with injury and poor play. He will look to do what Brent Grimes did last season and earn himself a new contract. At worst he will provide insight for the younger corners on the team. His best years are probably behind him.

  • Old Team: St. Louis Rams
  • Grade (Rams): B
  • Contract: 2 years, $11 million
  • Grade (Miami): C-


Shelley Smith, OG – Shelley will have the opportunity to compete for a starting job from day one. He has played well in the running game in his eight career starts, but needs to work on his pass blocking. The only spots on the offensive line that are set in slate as of now are Albert and Pouncey. Every other spot on the line is up for grabs.  The Dolphins sign a potential up-and-comer here in Shelley.

  • Old Team: St. Louis Rams
  • Grade (Rams): C
  • Contract: 2 years, $5.5
  • Grade (Miami): B
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