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Tampering begins: Top 3 in areas of need for Dolphins

Let the tampering begin! At noon, NFL teams were actually within their rights to start negotiating with players on other teams. Yes, that's actually been going on for weeks, but you know the game (wink, wink).

The Dolphins need offensive line help. They need defensive tackle help. They may want middle linebacker help so they can kick Dannell Ellerbe outside. Safety? Sure. Running back? Maybe.

Below are fake GM Salguero's top three players in those areas of need as free agency negotiations begin this afternoon (legally):

Left tackle

1. Eugene Monroe, Baltimore: Young. Elite pass-blocker. Average run blocker. Think Richmond Webb without the big behind. He's quiet and a not a locker room issue, which should be a positive for the Dolphins. Will be expensive.

1A. Branden Albert, Kansas City: Also young (29) but not as young as Monroe. Has elite skill set but doesn't always get elite results. Also excellent in pass pro; not as good in running game but slightly better than Monroe. Will be equally expensive as Monroe. Loves and lives in South Florida. Albert has a history of back issues.

1B. Jared Veldheer, Oakland: Missed the first 12 games of 2013 due to a biceps injury, which raises the injury red flag. Better athlete than the other two, better run blocker than the other two. But feeling around the league is increasingly that Oakland is allowing him to shop simply to match the offer. Most teams don't like to work for the sake of having a player return to his current team.

Overall position analysis: The Dolphins had better sign one of the top guys or something is wrong. As to playing coy with the money, that won't work. The Dolphins have a huge need and everyone knows it. This is going to be an expensive proposition.

Right tackle

1. Zach Strief, New Orleans: The Saints are unloading talent to make cap room but want badly to re-sign Strief. That should tell you something that he's more valuable to them than, say, Lance Moore or Darren Sproles.

2. Austin Howard, New York Jets: Let's make the Jets weaker! Well, that's not a good enough reason to entertain signing a player but it can't hurt. Howard is not elite and won't require elite money to sign. But he's better than say, Jonathan Martin. He played better last year than Tyson Clabo. He's solid. Not great. Solid. You cannot have a Pro Bowl player at every spot.

3. No one. It's a baaaad free agent class at right tackle, folks.

Overall position analysis: This screams draft. But maybe GM Dennis Hickey has a trick up his sleeve. Or he's desperate. If all else fails there's always the stand-by Eric Winston, Tyson Clabo, Jeremy Trueblood gang at the last minute.

Guard

1. Zane Beadles, Denver: Excellent footwork and excels in pass pro. Great balance which is reason he's not often on the ground. His production is hard to argue with although he played much better in 2012 than in his 2013 contract year.

1A. Chad Rinehart: Very good run blocker. Hard worker. Versatile in that he can play either guard spot. Smart player. Plays with leverage and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Not the most gifted athlete but he's a football player.

2. Geoff Schwartz: Want to improve the run game? This is the guy. Was a revelation down the stretch in 2013 and played better than previous starter to the point he beat him out. But ... was it the view of things to come or simply a stretch he was playing over his head?

2B: Jon Asamoah: The player who got beat out (see above). He's been solid for three seasons but dipped a bit in 2013. Interesting issue: Do you go with guy who played better at end of '13? Or do you go with guy who has more consistency over longer period of time? Asamoah is the latter.

Darkhorse: Davin Joseph: The Bucs released him this afternoon. He has always had a high ceiling but never really got there. Problem is he sometimes didn't even try to get there. He is also coming off knee surgery and he's 30. But his Bucs connections to Dennis Hickey cannot be overlooked.

Surprise candidate: The Dolphins like St. Louis Rams T Rodger Saffold as a possibility at either guard or tackle, acccording to The Herald's Adam Beasley. Saffold is solid but not very durable. He has not played 16 games since 2010. He has struggled with knee and shoulder issues.

Overall position analysis: The Dolphins can really use a veteran with good interior presence because playing with two rookie guards is a recipe for disaster. If all else fails, there's always Richie Incognito and John Jerry. Not.

Defensive tackle

1. Jason Hatcher, Dallas: Want to upgrade, Mr. Hickey? Here you go. A true 4-3 defensive tackle. A pocket-pusher. He'll get up field and disrupt. He'll also disrupt the salary cap because he will be very expensive.

2. Linval Joseph: Want a cheaper Paul Soliai? Here you go. A run-stopping player with limited pass-rush ability (less than Soliai). He's also not going to catch too many guys from behind. He was good in his contract year.

3. Earl Mitchell, Texans: He's a one-gap guy but he has excellent quickness and athletic ability that translate to other uses. He can also push the pocket so he's not just a run-down player.

Overall position analysis: The days of Paul Soliai and Randy Starks seem over. Soliai is perhaps the best run-down player on the market. But he's a run-down player in a passing league. Starks is the best pure DT on the market in my opinion but he's 30 years old. And that one-finger salute that he extended to Joe Philbin and his coaches? That has not been forgotten.

Safety

1. Jairus Byrd, Buffalo: Want to break the bank? Here you go. But he also offers the best defensive playmaker on the market at any position. Man averages nearly one turnover every two games. 

2. Donte Whitner, S.F.: If the Dolphins were of the mind to get him, they could let Reshad Jones become the roaming free safety he probably should be. Whitner is a strong safety enforcer. He hits hard, he causes offensive players to think twice about going across the middle, he's a tackling machine. He is older and he probably wants to stay with a winning team.

3. Taylor Mays, Cincinnati: Only reason he's on here is his ties to Kevin Coyle. He's a north-south, stiff dude. But he's fast and he hits like thunder.

Overall position analysis: The Dolphins would do well to draft here. They need to unleash Jones. And paying too much at this position would tilt too much money, added to the 2013 Jones extension, to the back end of the defense. 

Middle linebacker

1. Jon Beason, New York Giants: Nothing will happen with him until Tuesday because he represents himself and teams cannot talk to players before Tuesday. But he's a savvy veteran. He has a great motor. And he loves Miami.

2. Karlos Dansby, Arizona: I think we know this isn't going to happen. He doesn't, um, love Joe Philbin. But ... playmaker? Check. Solid inside presence? Check. Hard worker? Check. Plays hurt? Check. Of course, all his abilities didn't translate to the Dolphins. Coaching the reason? Check.

3. Daryl Smith, Baltimore: Want a true team leader? Want a tackle machine who won't be collecting his tackles eight yards downfield? Want an accomplished A-gap blitzer? Want a solid player who isn't going to break the bank because he's getting up there in age? This is your guy. 

3b: Brandon Spikes, New England: This won't happen because Spikes has a mind of his own and Philbin doesn't like that. He's also really only a run-down player and very, very limited in passing situations. But want to help solve Miami's declining run defense? This would help.

Overall position analysis: It is just sad to me that a year after spending so much on Dannell Ellerbe in free agency, the case could be made that he really isn't suited to be a middle linebacker ... or that the Dolphins didn't coach him well enough to man the position at a high level.

Comments

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Our only big name FA should be Monroe, dt,S,G,rt, can be fixed in the draft, and with vets.
As much as i love Jairus Bryd signing with us, the cap spece needs to be used in other areas

Good Job. Even though all this has all been discussed to dealth for how long now?

Be nice to have all the 1's on your list Mando (yeah I know cap) but if nothing else....Monroe and Hatcher

I like Hatcher but he's older than Starks and I'm not sure much better... I like McCullers outta Tennessee he reminds me of a young Albert Haynesworth

I think we really need a RB as well like B Tate or MJD, mckinney would still be good as a RT he did a good job at LT after this BS bullygate

Joseph will be more expensive than Soliai

I agree w Tate but he's too expensive and we have young backs that need a chance to run behind a decent line... signing Tate means giving up on Miller and Thomas. I think it's better to draft a Strong back and hope the fixed line fixes the run game as well...

In what decade do we get a franchise QB?

There are only two positions where Miami MUST sign a FA:

1) Miami plays a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense and NTs are as rare as hens teeth. Resign Soliai. Odrick = Starks. Draft another developmental DT.

2) Miami needs to sign a LT in FA, but they might want to consider saving a couple million in cap space and sign Veldheer instead of Monroe, which opens up the possibility of signing a difference maker like Byrd.

For everything else, wait for the draft or sign younger second tier players with upside.

The draft is rich with RT prospects. Draft two and you could move the loser inside to compete as an OG.

Wait to see what is in the draft to fill the OG positions. Remember, Miami still has Brenner and Thomas.

Karlos Dansby, Arizona: I think we know this isn't going to happen. He doesn't, um, love Joe Philbin. But ... playmaker? Check. Solid inside presence? Check. Hard worker? Check. Plays hurt? Check. Of course, all his abilities didn't translate to the Dolphins. Coaching the reason? Check.

Dashe wrong again? Check.

Fins are gonna be forced to overpay in order to overcome Wells-fallout/stigma of being a joke franchise. The charms of SoBe & no state income tax ain't gonna close the deal anymore.
FO has already lost Jackson. Will Hickey/Aponte wise up to need to pay premium price before it's too late?

The only way we get Monroe is $10 mill/year. Albert is going to Arizona. Darnell docket opened his big mouth basically saying that albert is going to Arizona. That indicates illegal tampering and the nfl might fine Arizona for this but it doesn't change the fact that Albert might' be out of the picture. Balt may make a cut or restructure to bring Monroe back so nothing is definite with him yet. I think the dolphins have to consider Anthony Collins here bc I'm not sure the team gets one of the three that mando mentions.... I hope I'm wrong...

Change the snap count. For crying out loud. Save 10 sacks and 15 hurries.
Get a good left tackle. I like Monroe.
Get a decent Right Tackle. Even Clabo. Not the end of the world and he played better when Martin was gone.
Find a middle of the road guard (there may even be one already on the team)
Get a game changing back. I absolutely would sign Sproles and Hester. Hester for the heart attack factor and Sproles for speedy back that runs very hard. One or the other would work. Both would be great.
Promote the rookies at cb. Stay pat with the rest of the backfield and we need a big guy up the middle. Change the d to a 3-4 and the tools are there.


Great analysis Mando. And way to pin a lot of these problems on philbin and co where it SQUARELY belongs

AUBURN TIGERS RB TRE MASON SHOULD BE AVAILABLE IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE NFL DRAFT. SIMILAR TO MAURICE JONES-DREW.
- REMINDS ME OF A THROWBACK EX-DOLPHIN RB MARK HIGGS. JUST QUICKER & FASTER!

Hickey definitely has something on his mind considering he let both Starks and Soliai out the door. We still have great salary cap space and love her or hate her, I have to give Aponte credit for the way she structures these deals.
Love to get Monroe. Think we should keep Clabo. Had a rough year but the guy has been consistently good over the years. We get Byrd, we got Byrd and Grimes back there ? Lockdown!! This is where we see if Hickey earns his money. Still not sold on Philbin.

Its gonna take 3-4 years to fix Ireland's mess.....and thats if Ross decides to spend some money rather than pocket it. There is not nearly enough playmakers to compete.

After Pouncey is traded Ross will try to bring J Martin back and avoid a BIG LAWSUIT.

It doesnt matter how good your D is when your stinkin QB can only get 3 1/2 pts/game!!

Posted by: NJPHIN | March 08, 2014 at 11:29 AM

True.

U OF BAYLOR SAFETY #6 AHMAD DIXON SHOULD BE ON OUR RADAR ON DRAFT DAY. HE'S A BATTERING RAM IN THE SECONDARY. COVERAGE SKILLS IS GREAT AS WELL. RASHAD JONES CAN ROAM THE FIELD & PLAY FOR KEEPS.

Karlos Dansby, Arizona: playmaker? Check. Solid inside presence? Check. Hard worker? Check. Plays hurt? Check. Of course, all his abilities didn't translate to the Dolphins. Coaching the reason? Check.

Dashe wrong again? Check.

Posted by: Old news | March 08, 2014 at 01:28 PM

LOL

Need experienced RB. Picking up blitz's and being QB's go to guy is important. The more knowledgable the better. So going with TATE who's been around for a while but has little use in his 4 years in the league is worth paying for rather than rolling the dice on a rookie
to come in and be effective. Remember, we are trying to upgrade from Thomas and Miller not just get another guy who comes cheap. Sign Monroe or if we can't we then go for lower teir-- in that case we may have the money to sign Byrd. Having a huge playmaker back there makes a HUGE difference. Changes the complexion of our defense. We'd get off the field on third downs more. We gave up so many frustrating 3rd and longs last year. And CLEMONS was "good". We need to have some people on the defense besides GRIMES that can shut people down and limit the pother teams offensive options. We don't have that. And with a healthy CAM WAKE and emergence of JORDAN along with VERNON we suddenly have more pressure on the opposing offenses.

Yeah I agree njFin. I say we sign Ryan Mallett when he is released by the Pats. He can certainly throw a beautiful deep ball and make all of the other throws too. Ryan Mallet would easily beat out Tannehll. We should also resign ex-dolphins, Ted Ginn and Vontae Davis. These these signings would solidify our offense and defense and propel us into the superbowl talks!

It really threw me off to see Ozzie pass on FRANCHISING Monroe. With Flacco a 2016 36 Mil. CAP hit I figured they were caught in between a rock and hard place because they're up against it with there CAP today and stuck with the ramifications of the Flacco contract bloating astronomically in the next couple of Seasons. When accounting there 3rd Pick this Yr. was dealt for Monroe it seems Ozzie was banking on resigning him long term or FRANCHISING 2014 while picking himself BA on boards in draft.

Monroe is the guy! Some discussing having a 10 Mil LT on the books while forgetting that J.Long's deal went over that mark in 3 of the Yrs. he played for us on his rookie 6 Yr./56 Mil deal when adding signing and performance/practice bonuses. We also had Carey at 7 Mil per with Grove collecting a mint in 09. All that and we fit it in with talent on D and Big contracts as well. It's about getting creative which the Dolphins have done with their contract offers since Parcells hired Aponte.

Not an Aponte (meddling) fan but she has proven here worth with the way she's worked the CAP system in our favor while taking on (supposed) Big money deals for players with little guarantee after Yr. 2 of any deal. Sign Monroe add Asamoah see if Whitner and his toughness can be added moving R.Jones back to FS were he excelled in 2012 before the move to S.S. last Yr. In this scenario then draft a DT (Hageman) who fits nicely in the 4/3 scheme or BA "IF" by some chance a T.Lewan fell to our pick.

Double down on Guards picks 2 threw 5 Brandon Thomas, John Halapio, Trai Turner and Brandon Linder will all be there between those Rds. I know everybody is high on a RB like C.Hyde or D.Williams to fit in at Power RB but I have an eye on Lorenzo Taliaferra out of tiny Coastal Carolina were Tyler Thigpen came from. He went that route because of issues with grades going the JUCO route 1st but is a Big RB at 6'/230 Pds who posted a 4.55X and can pass block. Should be available as late as Rd-6. I personally like Jeremy Hill but off field issues will have us passing.

Seems like not getting Soliai or Starks resigned is playing with fire.

Odrick is not a true DT and who's to say the guys on the market are better??

Could have a situation like the lb'ers last year all over gain.

Ok Einstein what about our offensive line and defensive tackle position we need to sign at least two lineman and a defensive tackle that's about twenty mil plus 5 mil to draft picks that leves us 10 mil. In wich we probably carry over till next year

Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State might be a solid pick at #19 after his pro day and combine. not to mention their record and his 143 tackles this season.

I agree dolphin rick. Odrick is hurt a lot too. That leaves no one else if he goes down. We had better sign Starks and Soliai.

Hickey knows what he's doing he is very smart

Ryan Shazier ran a 4.36 with a bad hamstring at his pro day. Also posted a 42 in. vertical...


Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State might be a solid pick at #19 after his pro day and combine. not to mention their record and his 143 tackles this season.

Posted by: beerphin | March 08, 2014 at 02:53 PM

I'd rather take the DT to pair with Odrick (will also be making his 1st stint as full time starter) Remember were playing a 4/3 so more than ever we need some solid inside presence keeping the Guards off our MLB. Besides Shazier is an OLB and would rather take a player like FSU's Christian Jones who has the ability to play inside and outside who may be there at our pick in Rd-2.

Won't you dolts ever figure out that 40 times and measurables are more often misleading than helpful? There is no formula. They can play or they can't. How fast was Emmit? Rice? How often do late round players and UDFA's out perform the first rounders?

Aaron Donald would be a good pick at DT but will prolly be gone... not sure bout Hageman. Jones stock has fallen to the 4th-5th rd. Not sure why you'd prefer him over Shazier he's touted as a top 40 player but will prolly rise to top 20 after his amazing pro day... Shazier has similar measurables to Mack. Way more explosive than Jones.

David,

Signing them both are unlikely. Especially since Philbin is not a Starks fan.

Taking your two best players out of your interior d-line rotation and hoping to replace them with a free agent and a rookie is risky though.

They already have the o-line to rebuild and the only RCB under contract played a total of 4 games last year. Clemmons also not under contract.

Shades of last season. Another large scale roster shake up. Hopefully Hickey has a lucky rabbits paw.

when talking Dolphins there's always that familiar smell in the air, fat lazy Dolphins that flagellate


Odrick is not a true DT and who's to say the guys on the market are better??

Could have a situation like the lb'ers last year all over gain.

Posted by: Dolfan Rick | March 08, 2014 at 02:52 PM

Odrick is the only DL we have on the roster who actually played his Pos. in College. When we took him in 2010 the knock on the pick was that he had been a DT in Jo-Pa's 4/3 at Penn St. Like Starks we asked him to make the switch to DE in the 3/4 and I believe it was Odrick's play last Yr. (didn't you notice he was oor best DT) that probably percipitated dropping the other 2.

I love Solia but he's the definition of a 3/4 NT and Starks was done fueding with the team since before flipping them off in Cleveland when he was vocal threw the press about hating the FRANCHISE tag and being insulted by no longterm deal. I believe by not re-signing either we've tipped our hand a bit because now more than ever everybody knows were going LT, G in FA while addressing DT, G & RB in draft.

I would sign Jon Beason, Brandon Albert, Ben Tate and Zane Beadles in FA. My draft would be:

1st round: Zach Martin RT
2nd round: Calving Pryor FS
3rd round: DaQuan Jones DT
4th round: Cyril Richardson RG
5th round: Aaron Murray QB
6th round: JC Copeland FB

Cut ties with Clemmons, Starks, Incognito, Jerry, Carrol, McKinney, and Clabo. Resign Soliai and Dustin Kellar.

I agree with your comment on the measurables Learn to C. I like to see production and more production.

Guys with high motors who just love to play the game.

MANDO YOU LEFT A HUGE POSITION OF NEED OFF THE LIST

QB

I feel we are in a great position heading into free agency knowing exactly what our needs are plus we have about 40 million to spend

Let it roll baby

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

more like 30m after grimes...

Fin4life,

Didn't Odrick lose 20 lbs last in year in anticipation of competing with Vernon?

At what point do we get this settled?? Just think its a bit risky to let 2 guys walk. I guess I see the thinking though.

Posted by: Marc from nj | March 08, 2014 at 03:17 PM

yup, been saying that every year for the last 25, team still looks like their in the beginning stages of a rebuild, the ownership is worse than the Jets. Everybody in the whole world knew Miami had to clean house, everyone of course expect the big eared duffus. He keeps a nobody coach that is more of a accountant than a real coach.

Matt Moore won't be on this team 5 mil. Patterson will probably be gone to another 5 mil that's 10 mil more so we still have 40 mil to spend

THE FOLLOWING WINNING PROGRAMS ALSO NEED LT'S

Bal
KC
Car

Hey we were 8-8 last year and we blew 4 games

Yeap,Paul Lankford ran a 4.29 and sucked whale balls eH?

Miami has a need at every position except DE, they suck at every position

Miami could draft BPA in every round for the next 3 years and not cover every position

MANDO'S SOURCE (THE CUBAN BORN CUSTODIAN) IS OFF TODAY

That is why Mando has no update on who is willing to take Miami's call.

Failbin is a spewing whale dork without the co-hones

HICKEY MADE GREAT MOVES IN TB THAT IS WHY HE WASN'T EVEN A FINALIST FOR THIS JOB

Revis
Freeman
Schiano

2014 is over before it starts if both DT's split eH?

if Soliai and Starks are the best this league has to offer then this league sucks alot worse than I ever imagined, They both only work about 1/2 the plays, the rest they take off and just stand there. They are fat lazy garbage

the defense couldn't stop anyone the last half of the year, 3rd string QB's looked like all stars against the Miami Defense.

the sad part is our offense sucks even worse that our defense. This team is straight up garbage

I'm done, go back to worrying about who you think should be drafted and what free agent we should pick up, just to have your heart stomped on by complete incompetence from Failbin and our last choice Hickey, and good luck with that

The NFL Has to many teams so the talent level is way diluted,they should contract 5 teams like the Dolphins ,Bills ,Lions, Jags and Raiders,all perennial losers ,this way the remaining 27 teams will all be loaded with talent and the games will be alot more entertaining eH?

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