MDD Staff Writer: Brandon Femia
Now that it has been a week since the Super Bowl, it is a good time to take a look at the Dolphins free agents this off-season. Free agency begins on March 13th.
NT Paul Soliai
Paul Soliai was franchise tagged in the 2011 offseason by the Dolphins. Soliai has become a late bloomer and has come a long way from his multiple suspensions in 2008 for not being able to stay in shape. He has blossomed into one of the best nose tackles in the league. However, the Dolphins ran a hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense in 2011 and all signs point to them doing the same again in 2012, even with former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan gone and Kevin Coyle in. For that reason, I have to believe the Dolphins will let Soliai walk. He will not be worth the contract he commands as he would essentially not be an every down player in Miami.
RG Vernon Carey
Carey was asked to move from tackle to guard and to restructure his deal if he wanted to be back with the Dolphins for the 2011 campaign, and he eventually did. He made just $2.5 million in 2011 after signing a 6 year, $42 million contract in 2009. Carey actually did fairly well in 2011 in my opinion, especially for playing a different position. He gave up just 3 sacks and was only called for one penalty all year. However, if I were a betting man, I would not bet on Carey being back in Miami in 2012.
DE/DT Kendall Langford
Langford has turned into one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL and excels at both stopping the run and getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Having just turned 26 last month, the 2008 third round pick is the one free agent on this list that is the most vital to retain in my opinion simply because of his versatility. He can play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defense, which is something that not many players around the league can do successfully. I have to believe the Dolphins will make every effort to retain Langford.
QB Chad Henne
Henne had a disappointing 2011 season, playing in only 4 games before getting injured against San Diego and being placed on IR. Matt Moore stepped in and led the Dolphins to a respectable 6-6 record as the starter, including 6-3 in the final 9 games. Since Moore is also signed for 2012, all signs point to Henne being anywhere but Miami this coming season. It is no secret that the Dolphins will be among the most active teams this offseason looking for a Quarterback, whether that be Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, Robert Griffin III, or someone else. But it is clear that the team will really have no need for Henne anymore.
RT Marc Colombo
Colombo had to have been one of the worst offensive lineman in the NFL in 2011. After signing as a free agent in the offseason, he did nothing but disappoint. It is safe to say that the Dolphins will have two new starters on the right side of the offensive line in 2012.
Other notable free agents: DE Philip Merling, CB Will Allen, RB Steve Slaton, QB JP Losman, LB Marvin Mitchell, OT Lydon Murtha (RFA), RB Lex Hilliard (RFA), OLB Ikaika Alama-Francis