Despite last year’s free-agent spending spree, the Miami Dolphins will have plenty of cap room to spend again in 2014. The Dolphins have more than 20 restricted and unrestricted free agents who come off the books. But that also means there are big decisions upcoming for first-year general manager Dennis Hickey.
One dilemma will be figuring out which players already under contract deserve a raise this offseason. ESPN.com’s Dolphins page did some legwork to find three Miami players who have outperformed their current contracts.
1. Mike Pouncey, center
2014 salary: $1.638 million
Analysis: Miami’s 2011 first-round pick is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. Pouncey made his first Pro Bowl in 2013, but he’s played at a Pro Bowl level the past two seasons. The Dolphins currently have Pouncey at a bargain for two more years. Top interior linemen often get paid around $5-7 million per season. It remains to be seen if Miami will go to the negotiating table with Pouncey to provide a raise this offseason or try to wait another year. But he’s definitely outperformed his current salary.
2. Charles Clay, tight end
2014 salary: $645,000
Analysis: Clay is another player who significantly outperformed his contract. The 2011 sixth-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie agreement. Clay was a major surprise for the Dolphins in 2013. He replaced injured starting tight end Dustin Keller (knee) and set new career highs in receptions (69), yards (759) and touchdowns (six). A $645,000 salary is small for that level of production. Clay has a good rapport with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and an extension would make him a part of the team's long-term plans.
3. Jared Odrick, defensive lineman
2014 salary: $865,000
Analysis: Odrick, a 2010 first-round pick, is in a contract year and would prefer long-term security. Odrick had a solid 2013 with 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks while rotating with fellow defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. Both Soliai and Starks are unrestricted free agents, which also raises Odrick's value. Odrick is a versatile player who can play every position on the defensive line. He is also a hard worker and a quality locker room guy.