The Miami Dolphins will enter free agency Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET with a big win already in place. Miami agreed to terms with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is considered the biggest name on the market this offseason.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at whose stock is rising and falling in Miami.
1. Dolphins defensive line: Miami was rated 24th against the run last season, and its defensive line ran out of gas in the second half of the season. That’s why the Dolphins made Suh their biggest priority of the offseason. Suh immediately bring toughness and strength in the middle. He anchored the Detroit Lions’ No. 1-rated run defense last season and is the game-changer the Dolphins need. Miami now has one of the NFL’s top defensive lines with Suh, Pro Bowler Cameron Wake, defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell.
2. Mike Tannenbaum, vice president: Tannenbaum just became vice president two months less than two months ago and has already landed the biggest free-agent signing in franchise history. Tannenbaum, general manager Dennis Hickey and Miami’s front office deserve a lot of credit for landing Suh. The Dolphins had a strategy of how to land the game-changing free agent and implemented it.
1. Randy Starks, defensive tackle: There obviously will be fallout from Suh’s major signing, and Starks and his $5 million salary for 2015 are in jeopardy. Starks has been stout for Miami for seven seasons but finally showed signs of slowing down last season. Starks would be a backup behind Suh if he stayed on the roster next season, but the Dolphins have other needs and most likely can find better ways to spend $5 million.
2. Linebacker depth: The Dolphins are running out of linebackers. They cut starter Philip Wheeler to save $3 million in salary, and veteran backup Jason Trusnik will become an unrestricted free agent this afternoon. In addition, former starter Dannell Ellerbe, who has an $8.45 million salary in 2015, is expected to be released in order for the Dolphins to save more cap room. Miami needs to find viable replacements via the draft or free agency. Miami was 24th against the run last season and needs better linebacker play.