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Examining Dennis Hickey's first free-agent class

NFL free agency is just around the corner. Teams will be wheeling and dealing when the new league year begins on March 10. The negotiating period begins Saturday.

The Miami Dolphins have several in-house free agents and potential outside candidates they will target. But in order to move forward, we must first examine the past.

Here is a recap of Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey’s first free-agent class:

This free-agent class has mixed reviews. The obvious home run was Albert, who was on his way to another Pro Bowl season until a season-ending knee injury in Week 10. Albert proved himself to be one of Miami’s top players.

Delmas and Mitchell were solid contributors throughout the season. Finnegan was up and down and released after one season, while Moreno was a non-factor after the first game due to injuries. Smith was a free-agent bust in his first year and couldn’t crack the starting lineup, despite a big need at guard.

Also keep in mind that Hickey later signed offensive linemen Samson Satele and Daryn Colledge in the summer to one-year contracts out of necessity. Both players contributed as starters last season.

Free agency can be a good tool if used properly. The Dolphins need to fill some holes but avoid being major players for the third year in a row. This is the year for Miami to focus on primarily building through the draft.