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Previewing Dolphins' 2016 free agents: Kelvin Sheppard

The Miami Dolphins are 4-7 with very little hope of making the playoffs. With that in mind, it’s time to take an early look at the team’s pending free agents and major decisions looming in 2016.

Next up is Miami’s middle linebacker.

Pending free agent: Kelvin Sheppard

Experience: Five seasons

2015 stats: 70 tackles, one interception

Reasons to re-sign: Sheppard is a journeyman linebacker who has starting experience and is a good character guy. He's playing on a $1.35 million salary this season, which is relatively cheap for a starting middle linebacker. Sheppard may be worth keeping around if the Dolphins can keep him at a similar rate.

Reasons to let walk:: The Dolphins will be searching for an upgrade at linebacker next year via the draft or free agency, whether Sheppard returns or not. Sheppard’s play has been up and down, and outside linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi are already under contract for 2016. So Sheppard may be the right starter to let go. His struggles against both the run and pass prove that Sheppard is not the long-term solution.

Chances of staying in Miami: 35 percent