Previewing Dolphins free agents: LB Kelvin Sheppard

Kelvin Sheppard made a career-high 105 tackles last season, but the Dolphins may still seek to find an upgrade at middle linebacker. Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of decisions to make in February as they plan to slash payroll and make room to spend on the draft and free agency. But the team also has several in-house free agents to address.

With that in mind, we're highlighting key players whose contracts expired and their chances to return to South Florida. Next is Miami’s middle linebacker.

Pending free agent: MLB Kelvin Sheppard

2015 stats: 105 tackles

Analysis: It’s no secret Miami’s linebackers struggled last season. The defense was 28th against the run and couldn’t consistently cover tight ends and slot receivers in the passing game. Despite getting more than 100 tackles, Sheppard was inconsistent. He provided some leadership defensively but didn’t make enough game-changing plays. Look for the Dolphins to search for an upgrade via the draft or free agency. If unsuccessful, Sheppard’s chances of re-signing would increase.

Chances of returning: 35 percent