The Miami Dolphins may have been eliminated from playoff contention last week, but they still enter Week 17 with a chance to finish 8-8. It would be the franchise's first season finishing at least .500 since 2008.
It's been a surprising year for the Dolphins, a team that spent much of the year outplaying expectations and predictions. This is a team that is dangerously close to being counted among the NFL's best.
That proximity to greatness is what makes this offseason so important.
With approximately $50 million in cap room and five picks in the first three rounds of the 2013 draft, the Dolphins are expected to make a huge surge once the pads are hung up for the year.
It won't be an easy task to manage, and the chances of this offseason going perfectly for Miami are admittedly fairly small. But the Dolphins don't necessarily need a perfect offseason to make the improvements they need to take the next step.
That being said, let's examine what Miami will need to do to create the perfect offseason. Here's a five-step plan for the Dolphins to get the most out of their pivotal postseason.