FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No one said it out loud, but for free agents — such as Sean Smith, Brian Hartline, and Randy Starks — Sunday’s matchup with the New England Patriots was as much about finishing the season healthy as it was about ending on a win. Harsh as it might sound, that was the reality for the trio, as well as 17 other players on Miami’s roster whose contracts ran out the same time the game clock did in Sunday’s 28-0 loss at Gillette Stadium. All three escaped the game without injury, but as anyone playing out the final year of his contract will tell you, the final few games — especially if your team’s out of the playoff hunt — can wreak havoc on a player’s nerves.
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