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Pitfalls Miami Dolphins Must Avoid in NFL Free Agency

Devin NoonanCorrespondent IIIOctober 10, 2016

Pitfalls Miami Dolphins Must Avoid in NFL Free Agency

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    NFL free agency is knocking at the door and the Miami Dolphins have some serious money to spend— just over $36 million to be exact.

    Just because the Dolphins are sitting on a surplus of cash doesn't mean that Jeff Ireland is ready to drain the bank account just yet.

    The ‘Phins need to add some playmakers on both sides of the ball, but they also need to carefully pick and choose where they spend their stash.

    As a wise man once said, “The mo’ money we come across, the mo’ problems we see.”

    Here are some problems that the Dolphins need to avoid, quite literally, at all costs this offseason.

Re-Signing Sean Smith and Jake Long

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    Sean Smith has had the opportunity over the past four years to leave an impression in Miami, and that impression has been nothing more than average play.

    It’s time to cut ties with Smith, who won’t live up to his potential or his desired paycheck, and to bring in a few new pieces to the Dolphins’ secondary.

    This should be an easy task with Falcons’ standouts Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes on the market, along with the likes of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Derek Cox and Chris Houston.

    Add that collection of talent to the incoming class of cornerbacks in the draft and the Dolphins should be in prime position to upgrade their coverage.

    On the offensive side of things, Jake Long has got to go.

    Long is feeling better than ever coming off a plague of injuries, but his asking price of $11 million annually is way too steep for the Dolphins' pockets.

    As tough as it may be for Ireland to part with his former No. 1 overall pick, the time has come to say farewell.

Letting Reggie Bush Leave

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    There was only one major playmaker on either side of the ball for the Miami Dolphins in 2012. His name—Reggie Bush.

    He may not have been able to back up his preseason rushing title prediction, but that doesn't change the fact that he has proven himself as an effective NFL running back with big play potential.

    It's essential to have a strong rushing attack in order to open up the aerial assault, and the combination of Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller casts some doubt at the present moment.

    By using Bush in different sets and increasing Miller’s workload, the Dolphins’ backfield will be the best it’s been since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown split time, if not better.

Ignoring the Line

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    The run-stopping duo of Paul Soliai and Randy Starks will remain intact in 2013, with Cameron Wake once again providing the bulk of the pass rush.

    The one thing the Dolphins must do now is solidify the D-line by acquiring a major sack-threat opposite Wake.

    Depending on how free agency pans out, this may be addressed with one of their top picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.

    The other side of the ball features Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin as the anchors of the line.

    Although these players bring some form of stability up front, the 'Phins still need to add some talent and depth.

    Having a solid corps of guys in front of Ryan Tannehill will make all of the difference for the young star as he continues to evolve at the professional level.

    The draft certainly offers plenty of opportunity to add additional linemen, but the Dolphins should look to add at least one veteran in free agency as well.

Overpaying a Big Name Receiver

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    Ryan Tannehill needs the Miami Dolphins to spend a good chunk of their offseason allowance on some quality offensive weapons.

    What better place to start than the glaring hole atop the receiving depth chart.

    It appears at this point that the only guys on the market who can fit the bill as true No. 1 wideouts are Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings.

    However, Dwayne Bowe’s recent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs has set the price tag high for these two receiving studs.

    What does that mean for the Dolphins?

    It means that Jeff Ireland needs to determine a worthwhile value for each player and refuse to cave to the high market demand.

    There is so much depth in this year's draft class that he can afford to sit tight if he fails to land one of these top free agents in Miami.

Losing Key Contributors

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    The key contributor category is comprised of free agents Chris Clemons and Brian Hartline.

    They may not be the flashiest players at their respective positions, but they're proven veterans who play hard each and every time they take the field.

    Brian Hartline emerged as the top receiver for the Dolphins last year after Brandon Marshall's preseason departure.

    Despite breaking the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, it's quite evident that Hartline is better suited as a No. 2 option in the NFL.

    In the curious case of Chris Clemons, we look at a safety whose production was overshadowed in 2012 by the elite play of teammate Reshad Jones.

    That being said, Clemons did still lead all NFL safeties in coverage by allowing just six first downs and touchdowns combined in 628 snaps.

    These guys are both core players who are essential to the continued development of this new-look Dolphins squad.

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