The Miami Dolphins have become a contender in March. Whoever said you must build through the draft didn't have nearly $50 million to spend in free agency.
Miami turned a weak pass-catching group into one of the NFL's most lethal corps by re-signing Brian Hartline and adding Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson.
By signing Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler, while releasing Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, the Dolphins became younger and more athletic. The changing of the guard at the linebacker position also saved Miami some salary cap space, according to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post.
All this and Jeff Ireland still has money to further improve his team before the draft.
Here's a look at new Dolphins with statistical predictions for the coming year.
Miami landed 2013's most coveted free agent, Mike Wallace.
The ex-Steeler receiver is young (26) and lightning-fast. Consider every defense that the Dolphins will face in 2013—stretched.
Wallace and Ryan Tannehill need to develop rapport, but Miami's quarterback has the skill set that can unleash the speedy receiver. Tannehill has a strong arm and the athletic ability to extend plays.
2013 prediction: 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, nine touchdowns
Dannell Ellerbe was considered the best free-agent inside linebacker by many, including Rotoworld until he was signed by Miami.
2013 prediction: 130 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions
Philip Wheeler was arguably the best outside linebacker in the 2013 free-agent class. Rotoworld ranked him second behind Daryl Smith.
Last year, the Georgia Tech standout made 109 tackles, three sacks and forced two fumbles.
Wheeler runs a 4.75 40-yard dash and will make the Miami defense difficult to beat to the edge.
2013 prediction: 100 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions
The Dolphins pried Dustin Keller away from their arch-rival New York Jets. Keller represents the playmaking tight end Miami has sorely missed.
Last year, Keller played through injury. In eight games, Keller caught 28 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns. The ex-Boilermaker almost had as many yards as Anthony Fasano (332), who played a full season.
The 6'3", 250-pound Keller can be explosive after the catch, as he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds. Keller is as fast as ex-Dolphin Brandon Marshall.
2013 prediction: 40 receptions, 500 yards, six touchdowns
Brandon Gibson came over to Miami with little fanfare. The 6'0", 205-pound receiver is not a burner (4.59 40-yard dash), but he is physical and has good hands.
Gibson beat the Miami secondary for 91 yards on seven receptions in 2012, which included a superb one-hand catch.
The Washington State alum is a solid complementary receiver who was actually being courted by the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans when he made his decision to sign with the Dolphins.
Gibson's contract is for three years and $9.78 million, but only $3.75 million is guaranteed.
2013 prediction: 40 receptions, 450 yards, five touchdowns