Ranking the Miami Dolphins' Best Remaining Free-Agent Options
Do the Miami Dolphins still have the cap room to sign more players?
The answer is an easy yes. Despite a big spending binge to start free agency, the Dolphins are still a good $16 million under the cap, along with possessing another $9.3 million in saved cap space due to Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby coming off the cap on June 1.
The $16 million Miami has on hand can all be spent (special thanks to Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider for that piece of information).
There are also more holes Miami must fill via free agency and the draft. While the draft should be a good one for Miami if only because of their 11 draft picks (with five of those 11 coming in the first three rounds), there is still a good number of veteran players that could help push this team to the next level and allow them to better compete with the New England Patriots for AFC East supremacy.
However, the question is: What available players are likely to do that? Last week I took a look at who the Dolphins should be pursuing (with updates based on some breaking news of a day that saw one player signed by Miami, one player signed by another team, and an infamous yet unfortunate fax machine incident that added a player to that list).
This week I rank the potential free agents in the order of how likely Miami will sign them.
5. Sebastian Vollmer
Why haven't the Patriots re-signed Sebastian Vollmer yet? What do they seem to be waiting for?
If the answer is the market, right now it doesn't seem to be too hot for Vollmer. After waiting out the Jake Long decision, Vollmer is not only the top offensive lineman left, but also the only one available for the Dolphins that has the potential to contribute for another five years.
But health is Vollmer's main issue, and is likely the reason why he and the Patriots have yet to hammer out a deal (Vollmer's preference is to remain in New England, per The Boston Herald).
Vollmer is coming off of a knee scope as well as injury problems to his back. Those are problematic, and I highly doubt the Miami Dolphins would sign a right tackle with back issues to a deal worth about $7.5 million a year when they let a left tackle with lesser injury problems go for just a little bit more money.
Chance of signing: 3 percent.
4. Elvis Dumervil
A lot of you are probably wondering why Dumervil is ranked fourth. The simple answer is because he's the fourth-most-likely free agent on this list that Miami could sign. But don't take my word for it, here's what The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero had to say:
The Dolphins think he [Dumervil] could be a fit, but there have been no calls and the former Denver Broncos player is not a front-burner issue at the moment.
But down the road, if Dumervil is still on the market, if his price tag is reasonable, and the need to help the pass-rush persists, then the Miami native might be a fit, the Dolphins believe.
There's a good reason why the Dolphins are waiting this out: Dumervil's preference seems to be going back to Denver. That's the reason he agreed to the new contract prior to Fax-Gate, and they've been the only team he and his new agents have spoken to since the incident.
But the two sides are still far apart on money, as the Broncos won't have the money to spend on Dumervil that they originally had due to the dead money owed to him. This means a lot will have to be worked out between the two parties.
Could the Dolphins swoop in with a better offer? It's possible, but it doesn't seem like it's a priority at this time.
Chance of signing: 5 percent.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/20/3295745/armando-salguero-more-free-agents.html#storylink=cpy
3. Charles Woodson
The Dolphins secondary this year looks scary.
Not scary in a Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman-type of way that would've been interesting had the Seahawks decided to make a run at Revis, but rather in a "Holy Crap Nolan Carroll is our No. 1 corner" way.
Needless to say cornerback is likely where the Dolphins will go first in the draft, hopefully trading up for one Dee Milliner (a very possible move given the holes Miami has managed to plug this offseason).
But the secondary will also need some experience, which is why signing Charles Woodson would make sense.
Prior to the start of free agency, it was rumored that the Dolphins were interested in the former Heisman Trophy winner, but not much has come of it since. At this point in time Woodson wouldn't be a No. 1 corner, as he's spent the last few years of his career at safety.
I highly doubt Miami signs Woodson though, due to the re-signing of Chris Clemons, but stranger things have happened.
Chance of signing: 15 percent.
2. Osi Umenyiora
It's been a very down market for pass-rushers this year, and one person feeling the chill has been former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
Despite 26.5 sacks over the course of the last three seasons, Umenyiora has drawn interest from one team: Miami.
The Dolphins have already inquired about the 31-year-old pass-rusher (per The Miami Herald), who likely would only be a stopgap until the emergence of Olivier Vernon or whomever the Dolphins draft for the position come April.
However, he could be a cheap stopgap that would provide Miami with a formidable pass rush, which is likely why the Dolphins have spent so much time studying him recently.
Chances of signing: 30 percent.
1. Eric Winston
No Jake Long means Miami has to find a new right tackle with Jonathan Martin now firmly taking his place at the left tackle position.
So what does Miami do? It's likely that they will draft a tackle in Round 1. Likely, but stupid considering the issues at corner. More likely is the possibility of the Dolphins using a second- or third-round pick on a tackle, however, said tackle will probably need a year to develop and get his feet wet.
Enter Eric Winston, who I extolled the virtues of signing last week, and now this week is no closer to becoming a Miami Dolphin.
Not signing Winston while drafting a new offensive lineman would be a mistake, as Winston makes a great one- to two-year stopgap at the position while the new lineman developed in Miami. He would also be a much-needed veteran leader of the group.
I can't see the Dolphins letting Eric Winston slip away, as he will likely be the next free agent to sign with the Dolphins (at least of the players on this list).
Chance of signing: 50 percent.