Setting Odds for Miami Dolphins Signing Their Top 5 Free-Agent Targets

Thomas GaliciaFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 10, 2014

Setting Odds for Miami Dolphins Signing Their Top 5 Free-Agent Targets

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Who's up to make some odds? 

    The Miami Dolphins will look to fill those odds (and ends) in this upcoming offseason, and a lot of the holes present on the team will likely be filled by free agency. 

    We'll cover one hole Miami will likely fill via free agency, but other needs have to be addressed as well in terms of retaining four of Miami's key players who are headed into free agency. 

    Each of these four players are on the defensive side of the ball, and each was important, whereas the fifth player highlighted who is a free agent from another team will be an offensive lineman. 

    Here's a look at the odds for the Dolphins to sign their top free-agent targets. 

Paul Soliai: Even Odds

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    The Dolphins defense has its flaws, but the defensive line isn't one of them. 

    Part of the reason for that has been Paul Soliai. However, Soliai is entering free agency and will be a hot commodity on the open market. 

    Working in the Dolphins' favor is the fact that, as Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reports, Soliai "loves South Florida and really, really doesn't want to leave." 

    So it's settled. Soliai staying is a sure thing in Miami...say, why do I have him only at even odds instead of at a near certainty to stay? 

    Look further in that piece, as Salguero explains: 

    But his agent, David Canter, will try to make it as hard as possible for Soliai to accept a hometown discount by drumming up as much interest for his client as he can because, well, he also was peeved an extension wasn't done in 2013.

    In the end, I can see a rather contentious negotiation between Soliai's agent Canter and the Dolphins brass before the two settle on a deal to keep Big Paul in Miami for the foreseeable future. 

Randy Starks: 30-1 Odds

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    I've thought since the start of the 2013 season that this would be Randy Starks' last in Miami. 

    You could see it as he technically wasn't a starter for the Dolphins at the start of the season, as well as his unhappiness last year over getting the franchise tag, via The Miami Herald

    Now that that offseason has happened, nothing has changed with Starks, as I don't see him back in Miami. 

    This time around, I don't have to assume this, as The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero pointed out in the piece referenced on my last slide that Starks (like Soliai) is peeved at not getting a contract extension last year. 

    The only difference is Starks will most definitely not offer Miami a hometown discount, meaning unless Miami pays up, Starks is as good as gone. 

Chris Clemons: 3-1 Odds

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Last offseason, Chris Clemons was a free agent the Dolphins decided to tie up for one more year, paying him $2.25 million. 

    Clemons would respond with his best season, one where he was the most consistent safety on the team and showed flashes of being a leader in the secondary. 

    This would make Clemons more expensive, but just as important to the Dolphins going forward. 

    If Miami didn't let go of Clemons last season, I can't see it doing that this season. I expect the team to lock Clemons up with at least a three-year deal to give the Dolphins the stability they need in the secondary. 

Brent Grimes: 1-1 Odds

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    Marco Garcia/Associated Press

    This is a 100 percent certainty: Brent Grimes will be a Miami Dolphin in 2014. 

    I don't know if it will be a long-term deal, nor do I know if it will be the franchise tag, but somehow, some way, Grimes will be in Miami. 

    He is the biggest free agent on the team, and the one the Dolphins can afford to lose the least. 

    This isn't my own speculation. This comes from Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who said: 

    Miami is dangerously thin in its secondary right now, with top corner Brent Grimes an impending free agent -- numerous team and league sources said retaining Grimes is top priority this month. He could be franchised again if a long-term deal isn't inked.

    The hope for Miami is Grimes and the Dolphins can work out a deal without the tag, but I doubt it will be that simple. It might take the franchise tag to get Grimes to take a long-term deal. 

    Either way, Grimes will be a Miami Dolphin next season, which is great news for the secondary and bad news for AFC East quarterbacks. 

Branden Albert: 10-1 Odds

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Let's get ready for the worst-kept secret in Davie thus far: 

    Per Andrew Abramson of The Palm Beach Post

    Don’t be surprised if the Dolphins go hard after a left tackle with Kansas City’s Branden Albert being the biggest target. Albert supposedly wants a deal worth $9 million a year with $25 million guaranteed. The Dolphins would probably try to counter in $7 million a year range. Philbin wanted the Dolphins to trade for Albert last offseason (Miami likely would’ve had to give up a second round pick), but former GM Jeff Ireland wanted to give Jonathan Martin time to develop at left tackle. 

    This isn't breaking news, as Miami has coveted Albert since last offseason and now has the chance to grab him without surrendering a draft pick, yet it's far from being a guarantee. 

    The Arizona Cardinals are also in need of offensive line help and will be pursuing Albert, according to Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports Radio 910 in Phoenix:

    He'll be the #1 targeted in free agent, his asking price will dictate if they draft a LT. MT @JohnnysFootball @TGravey22 Branden Albert?

    — Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 28, 2014

    The Cardinals likely won't be the only other team interested in Albert's services, which shows that in order for the Dolphins to acquire him, they must be willing to pay him big.