Additions: LT Branden Albert, FS Louis Delmas, DT Earl Mitchell, OG Shelley Smith, CB Cortland Finnegan
Key Losses: NT Paul Soliai (Falcons), FS Chris Clemons, CB Nolan Carroll (Eagles), LT Jonathan Martin (49ers)
The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation did more than bring a media circus to Miami. It also left a gaping hole on the left side of the offensive line.
The Dolphins front office addressed the issue, signing former Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert and Rams guard Shelley Smith.
The move for Albert not only addressed the void left by Martin’s departure, but it also will provide an upgrade. According to Pro Football Focus, Albert’s ratings in pass protection and run-blocking are both better than Martin’s, and the level of production is not even close.
Former Rams guard Shelley Smith played just 371 snaps last season, 152 of which were at left guard.
In his limited time on the left side, Smith faired moderately well, posting a -0.5 rating in pass protection and 4.9 in run-blocking.
Even if Smith struggles at the left side, which is where he is projected to start at the moment, he can make a move to the right guard position to replace Nate Gardner.
The Dolphins also signed former Lions free safety Louis Delmas to a one-year contract.
Delmas will be 27 in April, and he has a history with nagging injuries. He played in 1,058 snaps last year, which was close to the amount of total snaps he participated on during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, which was 1,218.
He was solid in pass coverage last season, posting the 11th highest coverage rating of all safeties, both free and strong, in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Oddly enough, one of the few safeties who was more productive is pass coverage was Chris Clemons, whom the Dolphins let go of in favor of Delmas.
Delmas is a solid player, but he will need to stay healthy all season and produce similarly to how he did in Detroit last year.
Former Texans nose tackle Earl Mitchell was also brought in within the first couple days of free agency.
Mitchell will likely have a role as a rotational player with Jared Odrick and recently re-signed veteran Randy Starks.
Last season, Mitchell was a bit inconsistent, but that can be attributed to the Texans defensive scheme and his role as a nose tackle, despite being undersized a 6'2", 296 pounds.
With his move to a 4-3 defense, Mitchell will benefit from less double teams and he will fit right in as a 3-technique tackle.
The final notable move was the signing of former Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
Finnegan, who signed a monster deal with St. Louis two seasons ago, saw a drop in production from his Pro Bowl numbers he had in Tennessee.
Playing across from recently re-signed Brent Grimes, Finnegan will have a chance to resurrect his career, similar to what Grimes did in Miami on a short-term deal last season.