What Offseason Moves Are Next for Miami Dolphins with the Draft Complete
The Miami Dolphins have gotten through the 2014 NFL Draft, meaning the offseason is over and preparations can officially begin for the 2014 season.
Well, not quite, we're still about two months away from training camp, but there will be rookie camp and OTAs coming up within these two months.
The work of the players is yet to come, but the work of the front office and coaches is far from over (and is never over for the most part).
Signings can be made, players can be released, new schemes can begin to be implemented. A lot can (and will) happen prior to training camp.
Here's a look at five offseason moves the Miami Dolphins might make from now until training camp.
Release Daniel Thomas
This might be the type of move that can wait until the end of training camp, but it might be in Miami's best interest to get this out of the way now and release Daniel Thomas.
Currently there are six running backs on the Dolphins roster. According to Ourlads.com, Thomas is third on the depth chart.
Thomas also carries a cap hit of $1,029,821 in 2014 according to Spotrac, not a cap hit you want for your third-string running back.
With the signing of Knowshon Moreno, why would the Dolphins hold on to Daniel Thomas? It's the type of retention that doesn't make sense. Releasing him will free up $816,386, as he's only carrying $213,435 in dead money. It will also help Thomas get a leg up on joining another team.
Sign Jared Odrick to a Contract Extension
With the 2014 offseason just about over, the focus is now on the 2015 offseason in terms of new contracts.
The Dolphins will see two of their most important players become free agents in 2015 in Jared Odrick and Charles Clay. Both of them will be candidates for raises after their performances in the last few seasons.
Clay's situation likely will play itself out through the season, as he will have to produce another good season before the Dolphins decide to make a long-term commitment to the tight end.
Jared Odrick, on the other hand, is much deserving of a new contract.
The Dolphins could always allow Odrick to play out the season and then slap the franchise tag on him after the season, but signing Odrick to an extension will engender good will for Dennis Hickey while locking Odrick down at a lower price than a franchise tag would allow.
Sign at Least One More Veteran Guard
The Dolphins did a fine job in the draft and free agency of building their offensive line.
However, I'd still like to see the team add another veteran guard to at least help out until the team feels that Billy Turner is ready to take over at the position.
I only say this because Turner was a tackle in college, and while he has the skill and athleticism to play guard, I'm still skeptical on him when it comes to this season.
I'd like to see an insurance policy, and the best insurance policy I see is the Texans' Wade Smith.
Sign Jonathan Vilma
The Dolphins addressed their holes well in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Well, all holes save for one: linebacker.
More specifically up the middle, a position the Dolphins likely gave up on once the Baltimore Ravens selected C.J. Mosley last week during the draft.
They could always move Koa Misi to the middle, but even that move has its risks.
If only there was an affordable option at the position that is currently in the area. Someone that could provide veteran leadership and expertise.
Jonathan Vilma is this player, and he would fit the Dolphins well. His leadership will help the Dolphins defense, even when he's not on the field, and younger players like Misi, Jelani Jenkins, and rookie Jordan Tripp could learn a lot from him.
Vilma is also a good fit in Miami's 4-3 system, and, according to Omar Kelly of The Sun-Sentinel, would love to play for the Dolphins.
This should be something the Dolphins should be willing to get done, it would be a good match for 2014 as a placeholder while the Dolphins look for their next middle linebacker.
Get Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace in Rhythm
This one should go without saying.
In Mike Wallace the Dolphins have a weapon that few teams have: a burner on the outside. Ryan Tannehill has an arm that's big and accurate, but rarely is it big and accurate at the same time.
Last year the excuse was the offensive line. This year: new offensive line, a better offensive line.
No excuses, these two players should be constantly working out together, getting their timing down. Doing that would give Miami the explosive offense that can contend with New England in the AFC East.