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Miami Dolphins: 10 Free Agents That Fit the Cap

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIMay 9, 2011

Miami Dolphins: 10 Free Agents That Fit the Cap

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    As great as it would be for the Miami Dolphins to sign QB Peyton Manning and RB DeAngelo Williams, some things are just not realistic.

    Even players who seem like a perfect fit for one team, sign with another because at the end of the day it is all about the money.

    The Dolphins do not have a whole lot of wiggle room. As of now, the Dolphins have over $115 million already tied up in 2011 salary.

    ESPN's Adam Schefter is saying that the projected 2011 NFL salary cap would be around $120 million.

    This would mean that the Dolphins will either have to cut a lot of players to sign the likes of a Matt Hasselbeck or look for gems in low places.

    Here are some possible bargain value players the Dolphins could bring in that could turn out to be diamonds in the rough.

QB Bruce Gradkowski

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    Gradkowski's numbers are not the prettiest things (53.2% career completion percentage and 20 TDs to 23 INTs).

    However, Gradkowski would be cheap and does have 20 starts under his belt.

    I have made my fair share of Gradkowski jokes, but the fact is he does have some talent. He has just never been surrounded by a strong rushing and receiving team.

    His wide receivers have consisted of Darrius Hayward-Bey, Mike Clayton, and aging Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway.

    Those were probably his best WRs too. Not to mention that his OLs were miserable in Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Oakland.

    With a new situation, he may thrive. He brings mobility and toughness and, most importantly, he's a cheap option.

QB Rex Grossman

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    For every Gradkowski joke, there is a "Sexy Rexy" joke.

    Like Gradkowski, Grossman's numbers are not all that great (54.2% career completion percentage with 40 TDs to 40 INTs). However, Grossman did not exactly have Pro Bowl talent around him.

    His only full year of starting in 2006, he took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl.

    Just like Gradkowski, Grossman has never had a stud wide receiver to help make him look a little better.

    I know. Grossman and Gradkowski are not my ideal picks either but with the Dolphins cap situation we have to be realistic. You never know, coming to Miami to team up with wide receiver Brandon Marshall could revive his career.

    He would be a cheap option to come in and push incumbent quarterback Chad Henne.

RB Jerious Norwood

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    When healthy, Norwood is an absolute burner. A burner is exactly what the Dolphins are looking for.

    He is used to a situational role because that is the role he had in Atlanta.

    He may be 28, which is old for RBs in the NFL these days, but he is a young 28 because he has not had a whole lot of carries.

    However, his health is a concern. If he stays healthy, the Dolphins could get an absolute steal with this signing.

RB Brandon Jackson

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jackson may not be a burner but he is a great change-of-pace back.

    When pressed into the starting role this past season for Green Bay he did struggle a bit. He excels as a third-down back.

    The Dolphins need a third-down option to compliment newly drafted Daniel Thomas.

    He is only 25 so he still has some good years left in him.

    Jackson will probably look for a starting gig, but chances are he will not find one so he would be a great value addition to the Dolphins' backfield.

OG Max Jean-Gilles

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    The Dolphins have re-signed Richie Incognito and Nate Garner for the guard spots, but depth is still an issue.

    Jean-Gilles has tremendous upside and could push either Garner or Incognito for a starting spot.

    Jean-Gilles has had some injuries, but mostly he has struggled with his weight. The Dolphins had the same issue with T Vernon Carey but were able to get him under control so they would be able to do the same for Jean-Gilles.

    Jean-Gilles is a Miami native, so I am sure he would not mind coming back home to play for the Dolphins.

OG Chester Pitts

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    The injury theme continues with Pitts. He had microfracture surgery in 2009 and has had a slow road of recovery.

    Though when he is healthy, Pitts is a great lineman. He was able to start towards the end of the 2010 season so he could finally be healed by the start of the 2011 season.

    The injury concerns would push down his price.

    Even if Pitts is not at full form, he would be a great locker room guy as he is one of the NFLPA player reps.

TE Desmond Clark

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    Clark basically had a year off last season as he did not really fit into Mike Martz's offense. The Bears put Clark on the inactive list for most of the season.

    Clark has great talent and has always been a solid TE.

    The Dolphins drafted hybrid FB/TE Charles Clay and still have Anthony Fasano, but the Dolphins usually like to have three TEs on board.

    Clark is 34, which makes him fairly cheap, but still brings talent and some speed to the TE position.

S Tom Zbikowski

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    One thing is for sure, Zbikowski is tough as nails.

    During the lockout, he has taken up boxing and is 4-0 in his young boxing career.

    He is a pretty decent safety on the football field too. He also brings in some skill as a return man as well.

    He is only 26 and the Dolphins could use the safety and special teams depth. There are a lot of other big name safeties on the market that will garner more money so Zbikowski would be a good bargain.

S Usama Young

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    Young had a fantastic season in 2008, but his production has dropped over the last two seasons.

    He still has talent and is an excellent depth player.

    In week four last season, he had seven tackles, a sack and a pass defensed. So when he does get the chance to play he can make an impact.

OLB Ben Leber

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Leber is 32 and clearly on the decline of his career. However, if used properly, can still be a productive OLB.

    I do not think he fits either a 3-4 or 4-3 OLB position perfectly, but would be good as a situational OLB in the Dolphins 3-4 scheme.

    He would bring a veteran presence for the young Dolphins OLBs. Not to mention he would bring some depth because after Koa Misi and Cam Wake the Dolphins do not really have any other OLBs.

    His age and declining numbers would bring down his asking price as compared to other OLBs like Manny Lawson or Clint Session.

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