With the ridiculousness that was the Miami Dolphins offensive line last year, they are now looking to completely rebuild it, which will prove to be a very difficult under taking for new general manager Dennis Hickey. With the very probable possibility of the Dolphins needing four new starters on the offensive line, they will need to get busy in free agency and the draft to fill the positions they need. Let’s take a look some available free agents that the Dolphins should be interested in (and yes I’m saying they should not be interested in Branden Albert). The three possible tackles the Dolphins could sign is Eugene Monroe, Rodger Saffold, and Jared Veldheer.
Eugene Monroe: 6’5″ 316lbs
At the age of 27, Monroe is still fairly young for an NFL left tackle, but also has plenty of experience that is very valuable. Monroe was drafted number eight overall in 2009 by the Jacksonville Jaguars but was traded to the Baltimore Ravens this past year right before the trade deadline. His contract is up and the Ravens really want to sign him back, but rumors say that he wants to test the market. If the Dolphins are going to sign him, they are going to need to make him a very good offer. My guess would probably be around five years for about $55 million.
He is the best option of the three in terms of proven talent, but he will also cost the most. He also had the best grade of the three in 2013, according to profootballfocus.com, grading out with a +20.4 rating, playing for both the Jaguars and Ravens in 2013. He has also been known for being a very good teammate and a strong locker room leader, which is something that the Dolphins are in desperate need of this coming year. His specialty is his pass blocking, coming up with a +15.6 rating of a +20.4 overall rating, which is something that quarterback Ryan Tannehill is in need of as well, as he was the most sacked quarterback in the NFL this past year. Overall, Eugene Monroe would be a costly, but worth while pick up for the Miami Dolphins offensive line.
Rodger Saffold: 6’5″ 332lbs
Coming out of Indiana University, Saffold was said to have been a very versatile offensive lineman, and he has proved that in the NFL thus far, playing every position on the offensive line except center. At only 25 years old, he still has many productive NFL years ahead, and being so versatile is very sought after in the NFL. If paired with a good left tackle, he could be a very good complement at either left guard by solidifying the whole left side of the offensive line, or at right tackle, and solidifying the bookends of the line, leaving only the guards left to be filled. he was not
Although he only played in eleven games last year, he would be worth signing because of his productivity and versatility. In only eleven games he produced a +6.7 rating, with five of those games coming against very good divisional opponents in the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks. If he can stay healthy, then he could greatly help the Dolphins add youth but also experience to this offensive line in need. Finally, because of his injury history and him not being as well known, his contract will not be as high as the others. A prediction for his contract would be in the neighborhood of four years worth around $25 million.
Jared Veldheer 6’8″ 321lbs.
Jared Veldheer was fairly unheralded coming out of small Hillsdale College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but as the Raiders so often do, they took as chance on him in the third round of the 2010 draft. It paid off starting in 2011, as he took over the left tackle position and produced a +16.5 rating, showing promise for the future. The next season, in 2012, he showed even more promising, racking up a +22.2 rating, which was good for 12th overall in the NFL, even better than Eugene Monroe. But his career took a turn for the worse in 2013 when he tore his left triceps muscle and missed the first twelve weeks of the season.
Veldheer only played in five games in 2013 and he did not produce well all. He produced a -5.5 rating, but he was not yet fully recovered from his injury. He is now hitting the free agent market and is looking to get a long term contract. He is only 26 years old and still has plenty of productive years left to contribute to a team. If he can return to the form he had in 2011 and 2012, then he could easily solidify the left tackle position for years to come. He also could come at a very good price because of that injury he sustained. A guess for a contract he might get would be in the range of four to five years for around $30-35 million, which is very good for a potential franchise left tackle. Also there would be enough money left over from the money they saved to sign Rodger Saffold and rebuild the offensive line. This would be the most sensible option for the Dolphins to make in terms of cap space and rebuilding the offensive line.