The biggest issue facing the Miami Dolphins at the present is not cap space, team performance or even who to cut and re-sign. The biggest problem facing the Dolphins right now is lack of draft picks during this year’s NFL Draft. Missing out on both their third and fourth round selections, Miami’s need for talent and depth will have to be a combination fill this Spring.
While team’s can normally find cheap depth during the middle rounds of the draft, the fact that Miami is lacking in these picks makes it necessary for the team to go out and pursue some players during free agency. While this could change at any moment should the Dolphins execute a trade during or before the draft even begins, I am more concerned with the present situation.
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To me, this draft classes deepest positional group is that of its cornerbacks. With first round talent likely to be selected during the late second round, the Miami Dolphins could address their issues at that position during the draft. Again though, with many positions in need of upgrades such as outside linebacker and along the offensive line, the cornerback position would be better filled through free agency.
Making matters a little bit better for the Miami Dolphins is that some talented corners are likely to hit free agency this Spring. While some players are young and will come with hefty price tags, there are some players in their early 30’s that can still contribute on a much cheaper basis.
I’m talking about players like Darius Butler, Jerraud Powers and Brandon Carr. All three are players that are either 30 or will be 30 during or before next season. Given their age, their contracts are unlikely to match those of say Stephon Gilmore or even Morris Claiborne. Given the age, a shortened deal could also be on the table, opening the door for Miami to pair another young cornerback with Xavien Howard in the future.
The experience factor could also play a part. If the team were to draft a talented cornerback in the first round, the team would be playing with fire at the position. The combined experience between such a rookie and fellow starter Xavien Howard would be only one season. While it could be good news in the long term, it would be troubling during the short term.
If the Miami Dolphins have the chance to sign one of these talented cornerbacks during this offseason’s free agency period, they should take the opportunity. Such a move would help bridge the gap between the short and long term for this team.