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Offseason Forecast: Miami Dolphins

With the offseason officially under way, Around The League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Miami Dolphins.


With the offseason underway, Around The League explores what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | 49ers | Rams | Seahawks

What's changing?


A lot. The Dolphins' tumultuous 8-8 season proved to be the final straw for general manager Jeff Ireland, who "mutually parted ways" with the team after six years. Ireland was replaced by Tampa Bay Buccaneers personnel man Dennis Hickey after an extensive search. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman also was let go, replaced by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor.

A big part of this offseason will be about changing the culture of an operation stained by the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin saga. Expect pink slips to extend beyond the trainer.

Also expect substantial roster turnover -- the Dolphins have eight starters set to become unrestricted free agents.

Biggest free agents


» CB Brent Grimes: Grimes was a deft signing by the prior regime, coming up big after signing a prove-it deal last offseason. Grimes is looking for a long-term deal, but the Dolphins could be apprehensive about committing big money and multiple years to a corner on the wrong side of 30. The franchise tag makes a lot of sense.

» DT Randy Starks: The Dolphins used their franchise tag on Starks last year, and the durable tackle is looking for a pay day at age 30. The Miami Herald reported that Starks was unhappy about being tagged last year and is unlikely to give the Dolphins a hometown discount.

» S Chris Clemons: If Grimes was Miami's best defensive back in 2013, Clemons could make a legit claim as No. 2 on that list. The 28-year-old finished the season with 93 tackles and an interception and was ranked by ProFootballFocus.com as the 19th best safety in the league.

Other key free agents: DT Paul Soliai, CB Nolan Carroll, OL Tyson Clabo, LG Richie Incognito, OL John Jerry, OL Bryant McKinnie, TE Dustin Keller

What they need


Above all else, the Dolphins must overhaul their infinitely troublesome offensive line. Mike Pouncey is the only starter currently under contract -- and that's not a bad thing. Incognito is history, Martin is in limbo, McKinnie was a stop-gap, Clabo was a bust, and Jerry is vulnerable after his ugly cameo in the Wells report. Hickey must build a better performing, better behaved line in front of Ryan Tannehill, who took a vicious beating last year.

Free agency hovers over multiple areas of the roster. The secondary and defensive line will need to be fortified if they lose in-house talent. The Dolphins could use fresh blood in their backfield as well -- Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller failed to make an impression last season.

On the way out?


» G Richie Incognito: Obviously. The Dolphins are desperate for a culture change in their building. Ridding themselves of Incognito is a major step toward that goal. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Wells report ensured Incognito's Dolphins career is done.

» RT Jonathan Martin: Martin's agent told Rapoport on Friday that the offensive lineman's camp is going to meet with the Dolphins at the NFL Scouting Combine to discuss Martin's future. Martin might still be an option in Miami, though it might make more sense for both sides to move on.

» DT Randy Starks: Starks has never missed a game since joining the Dolphins as a free agent prior to the 2008 season. Starks has been a steady contributor in Miami, but he could be gone if he gets a rich offer from another team in free agency.

Offseason crystal ball


Pouncey will be surrounded with new teammates on the offensive line. Watch for Miami to make a push to land free agent Branden Albert, a talented blindside protector they flirted with last offseason. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Dolphins use their first-round draft pick (19th overall) on another O-lineman.

We expect Grimes to get the franchise tag as a placeholder for a new deal, though we're not convinced a long-term contract gets done. With more than $30 million in cap room, we suspect the Dolphins will find a way to keep the versatile Starks. That move could end Soliai's tenure in South Beach.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys speculate on big names who could be cut, then talk offseason forecasts for the Packers and Raiders.

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