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Offseason Forecast: Miami Dolphins

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With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. Next up: Miami Dolphins.

What's changing?


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

AFC East:
AFC North:
AFC South:
AFC West:
NFC East:
NFC North:
NFC South:
NFC West:

The biggest change in Miami came in the front office with the import of Mike Tannenbaum. It will be interesting to see how the new executive and second-year general manager Dennis Hickey evaluate the current roster -- especially those paid by the previous administration. With minimal salary-cap room this offseason, the Dolphins will have to make some tough decisions on its current big-money players. One thing we know isn't changing is the coaching staff. Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle both return to lead a team and unit that crumbled down the stretch, both on the field and on the sideline. Wide receiver Brian Hartline, who was with the team for six seasons, was given his walking papers, saving Miami $3.15 million.

Biggest free agents


» DT Jared Odrick: The Dolphins need their best interior defensive lineman to return to a thin unit. The 27-year-old should be a priority for the Dolphins; however, many believe he's a better fit as a 3-4 defensive end. Given Miami's fiscal restraints and his sideline spat with Philbin last year, Odrick might want to test out a team running a scheme that better fits his talents.

» TE Charles Clay: This man once made the NFL's Top 100 list! More of a poor man's Delanie Walker, however, he's not likely to fetch top dollar on the open market. Clay fills a need on the Dolphins as a pass-catching tight end with run-after-the-catch red zone ability. The Dolphins applied the transition tag to Charles Clay, offering the versatile H-back a $7.071 million tender.

» QB Matt Moore: Moore is listed here more to underscore the Dolphins' pending decision to pick up Ryan Tannehill's fifth-year option -- worth an estimated $15 million in 2016 -- extend him, or allow him to play out the final year. The Dolphins will likely pick up the fifth-year option, but retaining a solid backup will likely be a priority for Tannenbaum.

Other key free agents: S Louis Delmas, RB Knowshon Moreno, RB Daniel Thomas, S Jimmy Wilson 

On the way out?


» Mike Wallace: Wallace's future is up in the air after his self-benching in last season's final game. No one in the front office is willing to state that the receiver will be back. Wallace is due $12.1 million next season, but he would only save Miami $2.5 million if cut. Given that money commitment Wallace could be brought back for one more year (when they'd save $9.3 million to cut him in 2016).

» Dannell Ellerbe: Another splash signing from the previous regime who was a bust. Ellerbe's cap number is $9.85 million in 2015 and the Dolphins can save $5.65 million by snipping him. The 29-year-old missed all but one game in 2014 and was disappointing in his 2013 campaign.

» Cortland FinneganMiami cut Finneagan, saving $5.48 million. The cornerback played well until getting hurt late in the season.

What they need


Defensive tackle is the biggest priority, which makes the prospect of losing Odrick even greater. Even if Miami keeps their best free agent, adding depth will be a priority. Inside linebacker is another big need after getting gutted up the middle last season. Adding a guard is a necessity with Mike Pouncey expected to slide back to center.

Offseason crystal ball


The Dolphins hang on to Wallace for another season. The club will pick up Tannehill's fifth-year option and extend Pouncey's contract to lower the center's cap figure this year. Odrick will move on leaving a gaping hole. While we are on the crystal ball, Dion Jordan will finally move to an outside linebacker spot, where he will be more effective.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the top 25 free agents and reacts to the latest news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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