Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that the Dolphins could be in for a pretty expensive offseason if they are to prevent some of the best free agents from leaving in the coming months.
Salguero mentions that WR Brian Hartline will likely be targeting a deal that would pay him $5-$6 million per year on the open market. On top of that, CB Sean Smith could be using the contracts handed out to Brandon Carr (five-years, $50 million) and Jason McCourty (five-years, $43 million) as the basis for his next contract. Defensive tackle Randy Starks, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, will likely surpass the $6 million per year that they handed out to Paul Soliai last year.
Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland is said to be looking to retain their free agents at “their price,” but that appears to be easier said than done. The article doesn’t even reference RB Reggie Bush or OT Jake Long who are also set to hit the open market in the coming months.
Hartline is a decent receiver, but is hardly the type of player that you want to build your passing game around. There are a number of solid receivers in this year’s free agent class, so it would make sense for them wait on Hartline unless he’s willing to take a reasonable contract now. Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe have all been mentioned as speculative options for the Dolphins.
Smith has shown some real talent this season, but it would be a huge gamble on their part to risk paying him that kind of money. The franchise tag has been suggested as possibly option for Smith.
Starks has been an impact player and will be a sought after option on the open market. They do have Soliai already locked up, but they would clearly have a whole in their defense that won’t be easy to replace, assuming he signs with a new team. Locking Starks up long-term might make the most sense of the three.
We have all of these players listed in our Top 50 Free Agents list.