As expected the Dolphins came out as players in Day 1 of free agency. Landing Brandon Albert was imperative as the Dolphins are in desperate need of help on the O-Line. As expected it was a big contract with a big guarantee. I would say they overpaid a little bit but all the other top left tackle prospects signed with other teams today as well. Plain and simple, it was something Miami had to do. If he stays healthy, Brandon Albert is a very solid tackle. I wish he was a bit younger with a better injury track record but in Miami’s situation I am a happy fan.
Also as expected the Dolphins did not sign big Paul back for DT. I will say I liked Paul Soliai as a fan. He was always a Dolphin, and he had a couple years where he was one of the top D-Tackles in the league. However the guy is 30 and he has had several seasons where he was not able to control his weight. This year he clearly was not able to get the up field pressure needed to redirect running backs or pressure the QB. I really think this was because he was playing too heavy. He also had some knee issues at times as well. Atlanta paid a mint for Soliai considering those variables and I am glad the Dolphins did not do it. I think there is a very likely chance Soliai will be dead money on Atlanta’s cap number 2 years from now. Miami has that same risk with Albert so getting younger at D-Tackle seems like a wise move to offset it. The departure of Soliai created a clear need for a DT. It sounds like Earl Mitchell is going to be one of the guys to fill that need. Mitchell is only 26 years old and Miami signed him for the about ½ the cost of Soliai. It remains to be seen if he can perform at the same level but on paper this is a good move. It saves a lot of cap space and gets a younger player at the same time. That is not easy to do! Mitchell is pretty athletic and I think he will be better at getting into the backfield and causing disruption. However, I am not so sure he will be able to anchor against the run at the same level as Soliai. I still expect the Dolphins to add another DT into the mix. You need a good rotation when you are playing in the Miami humidity and heat.
Finally the Dolphins signed safety Louis Demas which likely signals that Chris Clemons will not be back. I absolutely love this move. For those of you that don’t know Louis Delmas, look up some highlights on him. In short, he is one of those guys that hits very hard and intimidates wide receivers. Miami has lacked an enforcer at safety since the days of Louis Oliver. Delmas also has good range and speed to cover and get some interceptions. Delmas paired with Jones will give the Dolphins more ability to send some creative blitzes. They also got him for a very reasonable one year deal. Very similar to what they did last year with Grimes. The reason he was affordable is he has history of getting hurt. (Using your body like a rocket tends to do that) If he is able to stay healthy this will be a steal for them. They will have Jimmy Wilson already as a backup and I would not be surprised to see them draft a safety still in the mid rounds to develop for future seasons. Overall three solid additions to start off free agency.
Oh and the Dolphins managed to trade J Martin. I assume it was for a case of beer and conditional draft pick. I am shocked they got anything out of him. Really feeling good about Hickey so far!