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Dolphins AFC East Free Agent Preview

Pro Football Weekly has a free agent preview on the AFC East, and here’s what they have on the Dolphins heading into free agency.

Unsigned players: TE Jared Bronson (1), RB Ronnie Brown (6), RB Patrick Cobbs (5), OL Nate Garner (3), TE Joey Haynos (3), RB Lex Hilliard (2), OL Richie Incognito (5), DT Tony McDaniel (5), OL Pat McQuistan (5), DE Quentin Moses (4), OL Lydon Murtha (2), QB Chad Pennington (11), OL Cory Procter (5), RB Kory Sheets (2), DT Paul Soliai (4, franchised), QB Tyler Thigpen (4), RB Ricky Williams (10).

Analysis: With it looking more and more like both Brown and Williams will be elsewhere in 2011, Soliai became the team’s highest priority. He had a career year at one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense and would have had his fair share of suitors had he hit the market. The team prevented that from happening, however, by applying the franchise tag to him, which he signed. Now, the Dolphins must work out a long-term deal or else be on the hook to pay a player who made less than $500,000 in 2010 an eye-popping $12.5 million in ’11. The team has lots of depth on the defensive line with Jared Odrick and Phillip Merling returning from injury, and McDaniel might want to start somewhere else.

When it comes to the two veteran backs, Williams’ postseason rant against Tony Sparano seemed to spell his end in South Florida. Although Brown could be a possibility to return, his lackluster 2010 season might not get him the type of money he wants. Some project the team to draft a back with its first pick at No. 15. Incognito had a solid season at guard and could factor into the conversation at center, assuming he returns. As bad as the interior line play was in 2010, Incognito provided some consistency, getting notice around the league. The question is: Will he get rewarded with a long-term deal? Cobbs, Hilliard and Sheets should all return and could compete for the starting tailback job with a rookie or free-agent acquisition, assuming Brown and Williams go elsewhere.

Click HERE to see the preview for the other AFC East teams


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