The Dolphins are not expected to pursue top-end free agents when the market opens in March, sources tell Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
That strategy would represent a shift under new general manager Chris Grier, who last month was promoted to replace Mike Tannenbaum as Miami’s top personnel decision-maker. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has historically been open to adding expensive free agents, but deals for players such as Ndamukong Suh, Lawrence Timmons, and others didn’t help Miami get any closer to championship contention. With Grier and presumptive head coach Brian Flores now leading the club, the Dolphins seem to be planning for a different approach.
Indeed, Miami intends to “lose enough” to receive a high pick in the 2020 draft, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Adding free agents that would help the Dolphins win in 2019 won’t fit with the club’s long-term outlook, so Miami isn’t likely to be in contention for quarterback Nick Foles or Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers, who could be linked to the Dolphins given his relationship with Flores.
Currently, the Dolphins project to have the NFL’s sixth-least amount of 2019 cap space with roughly $13.5MM in available funds. However, Miami could grow that figure to more than $56MM simply by cutting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, wide receiver DeVante Parker, and defensive ends Robert Quinn and Andre Branch. The latter three moves are considered all but certain, while Tannehill could potentially be a trade candidate.
Meanwhile, star cornerback Xavien Howard — who is entering the final year of his rookie deal — said he hasn’t had any extension talks with the Dolphins, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com. Jackson reported last month that Howard was expected to command at least $15MM annually on his next contract, but it’s unclear if Miami is willing to go that high.