Projected Lineups: Miami Dolphins

Facing a challenging offseason by anyone's standards, the Miami Dolphins get an overview of their starters heading into 2014 by Nathan Jahnke

| 3 years ago

Projected Lineups: Miami Dolphins

32-lineups-MIALast offseason the Dolphins went on a spending spree bringing in a few big name free agents like Mike Wallace, Phillip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. The new players along with a strong sophomore season from Ryan Tannehill helped lead Miami to be a competitive team in an up-and-down season with a disappointing finish.

While there are certainly needs on the roster, they are in position to spend even more money this free agency to again make a playoff run. If they can get more of an impact from their spending this year and have their 2013 rookie class step up, Miami could be a team to watch in 2013.

Here’s where they stand with their unrestricted free agents removed from the lineup:

– Player markers are colored per class on a five-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.

Lineup MIA

Roster Notes

– Of the eight players that are either poor starters or unknown, four were players drafted within the first four rounds of the 2013 draft. All eight are at positions where a starter is a free agent and in most cases where a top backup at the position is also a free agent.

– If you wanted to judge a team just on their elite and quality starters, than you would consider the Dolphins one of the worst teams in the league. There are only four teams with one or fewer elite/quality starters with Cameron Wake being the only one in Miami.

– While the question marks going forward on the offensive line have been more public, there are just as many question marks in the secondary for 2014. Three of the four players with the most snaps in 2013 are free agents. While the team has been preparing for it, I’m sure the Dolphins want to re-sign quality players like Brent Grimes and Chris Clemons.

– In the past a big strength has been defensive tackle, but both Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are free agents and will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time next season begins. Even if one of these players is re-signed, the Dolphins will need to address the position as they currently lack depth behind Jared Odrick.

2014 Cap Situation

Per, the Dolphins are sitting at just over $32 million in cap space which is the fifth most in the league. Miami has just one player who has a cap hit over $8 million next year and only six with a cap hit above $4 million that will definitely not be cap casualties. That should be enough for Miami to re-sign a few of their quality defensive players as well as acquire a little help on the offensive line.

Potential Casualties

While the Dolphins have a lot of spending money, they have a few opportunities to create more cap space if they would like. One cut they could make is cornerback Dimitri Patterson. While he played well when healthy, the Dolphins would save $5.4 million by releasing him. Another move could be releasing backup quarterback Matt Moore. While there are few backup quarterbacks as good as Moore, there are also few backup quarterbacks who get paid as much as Moore. Finally if Miami was desperate, they would save over $2 million by cutting punter Brandon Fields.

Opportunities from the Roster

While we show our best guess at the Dolphins offensive line, chances are it will go through a lot of changes between now and September. The player who didn’t receive much time last year that is likely to make a jump is Dallas Thomas. The 77th overall pick of the 2013 draft saw only two offensive snaps during the 2013 season. Even if the Dolphins are able to bring in two or three new offensive linemen, Thomas should get a chance to start at either tackle or guard.

A lot could also happen at cornerback with Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll as free agents, Dimitri Patterson possibly being a cap casualty and Jimmy Wilson possibly playing safety rather than slot cornerback. No matter how things shape out, we should see more than a combined 110 snaps from 2013 rookies Will Davis and Jamar Taylor. They might have to compete against each other for playing time.


Projected lineups by team:



Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • jordan macgeever

    well Brent Grimes is practically a certainty to be a Dolphin next year so that gives you 2 elite players so don’t really get that statement. Also Pouncey is a solid starter? Sorry but he’s better than that pretty clearly a high quality starter IMO. Also what about Brandon Gibson? This is a long way from the team that will start next year so kinda hard to really do this with any conviction.

    • Oscar

      They just go by who is currently under contract and with the likes of Sims and Matthews included over Egnew and Gibson that is likely down to last years snap count.

      They do not project whom may be resigned or picked up as a FA just saying who is graded as what on current roster.

      Regarding Pouncey he was likely in the top 15 or so Centers this year, so saying he is between a Solid starter and high quality one is reasonable

      • jordan macgeever

        He was elite in 2012 so that’s my argument. That he should be classed as High Quality. Yeah I know no FA’s are counted but it’s just impossible to do this for Miami atm too many FA’s. Also Gibson is probably slot WR over Matthews. But that just gives us more depth. Having 4 or 5 WR’s who are average or better.

        • Oscar

          Well Tannehill was below average in 2012. Can’t just have the player listed when they played there best

  • jordan macgeever

    Brent Grimes Paul Soliai both likely to return. And then you still have over 20 mill of cap room on top of that to sign 2 quality O Lineman. Maybe Anthony Collins and Roger Saffold? Then they’l sign a FS Clemons Delmas Byrd and others possible. Expect there to be changes at LB too I would envision them drafting a LB or RB in the first 2 rounds or sign one MJD Jon Beason leaders who would play big role in Miami.

  • Desse

    You should count better. There are 7 unknown in the graph, 6 in the tabel.

    • Dewbert

      You should spell better… “tabel”???? Plus, I see 6 in the graph.

  • ZackD

    I assume Dion Jordan would be Adequate with potential for High Quality?

  • Dewbert

    Change Wallace to yellow & Vernon to light green. Patterson is solid, but he is injury prone. So, he should be red with a light green outline. Miller should be orange with a yellow outline.

  • Bob

    Find it interesting that you have Tannehill as a solid starter without any further potential. At one point during the season, he was among your top 10 graded QB’s.

  • miamiron

    useless as tits on a bull

  • Thomas James

    Bloop bloop. Sorry, first thing that came to mind with Miami. You know what this defense needs? Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. Man those boys were great. Are they in the hall yet? 😀