Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
After signing Brian Flores off New England’s coaching staff last season to become the head coach of the Dolphins, it would make sense that there are rumors surrounding Miami’s interest in former Patriot players in free agency.
The team brought in Eric Rowe and Dwayne Allen before the start of the 2019 season, who were both on the Patriots the previous year. While Allen didn’t hang around long, Rowe established himself as a versatile option in Miami’s secondary and quickly became part of the team’s future.
With the Dolphins looking down the scope of the 2020 free agency period, loaded with roughly $88 million in cap space ammunition, a few more Patriots are becoming top-targets, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
“The Dolphins hold Patriots free agent Joe Thuney in high regard and are expected to be among a number of teams to call when negotiations begin in less than two weeks,” Jackson wrote on Tuesday.
With plenty of teams interested in the 27-year-old left guard’s services, he will likely ink the largest contract among guards, which could pay out roughly $15 million per year.
“There also has been an initial Dolphins expression of interest in Patriots impending free agent center Ted Karras,” Jackson wrote, “but it’s unclear to what extent as Miami explores potential alternatives to Daniel Kilgore.”
After an underwhelming 2019 campaign, Kilgore is scheduled to make $4.5 million next season, but his contract is not guaranteed, which allows Miami some flexibility to decide what they want to do with the center position.
Jackson mentioned linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive tackle Danny Shelton as well. Neither are a stranger to coach Flores and what he is trying to accomplish on the defensive side the ball.
Finally, former Titan, and Patriot, Logan Ryan could be a strong option for the Dolphins. The 29-year-old cornerback had four interceptions last season and intercepted Tom Brady for a pick-six that ended New England’s season in the Wildcard round.
“My sense is Ryan would be open to seriously considering Dolphins overtures if Miami makes a serious attempt to sign him,” Jackson wrote.
A case could be made that all these players could help the Dolphins to their first playoff win in roughly 20 years, but Chris Grier and the front office will likely move forward with caution.
The Dolphins purged its roster of poor contracts last season, which resulted in a $66 million hit in dead cap space, beating out the New York Giants by $11 million for the highest total in the league.
The team said that its determined to not fall into the same cap conundrum that has plagued the team for the last eight years, which means the Dolphins may not be as active as their boatload of cap space indicates once free agency begins on March 18.