The Miami Dolphins will know in the coming days whether or not their primary free agency targets have made it to the open market or not. The NFL’s deadline to activate the franchise/transition tags will pass on Sunday night, the second time the league has pushed back the deadline this season — and then it is full speed ahead for free agency. The Dolphins themselves? They’ll have nothing to worry about as the deadline approaches. There are no candidates to receive either designation for the Dolphins specifically.
Editor’s note: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning of the latest change to the franchise tag deadline. It was set prior to the change to expire on Thursday of this week.
But potential free agents do still hang in the balance. There are several key free agents that have been slapped with the tag; removing numerous Dolphins targets off the negotiating market. Key players who have been tagged?
Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue
Kansas City Chiefs: DL Chris Jones
Denver Broncos: FS Justin Simmons
Additionally, there are rumors that Baltimore will use their tag on rush linebacker Matthew Judon; same with the Pittsburgh Steelers and rush linebacker Bud Dupree.
The whittling down of the free agent field in the pass rush department figures to mean Miami will focus on cash allocations elsewhere — most notably up front along the offensive line. But the Dolphins must still spend carefully and avoid the common pitfalls that are associated with open negotiations among all 32 teams this time of year. No strangers to overspending, this offseason will help test the Dolphins’ commitment to their “sustainable winner” model; or at least see how flexible they’re willing to be with their cash to build themselves “outs” of potentially crippling contracts in the long run.
One thing we do know? They won’t be tagging anyone before this year’s deadline. But they will most certainly be watching the rest of the league closely before free agency negotiations open next Monday.