(Sports Network) - The Dolphins made a big splash in free agency and the trade market last season, but all the big names didn't put the team over the top. Miami won 10 games and missed the playoffs last season. The highly-touted defense put up impressive statistics once again, but when Miami absolutely had to have a stop, the defense wasn't up to the task.
The anticipated arrival of QB Brian Griese was more hype than substance. Griese showed he is not the answer to Miami's quarterback problems, and on March 3, Miami is expected to complete a trade for Philadelphia No. 3 QB A.J. Feeley, who will have an opportunity to compete against Jay Fiedler for the starting job.
Wide receiver Chris Chambers rebounded from a poor sophomore campaign and developed into a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Chambers has game-breaking ability and good hands. The Dolphins need another option in the passing game when defenses double Chambers. Derrius Thompson was signed to fill that role last year, but he was a complete flop. Veteran Oronde Gadsden is a free agent, but if the Dolphins bring him back it will be in a backup role.
Right tackle Todd Wade is Miami's best offensive lineman and is looking for big dollars in free agency. A $25 million deal with a $10 million bonus is being floated. The Dolphins would be nuts to devote so much cash to a good but not great tackle.
If they can find that much upfront money to throw around they would be much better served to go after one of the premier left tackles on the market. Fiedler or Feeley would certainly welcome the sight of an elite bookend. Wade Smith could shift to the right side if needed.
Starting guard Jamie Nails is also a free agent. He finally seemed to be playing to his potential in 2002 when he was injured in a December game against Oakland. Nails returned last season but not to the same level of play. At the right price, the Dolphins would look to re-sign him.
On defense, Miami is sure to tender restricted free agent DE Adewale Ogunleye at a first- and third-round compensation level to discourage offers to the 2003 AFC sack leader. CB Sam Madison is not a free agent but is due an $8 million salary next season. If he and the Dolphins cannot agree on a renegotiation, he would almost definitely be a cap casualty.
The Dolphins also need help at linebacker and safety.
KEY UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: FB-Obafemi Ayanbadejo, DE-Rob Burnett, CB- Terrell Buckley, S-Arturo Freeman, WR-Oronde Gadsden, LB-Tommy Hendricks, G- Jamie Nails, TE-Ed Perry, RB-Charlie Rogers, P-Matt Turk, OT-Todd Wade, S- Shawn Wooden, CB-Jimmy Wyrick.
KEY RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB-Marlon Greenwood, RB-Travis Minor, DE-Adewale Ogunleye, QB-Sage Rosenfels.