In what has long been a question that has been placed on the virtual back burner, the Dolphins have to decide who over their 20 free agents to bring back.
It's highly possible that the position of cornerback one year ago was the most crucial last season after the departure of Sean Smith in free agency and the pre-season trade sending Vontae Davis for picks. However, despite not being proactive early in the free agency process, corner back Brent Grimes landed in Miami prior to the draft. With no guarantees, Grimes came in and blew away the competition even after spending much of the 2012 campaign on IR with an achilles injury. Grimes came in with everything to prove and everything to gain.
Grimes excelled and showed he could be the the shutdown corner he was in Atlanta. As a Dolphin, Grimes' season finished with a Pro Bowl berth and a wide open possibility of commanding top dollar on the market.
However, the Dolphins, in the headlines for apparent dysfunction in the front-office lost Brent Grimes biggest cheerleader in Jeff Ireland after his firing. Since then, not much has been written about Grimes as a sure thing in Miami, until yesterday, when Grimes said so himself that he is confident Miami will bring him back.
The question is: will the Dolphins go another direction given a new GM in Dennis HIckey who has a penchant for drafting quality talent as he did in Tampa?
As for Paul Soliai, it's possible the Dolphins can bring him back at the right price that will satisfy Soliai. From what is known, the Dolphins worked out a cap friendly deal or hometown discount two seasons ago and Soliai outperformed his contract. Given the Dolphins current situation and change in management, it remains to be seen if they wish to get younger and quicker at the DL position and not address the need in free agency. With the NFL draft's derth of talent, it is possible that Paul Soliai might be looking elsewhere for a team such as the Steelers who currently feature a 3-4 defense, one that Paul Soliai came into as a nose tackle before the arrival of Kevin Coyle. Soliai for all intensive purposes has shown great skill and technique despite the change to a 4-3, but could be a key cog for a team like the Steelers who could bring in the veteran and Soliai could enjoy playing for a chance to be in the playoffs and Super Bowl, something that has happened only once, in 2009.
At the end of the day, both veterans bring something intangible, that most team's desire: leadership. With the Dolphins seeking more out of their veterans as leaders, bringing back players that can be team leaders such as Brent Grimes and Paul Soliai, might be the way to go to get the team back winning on and off the field.