Going into the 2024 season, the Dolphins will have 29 pending free agents with concluded contracts. Mike McDaniel’s side had a disappointing 2023 season after suffering a wave of injuries that saw their key players out of the squad in important games.

As with any professional sport, building a team in the NFL isn’t a game of chance like roulette, where you just make a random selection; it’s a calculated strategy that requires choosing the best players for various key positions.

The general manager of the Miami Dolphins, Chris Grier, will be under pressure during this offseason as he looks to rebuild a stronger team this year. Drafting Dolphins can be tricky! It’s all about juggling the draft board, injuries, money, and who’s sticking around next year.

As the new NFL calendar begins on March 13 with free agency opening, here are five of the most important free agents to bolster the Dolphins’ offense, defense, and special teams.


Andrew Van Ginkel

Let’s start with a player with the most fantastic 2023 in the 17-game season. Van Ginkel recorded 69 tackles, 19 quarterback hits, a career-best six sacks, a career-best eight passes defensed, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

He was under pressure when Jaelan Philips suffered an injury, but he handled the situation quite well. He proved to be effective not only in the pass rush but also in stopping the run.

As the transfer window approaches fast in March, fans wonder whether Van Ginkel will stay or find a new destination. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, made it clear that the linebacker had no intentions of leaving.

However, negotiating terms on a new contract might require a raise of $2.65 million from his last contract. It’s no news that the Dolphins suffered massive injury blows that saw them exhibit dismal performance when injuries overwhelmed them.

Considering the potentially lengthy recoveries of linebackers Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Philips, Van Ginkel might be needed now more than ever.


Christian Wilkins

Wilkins is yet another player with a lot to bring to the table. He started in all 17 games and managed an impressive 65 tackles, 23 quarterback hits, and a career-high nine sacks.

His dominant defensive force and Zach Siler’s dynamic ability on the defense line propelled the Dolphins to rank third in the NFL with 56 sacks. Would we not all want to see the defensive duo on the pitch recording career highs again?

Grier will most certainly have a hard time choosing which players to maintain, as Wilkins will cost a lot of salary cap space. Fans, on the other hand, will not be happy seeing Wilkins wearing a different kit next season.

Connor Williams

The list continues with Connor Williams, the second-best center in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Williams was considered the MVP on the Dolphins offensive line, so he should be brought back.

He had a great season playing at center before suffering an unfortunate knee injury in week 14. His recovery period, which runs through March, may affect his free-agent market.

The absence of Williams in the lineup had a dramatic impact on the team’s offense as the average points by the team dropped to 22.9 from 34.2 when he was active.

The declining numbers show just how one player can be crucial in maintaining the team’s success in the offensive line.


Robert Hunt

One of the best offensive linemen for the Dolphins and the second-best free agent guard according to Pro Football Focus, Hunt was a force to reckon with on the team’s zone rushing attack last season.

Having built a name for himself, Hunt could be ready for a move elsewhere during the open transfer market. However, if he leaves, the Dolphins’ offensive side could be left in shambles. Seeing that injuries plague the Miami Dolphins, a highly durable player like Hunt could be a valuable asset for them.

Despite missing six games due to a hamstring injury, Hunt made the squad for the final regular season game. If the Dolphins pull off a deal that benefits him and the team, it would be a win-win for everyone.

DeShon Elliott

We close off our list with DeShon Elliott, who managed to play 15 games and record 82 tackles, seven passes defensed, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

Elliot was a tackling machine last season, racking up 82 takedowns and showing an even more impressive performance alongside another safety, Jevon Holland. He might have had some coverage hiccups, but the whole defense dealt with injuries all season.

With the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s departure, there’s a chance Elliott’s full potential may be reached under a different defensive scheme. The question remains whether Elliot will continue to see the new defensive coordinator next season.

While safeties such as Xavier McKinney and Antoine Winfield Jr are high on the priority list for Grier, resigning the second-best tackler on the team shouldn’t be so hard for Grier’s front office.