The 2021 offseason has begun for the Miami Dolphins, though it doesn't figure to feature quite as much roster shuffling.
The reason is simple: The Dolphins now have a roster that is much closer to being able to contend than they did at this time last year.
Among the first orders of business for Miami will be doing some self-scouting to evaluate its own players, particularly those set to become free agents once the new league year starts March 17.
The Dolphins currently have 13 players set to become unrestricted free agents and one set to become a restricted free agent, though they're allowed to re-sign any of them before that March 17 date.
Here's a look at those 14 players, with a quick evaluation on their standing on the team and the chances they'll be back in 2021 (players listed in order of 2020 salary):
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick — 39 years old, 2020 salary $5.5 million
Fitzpatrick has been really good in his two seasons with the Dolphins, regardless of those who keep insisting on pointing to his career arc and refuse to let go of some of his past struggles. As proof, Fitzpatrick finished the 2020 season with a 95.6 passer rating, the second-highest of his career. Even though he turned 38 in September, Fitzpatrick still can produce, though the odds of him staying in Miami don't appear very good. For one, he's said time and time again what keeps him going is competing and it's tough to see him being happy returning as the clear backup to Tua Tagovailoa instead of trying to find a team where he could compete for a starting job. Having him on the roster also might not make sense for the Dolphins given that he replaced Tua Tagovailoa twice this season and the coaches aren't going to want Tua looking over his shoulder.
RB Matt Breida — 26 years old, 2020 salary $3.3 million
When the Dolphins traded a fifth-round pick to get Breida from the 49ers, the expectation was that he could provide speed and big-play ability to the offense. It didn't play out that way, with Breida finding himself relegated to a background role. Maybe the strangest thing of all with Breida was him not getting one snap on offense the last two games after rushing for 86 yards against New England in Week 15. Given that situation, it's difficult to envision Breida being back in 2021.
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill — 27 years old, $3 million
Grugier-Hill played 15 games with one start after coming over from the Eagles last March and pretty much provided what was expected of him. He's more of a special teams player with the ability to chip in on defense when needed. It's easy to see him coming back if the financial terms make sense.
C Ted Karras — 28 years old, 2020 salary, $3 million
Like Grugier-Hill, Karras signed a one-year contract as a free agent last March. As the center on a very young offensive line, Karras provided experience and leadership. While his performance was solid, the Dolphins ranked 25th in the NFL in yards per carry up the middle and it's possible the Dolphins will be looking for an upgrade here.
P Matt Haack — 27 years old, 2020 salary, $2.1 million
Haack rejoined the Dolphins as a restricted free last year, but is contract is up again. Haack's gross average was in line with his career numbers (his four years have been between 44.5 and 45.0 yards), but the consistency wasn't always there and the Dolphins also gave up two punt returns for touchdowns. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Dolphins go another route here.
LB Vince Biegel — 28 years old, 2020 salary $2.1 million
Biegel never got the chance to build on his promising 2019 season because he tore an Achilles in August. Like Haack, he had rejoined the Dolphins as a restricted free agent last spring. Look for him to return and try to pick up where he left off before his injury.
LB Elandon Roberts — 27 years old, 2020 salary, $2 million
Yet another free agent who joined the Dolphins last March on a one-year deal, Roberts delivered some big plays in run defense, particularly in short-yardage situations. His free agent situation will be complicated by the significant knee injury he sustained in the next-to-last game at Las Vegas.
S Kavon Frazier — 28 years old, $1 million
Another free agent who came on a one-year deal, Frazier ended up being named a special teams captain. Somebody will have to answer for the two punt returns allowed, so maybe there's no guarantee he'll return.
RB DeAndre Washington — 28 years old, $1 million
Washington got 28 carries in three games after joining the Dolphins via trade and averaged only 3.1 yards per attempt. Maybe the Dolphins will want to see what the former fifth-round pick can provide being with the team from the start, but there's certainly no guarantee he'll be back.
WR Mack Hollins — 28 years old, $759K
Hollins has made his name on special teams and he was very good in that aspect for the Dolphins in 2020, which might be enough to earn a return despite some inconsistency catching the ball as a wide receiver.
WR Isaiah Ford — 25 years old, $825K
Ford has had quite the journey with the Dolphins since being a seventh-round pick in 2017, bouncing on and off the practice squad, going to and coming back from New England last year before ending on the active roster and having a forgettable season finale at Buffalo. Ford is a guy coaches like because of his preparation and work ethic, which would make it unsurprising if he returned — though he'll have to fight for a roster spot like always.
T Julien Davenport — 26 years old, $747K
One of the returns from the Laremy Tunsil trade, Davenport barely played in 2020 outside of short-yardage situations and one would think he'd want to explore options where he could get himself some playing time.
DT Davon Godchaux — 27 years old, $650K
This perhaps is the most intriguing situation involving a Dolphins unrestricted free agent. Godchaux had the misfortune of sustaining a pectoral injury four games into his contract year, which obviously didn't give him the chance to raise his market value. The Dolphins likely would welcome him back, though financial considerations will be at play here.
T Adam Pankey — 27 years old, $410K
Pankey is the one player scheduled to become a restricted free agent and considering he played 28 snaps the entire season, the best guess here is the Dolphins will not be tendering a qualifying offer.