What makes the Dolphins' pursuit of Peyton Manning easier is a short list of their own free agents to negotiate with. It's expected that NT Paul Soliai, QB Chad Henne and DL Kendall Langford will all hit the open market, and there are no crucial players among Miami's unrestricted free agents. Without a whole lot to do in terms of keeping their own, the most important name looming among players the Dolphins need to re-sign could actually be a restricted free agent who missed all of 2011 because of injury — OT Lydon Murtha.
GM Jeff Ireland confirmed what we had heard at the end of the season, that the franchise likes Murtha and wants him to be a part of its future plans. "I think one of the big things we didn't have (in 2011) was Lydon Murtha," Ireland said at the Senior Bowl in January. "He ended he 2010 season really strong. I was looking forward to seeing what he would become."
Murtha figures to factor in the conversation on the right side of the line in training camp. UFA Marc Colombo is not expected back, and Vernon Carey, who is also set to be an unrestricted free agent, is another question mark. Drafting a tackle early is certainly a possibility for Miami, which is looking to provide a better bookend for Jake Long. Murtha started four games out of the eight he played in 2010. Depending on who else is brought in or re-signed, Murtha could compete for a starting job in camp, especially if he shows the flashes the club had previously seen.