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Dolphins' Free Agent Class of 2013 will be remembered for its shortcomings

Dolphins' Free Agent Class of 2013 will be remembered for its shortcomings
(Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel)

DAVIE – You don't have to look beyond the Dolphins' 2013 free agency class to understand why the organization has adopted a "draft and develop" philosophy. Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes remains. But look at the other unrestricted free agents.

Wide receiver Mike Wallace. Gone.

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Wide receiver Brandon Gibson. Gone.

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. Gone.

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Linebacker Philip Wheeler. Gone.

Right tackle Tyson Clabo. Gone.

Tight end Dustin Keller. Gone.

Guard Lance Louis. Gone.

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Defensive tackle Vaughn Martin. Gone.

It wasn't the Dolphins' finest hour as far as unrestricted free agents.

Such examples are reasons why Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey recently said he'd like more draft picks this year than the six selections his team currently holds.

Well, that, and economics.

The Dolphins spent a lot of money on unrestricted free agents in 2013.

Even many of the Dolphins' own free agents, the guys they re-signed in 2013, are gone.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline. Defensive tackle Randy Starks. Safety Chris Clemons. Guard Nate Garner. Linebacker Austin Spitler. Quarterback Pat Devlin. Cornerback R.J. Stanford.

Drafting and developing young talent is much cheaper.

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The Dolphins' 2013 Free Agent Class left its mark largely by failing to deliver a playoff berth.

Wallace, Ellerbe, Wheeler and Keller were supposed to be difference makers. They weren't.

Clabo, Louis and Gibson were supposed to play key supporting roles. They didn't.

So now the Dolphins are re-structuring, breaking with the foundation they thought they established two years ago.

Free agent signees such as Grimes, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, left tackle Branden Albert, safety Louis Delmas and tight end Jordan Cameron will play key roles for this year's Dolphins.

But most of the base talent will be supplied by guys the Dolphins either drafted, or spent years developing – defensive ends Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon, center Mike Pouncey, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, running back Lamar Miller, linebackers Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins, safety Reshad Jones, to name a few.

The Dolphins tried it the other way.

And as the Free Agent Class of 2013 attests, it didn't work.

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