Free Agency Philosophy Comes Into Focus

PHOENIX — The Dolphins clearly like the nucleus of players they’ve assembled, which is why the early part of the offseason was more about re-signings or contract extensions than landing big-ticket free agents from other teams.

It’s the approach the Dolphins said before the start of free agency they were planning on taking, and they followed through on it.

“Philosophically, organizationally, that’s something we feel really convicted about,” Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum said from the NFL owners meetings. “You go back a little over a year with Mike Pouncey and the quarterback (Ryan Tannehill), then obviously Cam Wake and Reshad Jones and Kiko Alonso, that was really important to us. We want to do that and then be opportunistic.”

Since the end of the last season, the Dolphins have re-signed Kenny Stills, Andre Branch, John Denney and Jermon Bushrod, while giving contract extensions to Wake, Jones and Alonso.

The philosophy involves a combination of rewarding players for their hard — and productive — work while also keeping proven commodities.

“No question,” Tannenbaum said. “Just going back to last year, and (Head Coach Adam Gase) has talked a lot about this, we asked a lot out of our guys and we had some success last year. This year we’re starting 0-0. We have a long way to go, but there were a lot of guys that played well that were drafted here, got coached here, got better here and we wanted to reward those guys and take care of them first.”

The bottom line for the Dolphins is trying to build on the strides that were made last season, as opposed to looking for a quick strike.

“You could see how the team is developed,” Owner Stephen Ross said. “The chemistry of the team is totally different. The organization is totally different. You look and see where you are. I think people really feel we are making a lot of progress. We’ve had a lot of conversations of, how do we continue that progress? And this is the path we’ve picked.”