Dolphins Begin Rebuilding Lines, Free Up Money For Free Agency

The work to remake the Dolphins defensive line has begun.

As expected, the team is releasing disappointing defensive end Mario Williams after just one season. The move will save Miami $8.5 million in cap space. A bit more surprising is the release of veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who was due to make $4 million in 2017 but only started five games last year after missing time with an calf injury suffered in the season opener.

Left tackle Branden Albert has also been released by the Dolphins, clearing the way for 2016 first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil to move over from guard. Albert, 32, anchored the Dolphins' line for three seasons when healthy but missed four games last year because of a wrist injury and illness. Albert was due to make $8.88 million this year but hasn't played all 16 games since 2011 with Kansas City.

The 2015 Pro Bowler mentored Tunsil, who was a three-year starter at left tackle at Mississippi and played mostly guard as an NFL rookie after he was taken 13th in the draft. Tunsil was touted as a potential top overall choice before a video was posted on his Twitter account showing him smoking from a gas mask connected to a bong.

The cuts give the team more than $50 million in available funds to spend when free agency opens for negotiations on March 7th before new contracts can be signed two days later.

Teams are also preparing for the NFL Draft, in which Miami is set to pick 22nd overall but does not currently have a third or fourth round selection.

(Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey)

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