Three ways Dolphins can woo free agents

MIAMI -- The free agency period is nearly upon us, and the Miami Dolphins are projected to be significant players in the open market for the second year in a row.

The fun begins on March 11 and with approximately $37 million available to spend in 2014, Miami has an opportunity to go after several top targets to plug holes on its roster.

But what is Miami’s sales pitch? This is a team that is coming off a high-profile bullying scandal and a late-season collapse. Head coach Joe Philbin is also on the hot seat.

The Dolphins must keep the focus off the negatives when chasing free agents next week. Here are the most important things Miami has going for itself:

  • Money: It’s no secret that money is the No. 1 priority for free agents. Players want to get paid, and the Dolphins have plenty of money to throw around. Miami is in the top five in cap room this offseason. Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Dolphins in position to spend for the second consecutive year. Miami has well-defined needs and should go for top-level offensive linemen. The Dolphins will show free agents the money, which will definitely get some players’ attention.

  • Location: Top-level free agents can make millions in several NFL cities next season. Why not be young and rich in Miami, one of the most glamorous cities in the United States? The Dolphins have a built-in advantage in South Florida. It’s a vibrant city with ideal year-round weather. If the money is equal, the city of Miami is a good tiebreaker to have for free agents and their families.

  • Dolphins were .500 in 2013: Despite all the controversy and dysfunction the past several months, the Dolphins were actually one victory away from making the playoffs last season. Miami needed to beat the Buffalo Bills or New York Jets in the final two weeks and didn’t get the job done. New Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey and Philbin can pitch to free agents that the team isn’t far away, and that signing a certain player could be a difference-maker.

Remember to follow ESPN.com’s Dolphins page throughout March for all your free-agency news.