Should Dolphins pursue James Laurinaitis and Chris Long?

The Miami Dolphins have a major need at linebacker. They also might have a significant hole to fill at defensive end, depending on what happens this offseason with 2015 sack leader Olivier Vernon.

Should Miami consider signing new free agents James Laurinaitis and Chris Long as potential replacements? Both players were released by the Rams on Friday to create salary cap space.

Of the two players, Laurinaitis makes the most sense for the Dolphins. He's 29 and still a productive linebacker. Laurinaitis posted 109 tackles, one sack and one interception for the Rams last season.

Miami was 28th against the run last year, and middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, a pending free agent, struggled. Laurinaitis would be an upgrade if he can be added at the right price.

Long is more of a risky play, especially for a team like the Dolphins who must be careful this year with their cap space. Long has just four sacks in the past two seasons, and any team going after him will hope the former first-round draft pick can recapture some of his old magic.

But Vernon will not be easy for the Dolphins to retain, and the team may need a fallback option. Vernon could command a contract in the range of $9-$10 million per year if he hits the open market. That may be too rich for the Dolphins.

Miami also could use the one-year franchise tag that will cost them $15.5 million for 2016. Long, who will be 31 next month, might be an older but cheaper option if the Dolphins choose to move in another direction.