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Dolphins' best bargains: Olivier Vernon

The Miami Dolphins have graduated to the next phase of their 2014 season. The offseason is officially complete and it’s time to get ready for training camp.

But before Miami opens camp, ESPN.com’s Dolphins blog takes a look this week at the team’s best bargains on the roster. This is determined by a combination of factors, including last year’s production, potential production and overall salary.

First up is Miami’s starting defensive end.

Bargain player: DE Olivier Vernon

2013 stats: 57 tackles, 11.5 sacks

2014 salary: $600,000

Analysis: A strong case be made that Vernon is not only one of the top bargains on the Dolphins, but in the entire NFL. Former Miami general manager Jeff Ireland has been justly criticized for a lot of things during his tenure with the Dolphins. But one of Ireland’s best strengths was finding quality players in the middle rounds. Vernon was a 2012 third-round pick who blossomed in his second season. He caught the Dolphins’ coaching staff by surprise when he led the team with 11.5 sacks. Just a few months prior, the team drafted No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan to take the spot Vernon had. Vernon had another good offseason and is firmly entrenched in the starting job for the second year in a row. If Vernon has another solid season for the second straight year, he may prove to be one of the team’s franchise building blocks.