In the last ten years, the Dolphins have seen two playoff berths with both of these resulting in first round exits. I am going to provide what I believe is a great offseason plan that will be the beginning of making the Dolphins a competitive team. I believe they are two seasons out from being a real playoff mix team, but if Chris Grier is reading this, bring me on to consult and let’s make Miami great again.
Miami had a good start to the offseason hiring recent Super Bowl Champion Brian Flores. This was the start of a domino effect of what I thought were some good hires. Flores brought with him over from New England wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea. O’Shea has done a great job making receivers who weren’t successful elsewhere productive. The argument could be made that he doesn’t have the experience for the promotion to offensive coordinator but they combatted that bringing in Jim Caldwell in an advisory role.
Before we get into my favourite part of the offseason (the draft), we need to take on free agency. With the cap for 2019 being set at 190 million, the team is heading into it with 23 million. Due to poor financial decisions in the previous offseason, they are burdened with 16 million dollars in dead money which is really hurting them since they have holes everywhere on their roster. Now they have the ability to create some more room by making cuts which will need to happen, but they need to be smart with their money.
It appears all unrestricted free agents will hit the market, they have tendered 4 restricted free agents, so I do not need to get into resigning. Saying this I would not let Ja’Wuan James walk, I believe he is one of the best right tackles in the NFL and will be a great addition to someone else’s offensive line.
If you aren’t into some number crunching skip this paragraph onto seeing who I believe the Dolphins should sign and draft. But first I need to show how they can create some cap room to become a better football team. All numbers are brought to you via Overthecap.com.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill
The Dolphins save themselves 13.2 million if they cut Tannehill. He has not been good and has battled injuries. This hope that he is going to develop into this franchise quarterback is not going to happen.
Pass Rusher Robert Quinn
Having six and a half sacks when your job is to get to the quarterback doesn’t cut it, and is why Robert Quinn needs to be cut saving the team another 12.9 million dollars.
Linebacker Kiko Alonso
Alonso is an absolute train wreck when asked to cover. There are better, cheaper options than him, let’s save the 4.7 million by cutting him.
Receiver Devante Parker
I really tried to rationalize keeping Parker because I really liked the former first-round pick coming out of Louisville, but 9 touchdowns in four seasons (1 last year) on a salary needy team just doesn’t add up, so the Dolphins save 9.4 million.
After adding 40.2 million dollars in cap space the Dolphins find themselves going into free agency with just north of 57 million dollars. We also need to consider a portion of this will be needed to be used for drafted players, a safe number we will use for rookie reserves is 10 million leaving the team with 53 million for free agency. Not going to be able to go on a crazy shopping spree but I think it is a manageable number to bring in some quality players.
Pass Rusher – Trey Flowers
Letting Cameron Wake walk and cutting Robert Quinn leaves only former first rounder Charles Harris left on the team. Harris hasn’t lived up to that selection and is one of the glaring needs on this team. Flowers was nothing short of phenomenal this season in Coach Flores system and should be the top target for this team. I’m giving him a 16 million a year contract to come from their division rival.
Quarterback – Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgwater hasn’t played football since the 2015 season as he had a gruesome injury in a Minnesota practice then was shipped to New Orleans to be Brees’ backup. I am not continuing Bridgewater out though! He isn’t an elite guy who is going to put a team on his back, but he is a manageable quarterback who with a good team around him can be a playoff quarterback and a guy who can run the offence I imagine O’Shea would like to run. In his two seasons as the Vikings, he brought them to the playoffs, threw for 6268 yards, 29 touchdowns and 23 interceptions at a 64.6% completion rate. I am not going to invest heavily into him but a 2 year 12 million dollar a season prove it deal would greatly benefit both parties.
Center – Matt Paradis
Kilgore was brutal for the Dolphins last year if the Phins could land Paradis to anchor the middle of their offensive line this would be a massive victory. Paradis has been one of the top centers in the NFL and wants to be paid like it making Denver move on from him. He would likely become one of the top paid centers at a 10 million a year salary.
Right Tackle – Ty Nsekhe
No doubt with James leaving there is a massive hole at right tackle Nsekhe turns 34 this season and could be a rental guy who comes cheap. Although they could kick Jesse Davis out to right tackle I don’t believe he is good enough. He had a good season for the Redskins and is a guy who isn’t getting much attention so the Phins could grab him on a 3.5 million a year contract.
After a free agency with two expensive signings that Dolphins fans can really get excited about and two stop-gap kind of guys, I spent 41.5 million of the possible 53. Hopefully, Bridgewater shows off he is the franchise guy and that 12 million price tag is a discount but I do believe this football team is already extremely better with the chance to only get better in the draft; where I believe there can be some more impact players to be found.
Pick 13: Clelin Ferrell – Edge – Clemson
In my pre-combine mock draft, I had the Dolphins selecting quarterback Drew Lock. I really like what Lock did in the combine and I think he still would be a great selection but I think the best utilization of the pick is to go pass rusher who can line up across Trey Flowers. With the additions of both of these guys, the Dolphins solidified their edge for years to come.
Pick 48: Michael Deiter – Guard – Wisconsin
I absolutely love this kid. He has all the tools to not only start day one but make an impact. With Sutton coming back healthy, adding Paradis at center and Deiter the Dolphins find themselves having a pretty solid interior offensive line.
Pick 78: Tre Lamar – Linebacker – Clemson
With the cut of Kiko Alonso, there is a need for a starting linebacker. Tre Lamar is an upgrade from what they had an excellent pick in the third round. Lamar is great against the run and decent in coverage. The Dolphins doubling up on Clemson kids in the first two days of the draft find themselves with two impact starters.
Pick 116: Mike Weber – Running Back – Ohio State
Weber may not be on the board come this pick after a great combine. Weber can do it all as a running back. O’Shea would have a nice combination of backs to work with between running backs on their roster (Drake and Ballage) and the addition of Weber.
Pick 151: Will Grier – Quarterback – West Virginia
Grier didn’t have a great combine so I think him falling to the fifth round isn’t unreasonable. He played in an easier offence, having just to make one read then make the throw so he needs to sit and learn NFL defences. I don’t dislike Grier at all, but sitting behind Bridgewater for a year or two could not only be extremely beneficial for him but the Dolphins organization.
Pick 188: Jonathan Ledbetter – Defensive Tackle – Georgia
He isn’t going to make a huge impact on most downs, but he is a guy Flores can bring in on third downs to get to the quarterback from the inside. It isn’t a strong position for this team and I think that Ledbetter can be a solid rotational guy.
Pick 234: Alijah Holder – Corner – Stanford
Holder is a bigger guy, who will likely make his presence felt on special teams; nonetheless, football needs to have all three aspects of the team solid to win games. Maybe he can develop into an outside guy.
With the moves, the Dolphins can compete in the East this upcoming season. The Patriots will be tough to overthrow and there is too much work to do in one off-season, but I believe we could be talking about this team battling for a wildcard spot down the stretch next year. This is just the start of making the Miami great again.
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