- Jul 10, 2005
- Reaction score
8. Miami Dolphins
What went right: The first item on the offseason agenda was getting Tua Tagovailoa some help. Enter Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle, with the former signing a one-year deal worth $10.6 million. The Dolphins suddenly went from having a bottom-five receiving corps to one of the best groups in football on paper, although Fuller will be out for the first game of the season as he finishes up his PED suspension. Miami also added valuable depth behind Tagovailoa by signing Jacoby Brissett to a one-year pact.
The Dolphins continued to reap the benefits of the Laremy Tunsil trade by trading down from the No. 3 overall pick while nabbing three first-rounders from the 49ers, who used the pick to select quarterback Trey Lance. Miami then traded away one of those picks to move back up from No. 12 to No. 6 in a deal with the Eagles, but the net gain is still impressive. By moving from No. 3 to No. 6, the Dolphins wouldn't have their pick of the receivers in this year's class, but we overestimate our ability to judge between players at the same tier. Ja'Marr Chase might end up as a better prospect than Waddle, but I wouldn't be willing to bet a first-round pick on it. The Dolphins ended up with a superstar prospect at receiver and a future first-rounder, and as we saw from the Tunsil trade, nobody knows where those picks may land.
What went wrong: After going on a spending spree last offseason, the Dolphins basically erased most of their moves. They traded away Shaq Lawson and Ereck Flowers and cut Kyle Van Noy. I suppose you can say the moves amounted to sunk costs at this point, but they didn't really make any major investments in free agency to replace those guys, either. Benardrick McKinney came over from the Texans as part of the Lawson trade, and he'll help replace Van Noy, but Miami didn't appear to spend wisely last offseason.
Is it a make-or-break year for Tua in Miami?Chris Canty explains how Tua Tagovailoa can improve in his second year as the Dolphins' QB.
I wasn't a fan of the Flowers move when it happened, and I can't fault the Dolphins for moving on, but I also don't know if they did enough to address the offensive line this offseason. They signed depth pieces such as D.J. Fluker and Matt Skura, the latter of whom was benched by the Ravens last season after struggling to snap the ball to Lamar Jackson. General manager Chris Grier used a second-round pick on Notre Dame lineman Liam Eichenberg, but there's a chance that the team didn't add a single above-average starter up front this offseason.
What they could have done differently: Could the Dolphins have held onto that extra first-round pick from the 49ers? It cost the Eagles only a third-round pick to move up from No. 12 to No. 10 and draft DeVonta Smith. Waddle might end up as a better player than Smith, but holding onto that extra first-rounder could have been really valuable if the Dolphins end up souring on Tagovailoa or want to add a young star via trade.
Of course, they also could have held onto that pick at No. 3 and drafted Lance. I don't think what we saw from Tagovailoa in 2020 was disqualifying -- and it would be ridiculous to give up on the former Alabama star after a half-season as the starter -- but the best way to come away with a franchise quarterback may be to draft a couple of them in the top five and see who wins in a competition. I think Tagovailoa is going to be a good NFL quarterback, but if Lance turns out to be a superstar in San Francisco, trading down could come to haunt this franchise.
What's left to do: Add another offensive lineman. Nick Easton, Larry Warford and Trai Turner are all still available in free agency. The Dolphins should be adding pieces to the puzzle up front; if Eichenberg can beat someone like Turner out for a starting job at guard, that's great. They are young up front, but we didn't see enough from their starters a year ago for anyone to be locked into a starting role.
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