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Miami Dolphins

2019 Miami Dolphins Mock Offseason

Travis Wingfield



Forecasting Miami’s Free Agency and Draft Classes for the 2019 Season

The new league year begins Wednesday, but we are merely hours away from the official legal tampering period. Under the guise of an oxymoron, the NFL doesn’t divulge the behind-the-scenes mischief of free agency. Discussions between agents and teams regarding the crop of players set to hit the market start way back in the fall, leading up to a primetime event as the league seizes the spotlight, yet again, in mid-March.

Retention of a coaching staff helps forecast the future of a given team. Under Adam Gase, predicting the Dolphins moves became easier each year. Now, with Brian Flores at the controls, pundits are left to connect their own dots.

Despite their best efforts, the Dolphins’ brass pulled back the curtain, ever-so-slightly, to give us an idea of the new direction. Under Flores, and first-time General Manager Chris Grier, we can gather that the Dolphins will seek the following traits in a player:

– High character
– High football acumen
– Prioritize football
– Team-oriented individuals
– Leadership and communication skills

Those are the buzz words provided to us by Flores and Grier during their otherwise mundane press availability appearances. We also ascertain the types of players Miami might prefer under the new tutelage. Based on previous roster decisions regarding individual position groups, coaching staff connections, draft visits, and the carefully crafted media responses, we assume the Dolphins will prioritize the following on-field traits:


– Athletic quarterback
– Capable backs in the passing game
– The reintroduction of a fullback in Miami
– Tight ends that can squeeze down in-line and block
– Offensive linemen that are athletic enough, but play with power (allows for scheme versatility)


– Heavy-handed defensive linemen with astute eye-discipline (two-gap players)
– Linebackers that can run, hit, blitz, and cover
– Cornerbacks that excel in change-of-direction (short-shuttle and 3-cone standouts)
– Match-up oriented and role-based safeties (cover the TE, play MOF SAF, etc.)

Limited by current cash considerations, the Dolphins need to clear the decks before any spending can occur. So, we start with player cuts (some already enacted).

Dolphins 2019 Cuts: ($5,900,000 available pre-cuts)

Position Player 2019 Cap Relief
QB Ryan Tannehill $13,188,332
WR Devante Parker $9,387,000
WR Danny Amendola $6,000,000
TE Nick O’Leary $900,000
LG Josh Sitton $5,000,000
OG Ted Larsen $1,524,998
DE Robert Quinn $12,932,332
DE Andre Branch $7,000,000
DT Akeem Spence $3,250,000
LB Kiko Alonso $4,772,500
SAF T.J. McDonald -$1,002,000

Total Cap Savings = $62,953,162
Estimated available cap space for 2019: ~$68.8 M 

Some serious house-cleaning had to be done. Mike Tannenbaum lived up to his reputation of burying the organization with contracts for veteran players priced way above the market. Miami could maintain the status quo by rolling these salaries forward and continue to kick the can down the road, and this will be looked out through a “tanking” lens, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Purging the roster of over-valued players isn’t taking, it’s smart business.

Dolphins Renewed Contracts:

Position Player Contract (Years/Total $)
RT Ja’Wuan James 4 years, $36 M ($9 M APY)
DE William Hayes 1 year, $4 M
DT Ziggy Hood 1 year, $1.5 M
RB Brandon Bolden 2 years, $3 M ($1.5 M APY)
ILB Mike Hull 1 year, $900 K
OC Jake Brendel 1 year, $650 K
WR Leonte Carroo 1 year, $700 K
WR Isaiah Ford 1 years, $600 K

Total 2019 Money Spent on Renewals: $18,850,000
Remaining Cap Allowance: $49,950,000

Future Ring of Honor inductee Cam Wake’s Dolphins’ career comes to an end with 98 sacks in aqua. Other notable names not renewed: LB Stephone Anthony, RB Frank Gore, TE MarQueis Gray, OT Sam Young, QB Brock Osweiler, QB David Fales.

This leaves significant holes at quarterback, interior offensive line, defensive line and cornerback. The safety position needs more bodies as well, as Miami will be playing exponentially more dime and quarter defense in 2019.

Free Agency:

SIGNED: DE Trey Flowers (Patriots)
Total: 5 years, $75,000,000
2019 hit: $15,000,000

The Dolphins entered the market with plans to avoid the big contract, but Brian Flores won the power-struggle and nabs his guy. Flowers is a unique exception to the big spending alarms during free agency. He’s already had success in this program and scheme, so Miami might view this as “keeping their own.”

Flowers slots in as a base five-technique with the flexibility to kick inside and play the three-technique, or slide outside and rush from the seven-technique; essentially, he can play any position on the defensive line. Expect Flowers’ 70% defensive workload from 2018 to increase closer to 80%.

This deal makes Flowers the sixth highest-paid defensive end in the NFL.

SIGNED: DT Mike Pennel (Jets)
Total: 2 years, $9,000,000
2019 hit: $4,500,000

At 330 pounds, Mike Pennell serves as the space eater in Patrick Graham’s defense. Pennell played with Graham in Green Bay from 2014-2016 and just finished a two-year stint with the Jets. Pennel is a productive player that fits the mold (heavy-handed, excels with his eye-discipline).

Pennel played 16 games in both of the last two seasons and functions as a two-gapping run-defending mountain.

This contract makes Pennel the 32nd highest paid interior defensive linemen in the NFL.

SIGNED: RG A.J. Cann (Jaguars)
Total: 3 years, $12,000,000
2019 hit: $4,000,000

Cann hit a valley in 2018 after an impressive 2017 campaign. Cann has the power Miami is looking for on the offensive line (drops his anchor, rarely allowing a bull rush), but bends and moves well enough to operate in space.

The Dolphins will value players of Cann’s makeup that allows the scheme to change from gap to zone on a week-by-week basis. Cann spend each of the last two seasons playing under Dolphins new Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty.

This contract makes Cann the 19th highest paid Right Guard in the NFL.

SIGNED: TE Dwayne Allen (Patriots)
Total: 2 years, $7,000,000
2019 Cap Hit: $3,000,000

The one signing already official, Allen serves as a beefed-up inline blocker to help institute Miami’s ground-and-pound attack. Fundamentally sound, capable in pass protection, and a force in the run game, Allen’s workload likely increases tenfold from his 32% snap percentage in 2018.

This contract makes Allen the 21st highest paid tight end in the NFL.

SIGNED: FB Anthony Sherman (Chiefs)
Total: 2 years, $4,000,000
2019 Cap Hit: $2,000,000

Miami will more than likely employ a fullback on the roster for the first time in several years. Anthony Sherman was recently cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was drafted by Dolphins New Assistant G.M. Marvin Allen.

This contract makes Sherman the 3rd highest paid fullback in the NFL.

SIGNED: QB Teddy Bridgewater (Saints)
Total: 2 years, $20,000,000
2019 Cap Hit: $10,000,000

There’s the shoe everyone was waiting to drop. After much delineation on the best approach for the position, Miami caves and finds its 2019 starter in free agency. Brian Flores talked about mobility and accuracy as traits he likes in a quarterback. Bridgewater isn’t going to win a lot of footraces, but he’s mobile enough to navigate crowded pockets and was a 65% passer his two years starting in Minnesota.

Bridgewater is a Miami native and has expressed his interest in coming home. That, plus the glaring vacancy at the position, attracts Teddy-Two-Gloves to try to resurrect his career in his hometown.

This contract makes Bridgewater the 22nd highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

Positions to look for low-level deals are linebacker, safety, cornerback, and on the interior offensive line.

Remaining Money: $11,400,000

The Draft:

Finding a dance partner for a trade-down is no easy task. The Raiders are flushed with draft picks and, after missing out on Kyler Murray, Jon Gruden goes to work building the offense around Derek Carr. So when all of the offensive line prospects slide to the Dolphins pick at 13, Gruden and Mike Mayock pounce.

Dolphins get: Pick 24, pick 35
Raiders get: Pick 13


Round (Pick) Position Player School
1 (24) SAF Jonathan Abram Mississippi State
2 (35) CB David Long Michigan
2 (48) OG Chris Lindstrom Boston College
3 (78) OC Lamont Gaillard Georgia
4 (116) QB Tyree Jackson Buffalo
5 (151) WR David Sills V West Virginia
6 (188) RB James Williams Washington State
7 (234) LB Blake Cashman Minnesota


Final 53-man Roster:

QB: Bridgewater, Ruddock, Jackson
RB: Drake, Ballage, Williams, Bolden
FB: Sherman
WR: Wilson, Stills, Grant, Butler, Sills, Ford
TE: Allen, Gesicki, Smythe
OT: Tunsil, James, Davis
iOL: Cann, Lindstrom, Kilgore, Gaillard, Brendel

DL: Flowers, Hayes, Taylor, Godchaux, Pennel, Woodard, Carradine, Hood
LB: McMillan, Baker, Allen, Hull, Harris, Cashman
CB: Howard, Long, McCain, Tankersley, McTyer, Armstrong, Davis
SAF: Fitzpatrick, Jones, Abram, Aikens


Jesse Davis serves as sixth man at every OL positions except center.
Charles Harris serves as a pseudo linebacker/outside rusher

There is still a lot of work to be done, but this roster keeps Miami competitive in the interim while not sacrificing the long-term future. The secondary is now equipped to run the defense Flores will deploy (the need for eight defensive backs each week). The offensive line looks much better on paper and there’s a small shot Bridgewater develops into “The Guy.”

Miami still likely isn’t a post-season contender until 2020, but this would set the team up for another strong offseason to make that dream a reality in one year’s time.




  1. Avatar


    March 10, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Fun read but there are a number of problems with your approach. Most notably, the roster you outlined would continue with the 6/10, 7/9 or 8/8 end of season type of record. Which effectively makes the 2 prime QB’s for 2020 out of reach (unless you mortgage future #1’s in order to get one). So it’s either Bridgewater turns into “the guy” or you’re back to where you were. Second problem is… in a draft that has the best D-line talent for the past 10 years and you do not even pick one? Seriously?? Then finally based upon prospect ratings it just seems to me you are taking “most” of them 1 to 2 rounds earlier than where they’re projected to go. Just my take which could be totally wrong. I agree with your traits/capabilities of what we will be looking for but I think there a number of different choices both in free agency & the draft that would better serve the long term vision. Just my two cents….

  2. Avatar

    Rich McQuillen

    March 11, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Ndamukong Suh – 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks in 2018.
    Akeem Spence – 42 tackles, 2 sacks in 2018.
    Mike Pennell – 27 tackles, 0 sacks in 2018.

    Spence was a big downgrade from Suh. It looks like Pennell is a further downgrade from Spence. NT is the qb of the defense, so I’m not fond of this choice.
    How about skipping Flowers and signing C Mitch Morse + RG Roger Saffold.
    The trade down is Round 1 is intriguing… but why draft a safety? Is this in preparation for the departure of Rashad Jones? I don’t like drafting safeties in Round 1. I think you can grab a bigger impact position there.

  3. Avatar


    March 11, 2019 at 4:25 am

    I agree with trading back but instead of getting Oakland’s 1st {#24} this year why not get their 1st next year {2020} while still acquiring #35 this year? Imo we need as much capital as possible for 2020 draft IF IF IF the plan is to get 1 of top QBs next year.

  4. Avatar

    Scott W Osborne

    March 11, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Interesting article Travis (you are a good writer- keep ’em coming) I think they will definitely draft a DL and I’m not sure they will be that active in free agency, but I love to consider your specific ideas.

  5. Avatar


    March 11, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Good Article agree with some of the FA but IMO I don’t think they will go for Bridgewater I think it will be Taylor also I rather keep Spencer than to Paid 4.5M to Pennell
    In the Draft I will go all the way for DE at least 2 a Safety in the 1st round doesn’t make much sense to me but Travis you are a good writer and I do like to read your articles
    Keep up the good Job

  6. Avatar

    Jeff Couch

    March 13, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    I like the overall breakdown. With that said and free agency in swing I wanted to put a draft from Thedraftnetwork that I did which I think is realistic and hits some great foundation spots.

    R1 – Ed oliver
    R2 – Chris Lindstrom
    R3 – Zach Allen
    R4 – Gerald Willis
    R5 – Isaiah Johnson
    R6 – James williams
    R7 – Easton Stick

    I think adding Oliver + Willis will help with penetration either on 4-3 end or 3-4 4Tech
    I like Allen as a rotation to the 4tech OR pass rush ROLB
    Lindstorm – self explanitory
    Johnson I really like as a Safety project or outside DB he has size length just needs some good coaching to I think become an eventual starter.
    LOVE Williams as a situational guy who can hopefully be a split carries starter with Ballage if drake leaves in a few years
    Stick – camp arm with potential to show hes ready for the next level

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Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins – A Tale of Two Franchises

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Football is a team sport.

Wins don’t individually define a quarterback’s success.

Yet everyone agrees that the only way to win in the NFL is to have a quarterback that is better than (just about) every other franchise in the sport.

Once you have an upper-echelon quarterback, then you can talk about the nuances of creating a team. Whether it’s surrounding that quarterback with the proper talent, ensuring you’ve built the right scheme around them, or complimenting them with a staunch defense to complete a championship run, developing an entire roster means nothing if you don’t have a quarterback that can lead you to the playoffs.

38 years ago, the Miami Dolphins selected a quarterback that would revolutionize the NFL.

A man decades before his time, the immediate success Dan Marino brought us – after 13 championship-caliber years with Bob Griese – shielded us from the horrors of football purgatory. Maybe it’s this curse of #13 that has us clamoring for football relevance after almost 50 years without a Super Bowl Championship.

We watched our franchise devolve from the model of perfection to a team without an identity; floundering desperately to find a viable quarterback for two decades.

And with one swift decision, the Dolphins simultaneously expunged their football idiocy of years past and exhibited the type of football prowess that should lead them to salvation.

Image Credit: South Florida Sun Sentinel

As we’re destroying the team for wasting 2nd & 5th-round picks on Josh Rosen, we’re praising them for building the foundation for future success. Gone are these false prophets of yesteryear, as the real prodigy we’ve all been yearning for is one step closer to leading the helm.

Once Tua Tagovailoa was selected 5th-overall in the 2020 NFL draft, Rosen’s exile was cemented. He was never going to have an opportunity to make it here, it was always going to be Tua Tagovailoa backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick. The grizzly, 13-year veteran handles the nuances of a young football team while the young, energetic and extremely talented rookie spends valuable time learning and developing.

That move…that single transaction…will forever symbolize the moment the Miami Dolphins transitioned from football purgatory to football relevance.

The Purgatory We Built

No one remembers the cost of a successful trade.

Off the top of your head, what did the New York Giants trade to swap Philip Rivers for Eli Manning? How much did Carson Wentz cost the Philadelphia Eagles when they traded up for him? I bet you all remember the litany of picks the Washington Football Team paid for Robert Griffin III, or how badly the Chicago Bears missed on Mitch Trubisky when they gave up a bunch of picks to move up from #3 to #2.

It’s because mistakes are always magnified for franchises that fail. As a fan base, we’ve been groomed to remember all the negative aspects of our favorite football team, because that’s all we’ve known for the better half of our adult lives.

After trudging through this wasteland for so long, we are finally ready to move past all of the detrimental mistakes that have cost us 20+ years of our lives – including the Josh Rosen trade.

Sure, you have your classics like failing to draft (and then sign) Drew Brees, drafting Ronnie Brown over Aaron Rodgers with the 2nd-overall pick, drafting Jake Long over Matt Ryan with the 1st-overall pick, and trading a 2nd-round pick for A.J. Feeley.

It’s not that the Dolphins haven’t tried, it’s just that they have failed almost mightily when doing so.

I respect that Miami was aggressive in their pursuit of Josh Rosen – or for any of the other quarterbacks they’ve attempted to put under center – but their aggression was either misguided, ill-informed, or even desperate at best.

A year prior to Rosen’s draft-day trade, another draft-day trade was occurring – one that would transcend the Baltimore Ravens organization for the prolonged future. With the 32nd pick in the draft, the Ravens selected Lamar Jackson – a quarterback some Dolphins fans wanted with the team’s 11th-overall pick.

To move back into the first round and secure a quarterback with the 5th-year option, all Baltimore had to give up was an additional 2nd-round pick (see the full trade at the end of the article).

With their draft-day trade, the Baltimore Ravens landed an MVP.
With their draft-day trade, the Miami Dolphins landed a quarterback that was released for nothing.

Again, I don’t fault the Dolphins for being aggressive, but their pursuit was often awry.

The frustrating part of all of this may be that this team actually “spent” both in assets and money, they just didn’t seem to take that extra step at the right time.

Spending 2nd-round picks was fine 3 years in a row (with Chad Henne, John Beck and Pat White), but spending 2nd-round picks then became “too much” when they could have moved up in the 2017 draft to select Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson – instead, they stayed put at #22 and drafted Charles Harris.

Think about it, Miami’s best quarterbacks since Dan Marino were:

  • Castaway by the New York Jets (and subsequently got his shoulder destroyed like everyone predicted)
  • (Allegedly) Forced upon us by Stephen Ross because he knew what a new quarterback would inject into a flat-lining brand (ie: making $$)

Between Chad Pennington and Ryan Tannehill there is 1 playoff appearance and 0 playoff wins.

There are definitive reasons why the Dolphins are executing a rebuild in 2019-2020 – after attempting to rebuild numerous times already this century – and you can say that lots of it has to do with the Head Coaches that have been in place.

Watching Ryan Tannehill lead the Tennessee Titans to the AFC Championship came was the most-conflicted I’ve felt in a long time as a Dolphins fan. I was thrilled he was able to prove himself, but frustrated that my team was once again watching from the couch.

Heck, for all the praise we give Brian Flores, he couldn’t get Minkah Fitzpatrick to buy into his system – ultimately losing a near-Defensive MVP player to an organization that has been breathing success since the Dolphins’ perfect 1972 season.

Miami hasn’t lacked talent – it’s why they’re constantly hovering around 8-8. The problem is, they lack the most important piece on the football field combined with the right leader to mold them. Which explains why they constantly sit around 8-8.

The Future We Created

But thoughts of perpetual 8-8 seasons are a thing of the past. The Dolphins may have drafted their future franchise quarterback back in April, but they officially rolled out their #1 prize just a few days ago. Coincidentally, just 3 days after Rosen was released.

The timing is likely coincidental, but who says omens have to be a bad thing?

This Dolphins team is young (thanks to Chris Grier), determined (courtesy of Brian Flores’ mindset), talented (after accumulating so many draft picks) and they’re wise beyond their years.

With a bounty of draft picks at their disposal once again in 2021, and with a franchise quarterback seemingly set to take over by season’s end, the future for the Miami Dolphins looks EXTREMELY bright.

After most “experts” predicted the Dolphins would go nearly winless – some even calling for criminal investigations to be conducted – Flores showed off his leadership and led Miami to a 5-11 record.

If the worst roster in the NFL can win 5 games, what can an improved roster accomplish?

Last year, there were too many holes on the roster to count. Now, you’re desperate to find a missing piece. In 12 months, we’ve gone from cringe-worthy to dynasty-bound in some expert’s eyes.

So have the Dolphins finally returned to football relevance?

If this team really identified the right Head Coach, and if Tua’s hip can stay healthy, then there’s no reason why the Miami Dolphins aren’t about to embark on a successful crusade that takes the rest of the NFL by storm.

Earlier this year, we lost one of the greatest leaders to ever bless our organization. In honor of the all-time wins leader, the Miami Dolphins will wear a patch signifying Don Shula’s record-setting 347 career wins.

And who knows, maybe this renaissance is Shula’s last gift to an organization – and a community – that he spent his life already giving so much to. The symbolism would be all-too coincidental otherwise.

The Baltimore Ravens/Lamar Jackson Trade:

Yes, I understand every other team passed on Jackson. I also understand the Ravens passed on him once when they selected Hayden Hurst with the 25th-overall pick that year, but Baltimore has built a championship-caliber organization over the past two decades, while the Dolphins have accomplished one playoff win – I think they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt here.

The Lamar Jackson trade can be broken down like this:

  • Baltimore traded pick 52 (2nd-round) to move up to 32nd-overall (1st)
  • Baltimore also sent Philadelphia pick 125 in the deal, but they received pick 132 in return – a downgrade of 7 spots in the 4th-round.
  • Otherwise, all Baltimore spent was a 2nd-round pick in 2019 (which ended up being pick #53).

Full trade:

Eagles Receive Picks: 52 (2nd), 125 (4th) and pick 53 (2nd) in the 2019 draft
Ravens Receive Picks: 32 (1st) and 132 (4th)

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Miami Dolphins

There’s A Fine Line Between Being A Genius & Being Dumb in the NFL

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Think Brian Flores & Chris Grier aren’t smart?

After successfully navigating through all of the pre-draft smokescreens better than teenagers can survive the high school rumor mill, the Miami Dolphins are in a position to flourish for the next decade.

Yes, it’s something we’ve said before almost annually, but this time, there’s a clear foundation that will allow the roots of this franchise to prosper.

We’ve Heard This Before

Tony Sparano blossomed under the Bill Parcells‘ coaching tree in Dallas, bringing with him an aura of prominence and a pedigree for smash mouth football.

After a miraculous 10-game turnaround that took Miami from #1 overall in the draft to division winners, fans felt they had the proper leadership in place.

That was soon debunked when the Dolphins followed an 11-5 (2008) season with 7-9 (2009), 7-9 (2010) and 6-10 (2011). It’s not that any of us feel that Sparano was a bad coach, but it was more-than-evident that he was handicapped at the quarterback position.

The Dolphins go 11-5 in 2008 because their quarterback was the runner-up in the MVP race, and they falter to 7-9 after that because they decided to build around Chad Henne.

Good coach, but poor coaching decisions.

From there, the Dolphins hired one of the best human beings on the planet – Joe Philbin. The notorious problem with Philbin was: he couldn’t lead a football team.

Failing to rein in Vontae Davis‘ hangovers, everything regarding Richie Incognito, the Chad Ochocinco saga (check out this damning ESPN article from 2012, which gives you a glimpse into how the player’s felt about Philbin early on), and all of the Mike Wallace drama. Those football teams had some decent talent, yet were never better than a mediocre 8-8 in Philbin’s 4 years.

Great person, but terrible with people.

Adam Gase then took a 1-4 season and made the playoffs at 10-6. All the optimism surrounding Ryan Tannehill seemed justified, and we were ecstatic for the future. But we came to learn that Gase’s coaching talents resembled more of a glorified offensive coordinator, which left players feelings ostracized and without a sense of direction – especially those on defense.

Like Philbin, Gase wanted a group of players that followed him, rather than developing a strategy that tailored to his players’ strengths. He traded away (or failed to re-sign) productive players drafted by Grier in years past, just because he couldn’t handle them.

After a 10-6 start to his coaching career (2016), we watched our hopes dwindle to 6-10 (2017) – accompanied with $10m worth of embarrassing Jay Cutler highlights – and then 7-9 (2018) after the “quarterback guru” couldn’t get any production out of a 2019 Pro Bowl & AFC Championship quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

Offensive visionary, but he couldn’t see past his own shortcomings.

So Why is This Different?

This would be the definition of insanity….if it meant that we were following the same trend.

Yes, we understand the eternal caveat that we won’t know for sure until we see the results, but after a successful 2019 – and a stellar 2020 draft that features plenty of starting potential – we’re not going too far out on a limb to say that they have our trust.

Going into a vital 2020 NFL draft where the team held 3 first-round picks, the Miami Dolphins’ future rested solely on the leis of Tua Tagovailoa. For months we were on edge, because, as Dolphins fans, we just figured they would screw it up. But once they secured their quarterback of the future, the plan was simple: protect him.

Not only was the plan to build a wall in front of him, but Grier and Flores identified that some of these positions take more time to develop than others. Rarely do offensive and defensive linemen jump right in and become dominant players. The difference between pancaking teenagers in college to moving a mountain-of-a-man in the NFL is colossal.

Rookies go through such a strenuous process to improve their draft stock – immediately after completing a full college season – that they are burned out by the time their rookie year is over. That’s exactly what happened to Michael Deiter towards the end of last season; it’s no surprise we see their performance start to slide after putting in so much work throughout the year.

Drafting Austin Jackson (18th-overall pick), Robert Hunt (39th), and Solomon Kindley (111th) means Miami is giving their rookies time to grow before being asked to protect their most-important asset since Dan Marino.

Instead of a trying to learn the nuances of the NFL with a rookie quarterback, they can learn how an offensive play is properly setup, executed and audibled under a veteran, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

When it comes time to protect Tua Tagovailoa in 2021, they won’t have to worry if they understood the protection, if they’ll make a rookie mistake, or if they’ll naively and unintentionally do something embarrassing or costly. They’ll be able to focus on executing the play properly, giving Tua an ample amount of time to handle his own “rookie” adjustments.

With Raekwon Davis, the Dolphins acquire another player at a position that tends to need some time to grow. This move makes me wonder what the future holds for Davon Godchaux, who is expected to receive a very nice payday in free agency after this season, but for now, Miami can rely heavily on Godchaux and their 2019 1st-round pick, Christian Wilkins. Davis has the opportunity to learn under these two as he prepares to take on a much bigger role in 2021.

With their final 1st-round pick, Miami selected another young player at a cornerstone position. The adjustments rookie cornerbacks need to make when guarding an NFL receiver are somewhat substantial, and Noah Igbinoghene will be able to learn and make these adjustments while covering the opponent’s third or forth receiver – with the added security that he has an array of established and Pro Bowl veterans behind him.

This might hint at an ugly and somewhat inconsistent 2020 season, as roughly half of this roster is new to the team, but all of these young players will start to excel as Tua begins to transition into our full-time starting quarterback.

Which means the Miami Dolphins are ready to make a legitimate playoff run in 2021.

Is it possible all of these risks falter? Of course! Austin Jackson just turned 21 years old, and he wasn’t viewed as the best left tackle in college last season – he is a projection. Noah Igbinoghene wasn’t viewed as a 1st-round caliber cornerback, as most “experts” think he’s restricted to covering the slot rather than becoming a boundary corner. And then you have the general, inevitable fact that some of these picks just won’t pan out.

But we watched players like Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, Raekwon McMillan, Vince Biegel and Nik Needham take the “next step” under Brian Flores stewardship. It only makes us wonder who he’ll coach up next.

Now that Flores is more-comfortable as a sophomore coach, and the team understands his “win no matter what” philosophy, Miami should naturally thrive in year two….right?

Like all of these other coaches before him, Flores is an absolute genius after year one. And like all those coaches before him, he’s one season away from looking like a dunce.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Waive TE Michael Roberts

Chris Kowalewski



As the doors of the Dolphins’ training facility open to the newly signed rookie class, they close for another former Miami-hopeful after an active weekend of roster moves.

The Miami Dolphins have today waived TE Michael Roberts.

Roberts began his NFL career in 2017 out of Toledo as a 4th round pick of the Detroit Lions, possessing ideal measurements (6’5”, 265lb) for a playmaking TE.

A shoulder injury in December 2018 cut short Roberts’ time in Detroit and he was waived by the Lions following a failed physical as part of an attempted trade with the New England Patriots and subsequently waived quickly again after being picked up by the Green Bay Packers.

Roberts underwent reconstruction of the injured left shoulder in August 2019, having struggled both physically and mentally as his career path veered away from his dreams. Signed by the Dolphins in February 2020, it was hoped that Roberts could revive his NFL career in Miami’s TE room, competing with Durham Smythe for the TE2 spot behind Mike Gesicki.

At only 26 years old, it remains to be seen whether the young TE will be able to regain full health and return to the game, but the craziness of 2020 only puts further hurdles in his path as training camp rosters are reduced across the league to 80 players in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don’t expect Brian Flores and his staff to sit on their hands when it comes to competition – 2019 highlighted on a regularly churning roster of names being given a chance to succeed – and this approach is expected to continue at certain positions. As such, Saturday’s news that former Chicago Bears’ TE Adam Shaheen had been acquired by the Dolphins ensures that healthy competition can continue to spread through the roster, and proves the willingness of the front office to give chances to promising players who may not have achieved during their first NFL stop.

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