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2019 Miami Dolphins Mock Offseason

Travis Wingfield

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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:

Offense

– 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)

Defense

– 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

Notes:

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.

@WingfieldNFL

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Richard

    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

    T-Bone

    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

    JOSE BELLON

    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

Local Residents Sue Miami Dolphins over F1 Race Track

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: MotorSportWeek.com

This may be the last thing on the mind of Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, but there seems to be a prominent legal battle taking place in South Florida.

A new Formula 1 race track was recently approved (by a 6-6 vote) to be “built” around Hard Rock Stadium, with races beginning in 2021.

While city officials press to approve the new track, local residents are up in arms about the potential race. F1 cars are notoriously loud, and as we mentioned above, these races aren’t contained within an arena or stadium.

City officials believe this will bring in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding area, as annual races are expected to be held around Hard Rock Stadium for the next 10 years. The local populous is arguing that these races are too loud for local streets, and will cause an enormous amount of disturbance and will be detrimental to the environment. Overall, this will cause a “serious degrade to their quality of life.”

Just so you can have a reference, F1 engines tend to run between 130-145 decibels. If you go to a concert and stand relatively close to an amplifier, you’re only dealing with about 100-110 decibels. The average lawn mower is about 90 decibels. Needless to say, these engines are LOUD.

Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 (F1) race tracks are essentially “created” using local roadways that are already in place. Though there is obviously a lot of preparation that goes into “creating” the course (to ensure the safety of racers and fans alike), no new venues need to be built.

With that said, the City of Miami Gardens and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are attempting to host the race solely on Hard Rock Stadium grounds. Given Ross’ ownership in the land surrounding Hard Rock Stadium, it’s possible this race doesn’t officially occur on any public roads.

To give some background, Stephen Ross attempted to buy F1 a couple of years ago, but the sale ended up going to another group. Though he didn’t win the bid, he reached an agreement with the new owners and is now one step closer to making the Miami Grand Prix a reality.

Tom Garfinkel, President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins, issued the following statement on behalf of the approved 6-6 decision:

This recent vote was the biggest hurdle potentially preventing the Miami Grand Prix from happening. Though the legal battles aren’t over, it seems unlikely that the decision to host F1 races will be reversed.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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