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Miami Dolphins

Extend Laremy Tunsil Before Xavien Howard

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Other than Kyler Murray‘s hand size, the biggest mystery concerning Miami Dolphins fans this offseason centers around what the team is going to do with its premier cornerback, Xavien Howard. The former 2nd-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is looking to be rewarded for his performance throughout his career.

Coming off of a Pro Bowl year, Howard was tied for the league lead in interceptions (while missing the final 4 games of the season) and further proved the end to his sophomore season wasn’t just a hot streak. Xavien Howard is a legitimate #1 cornerback, and he wants to be treated as such going forward.

So while our focus has been on Howard and the hope that he’s not the next elite, homegrown talent to leave South Florida because of our front office’s ineptitude, we might want to look at another player who was drafted the same year as Howard; and, like his draft story, seems to be an afterthought.

Laremy Tunsil has anchored the left side of Miami’s offensive line for the past three seasons and, barring a Jake Long-esque injury arc, should be manning the left side of that offensive line for the next 7-10 years. Every team searches for a left tackle they don’t have to worry about, and the Dolphins already have one.

While both players are still under contract for 2019, it would be unwise to, once again, avoid having the foresight to extend football players you drafted with conviction.

Laremy Tunsil was a public relations nightmare that evening, and the team traded up in the 2nd-round for Xavien Howard. There’s no way to deny that the Dolphins wanted these players…so why not follow-through with that conviction?

This isn’t to say that Xavien Howard shouldn’t be extended or that he isn’t a priority; quite the contrary. He’s a top player at an imperative position; you can’t just let these players walk away. But let’s not overlook another player the front office should be looking to extend this offseason. Not just out of “good faith”, but to dedicate a level of consistency going forward.

Needless to say, Chris Grier and company have a hard decision to make, and I’m certainly glad I’m not the one who has to make it. Take a look at why Laremy Tunsil should be the Dolphins #1 priority this offseason:

Extending Our Misery

If long-term contracts are any indication of the consistency you’re trying to develop, the Dolphins have proven why they’re consistently mediocre.

You should never let the past results of a previous general manager cloud your judgement going forward; however, Chris Grier was still here in the organization when all of these moves were made. Was his opinion just shunned or did he have a hand in dictating how this team was built?

With that said, we can’t let these results contaminate our desire to extend Laremy Tunsil or Xavien Howard.

Miami’s latest contract extensions are relatively minimal, such as Nick O’Leary receiving $1.5m (500k guaranteed) for 2019 and John Denney returning for another season as well, but taking a look at the ‘bigger’ extensions Miami has done recently, they’ve been something like:

  • Bobby McCain: 4-years, $27m ($13m guaranteed)
  • Kiko Alonso: 3-years, $29m ($18.5m)
  • Andre Branch: 3-years, $24m ($16.8m)
  • Cameron Wake: 2-years, $19m ($11m)
  • Reshad Jones: 5-years, $55m ($35m)
  • Mike Pouncey: 5-years, $52.1m ($22m)

There isn’t much here to brag about.

Not like you need to be reminded of such, but the following is a short list of players the Dolphins drafted but decided not to extend for whichever (terrible) reason: Jarvis Landry, Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews.

Do we want to go as far back as the 2000s and recall players like: Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Samson Satele or Ted Ginn Jr.?

No, Miami doesn’t extend these players, they just decide to give multiple contract extensions to Koa Misi and his broken neck.

The reason these players weren’t retained was because they became too extensive for Miami to justify. However, a little faith and foresight in their own player development could have kept most (if not all) of these players around for a longer period of time than their rookie contacts called for.

Laremy Tunsil and Xavien Howard need to buck this trend the Dolphins have been on. And if the team isn’t going to commit to their top talent, they need to strip each veteran bare and start anew.

Buying Your Foundation

This section of the article actually surprised me a bit; to the point that I had to completely change my thought process. What I originally had written (prior to crunching the numbers) centered around how an expensive contract for a “top” left tackle returns more value than an expensive contract for a “top” cornerback. And I have to admit, my perception didn’t match the reality of the NFL.

Left Tackles are essential for keeping your opponents’ best pass rushers at bay, and to keep your quarterback’s blindside upright. An entire offense can collapse with even an average left tackle. It’s why their values surge far beyond their skill – similar to every quarterback’s value around the league.

Take a look at the most expensive contracts for left tackles compared to cornerbacks:

The most-telling statistic to me is the Average Annual Contract for a top-16 player at each position. The top-16 LT contracts average $12.54m a year while the top-16 CB contracts average $12.42m a year. That differential is semantics, and has more to do with the timing of when the player signed the contract – they’re basically “worth” the same annually in terms of their contracts. Cornerbacks have the luxury of requiring more roster spots (since you need at least 3 on the field most of the time), so they have a slight advantage in terms of having more possibilities to receive the rich contract.

The advantage the Dolphins have is selling Tunsil on the fact that they can make the 4th and 5th years of his rookie contract much richer than they would be otherwise. They also have the most important chip at the bargaining table, and that’s the fact that they essentially have team control for 3+ years (accounting for the franchise tag).

If you take an average of the top-5 left tackles today, the amount Tunsil would make on the franchise tag would be: $16.44m

Now, this will obviously go up in two years as contracts get richer, but the following 5 players make up those top-5 salaries:

  • Nate Solder: $17m cap hit
  • Taylor Lewan: $16.7m
  • Andrew Whitworth: $16.7m
  • Russell Okung: $16m
  • Terron Armstead: $15.8m

It’s safe to say, given his age and upside, that most of us would rather have Laremy Tunsil than anyone else on this list.

At $16.44m, Tunsil would be 4th on this list and that would still be considered a bargain.

By locking up Tunsil before he enters Year 4, you might be raising 2 years of his contract (in what may be deemed an unnecessary raise), but you’re lowering the cap hit against your team in years 3-5 (let’s just say it’s a 5-year extension for all intents and purposes). You might be able to sell Tunsil on a deal that’s closer to Cordy Glenn (5-years, $60m – $38m guaranteed) than a deal that will easily surpass Taylor “Bodybag” Lewan‘s 5-year, $80m ($50m guaranteed) contract the closer Tunsil gets to free agency.

Deciding Tunsil Over Howard

Right now, Tunsil is set to cost ~$4m against the cap in 2019 – which is astronomically low for one of the best left tackles in the game. Xavien is an even better bargain at ~$2m. You could choose either player to extend first, and you wouldn’t really be wrong. Frankly, Miami should extend both of them and establish two of the most difficult positions to lock down.

But, if you have to choose one, you reward Laremy Tunsil, and here’s why:

A left tackle is essential for a team that’s looking to establish a franchise quarterback. It’s not just about the fact that you don’t have to worry about his position, it’s more about the fact that your quarterback won’t have to go through the same punishment Ryan Tannehill absorbed at the beginning of his career.

It’s debatable which player will “win you” more games than the other – both are necessary. But Miami isn’t looking to win games right now, they’re trying to create long-term success. Xavien Howard is going to be one of the top cornerbacks for the next 3-4 years, but how much winning is Miami going to do during that time? How many games do we actually want Xavien Howard to sway in our favor when we’re trying to ‘Tank for Tua’ in 2020?

Between the two, both would net a haul in a trade. Prime players that would be under their new team’s control? Of course they would both warrant a first-round pick! They’re probably more valuable than Josh Rosen is at this point, and people would have thought you were crazy to say that before last year’s draft.

In a situation where Xavien Howard’s best return for this team is a valuable draft pick, it’s hard to say he should be paid more than the player drafted one round ahead of him.

Would it suck to watch Howard lead the league in interceptions with his new team? You bet it will. But how much are we willing to risk on an expensive cornerback that has only played in 73.4% of the games he’s been eligible for? Or would you feel more at ease giving that money to someone who’s participated in 91.8% of the games he’s been eligible for?

If you’re under the impression that the Dolphins can become the next version of the Los Angeles Rams or Philadelphia Eagles and make/win the Super Bowl within a couple years of drafting a young quarterback, then you probably want both Tunsil and Howard to be around for awhile. Those teams had top talent surrounding their young quarterbacks, and while it’s a completely different debate whether or not Miami is 1-2 years away from being a serious playoff threat, if you want the team to retain their best players, you don’t let either of them follow Landry, Jay Ajayi, Vernon, or Miller out the door.

Your main reason for extending Howard first is the fact that his rookie contract ends one year earlier – in a literal sense, you have to make a decision on Howard earlier than you have to decide on Tunsil. That advantage Miami has with Tunsil in extension talks (3+ years of team control when you institute the franchise tag) is the reason Howard gets paid before Tunsil, but all other signs point to rewarding the best public relations move the Dolphins ever made prior to (or alongside) their best defensive playmaker of the past two years.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.



  1. Avatar


    March 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    ” Jay Ajayi, Vernon, or Miller”

    I didn’t have a problem with all of those 3 gong. Ajayi was causing problems and is injury prone. Vernon was way overpaid and still is (its why hes on trading block after just 3 seasons) and Millers been pedestrian.

    I hope we resign both, both can be building blocks for this team.

    Good read, ty

  2. Avatar


    March 1, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Sign both. Problem solved. Although I am completely opposed to bumping rookie contracts into rich contracts. Work a deal on the fourth year. If it fails you have the tender for Tunsil and tag for Howard.

  3. Avatar


    March 1, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Excellent points. I believe in both players. It’s hard to find a #1 CB. But it’s even harder to find a #1 LT. Tunsil is only getting better and Howard too.

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Miami Dolphins

The Levee Breaks in Jersey – Dolphins Giants Week 15 Recap

Travis Wingfield



Dolphins break record for most players used, blowout loss ensues

The entire Dolphins operation took a back seat to the A-block story of Eli Manning in his final start at MetLife Stadium. Although riddled with mistakes, Miami played a strong first half, but unraveled after the intermission. With a first half lead, the Dolphins were outscored 16-0 — and out-gained 187-19 — in the third quarter, with the Giants scoring the first 13 points of the fourth quarter as an encore.

Miami’s experimental season became tangibly explainable Sunday as the Dolphins gave its 80th-differnet player a snap. The previous record was 78 players in one single season. Miami’s roster is currently comprised of 23 undrafted free agents (43%, most in the NFL). The Dolphins made 74 roster moves since week one and have 17 players on injured reserve — both of those are second most in the NFL.

Stat Dolphins Giants
Total Yards 384 412
Rushing 122 138
Passing 262 274
3rd / 4th Down 4/16 (25%) 5/11 (45.5%)
Penalties 7 (42 yards) 4 (32 yards)
Sacks For 1 3
TOP 28:53 31:07



The things that made Miami a competitive team for the last two months were of the “takes no talent” variety. Dropped passes, penalties, turnovers, missed field goals, even the occasional miss from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins simply are not good enough to overcome the many errors committed in the blowout loss.

Despite the majority of Miami’s six dropped passes occurring in the first half, Fitzpatrick compiled the most Dolphin passing yards in a single half (234 yards) since Ryan Tannehill’s 2015 game against Houston. The Dolphins moved the chains 14 times (also a season high), combing Fitzpatrick’s arm and legs; he is now the team leader in rushing yards for the 2019 season with 219 yards.

It would be completely understandable for the Dolphins to go into the proverbial tank these last two games. The final home date with Cincinnati on-deck, followed by a season finale in Foxboro, 3-13 looks to be more than a possibility, but rather a probability.

More on how that could affect the Dolphins draft positioning in the recap segment at the bottom of the page. Let’s get to the individuals.


It looked like business for usual for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins offense early at the Meadowlands Sunday. He was ripping the Giants zone defense for chunk yardage, escaping pressure and moving the chains with his legs, but coming up short in the red zone for the second consecutive game.

Miami’s first two drives traveled 99 yards, but yielded no points. Fitzpatrick had two misses that cost Miami points. First, a back-shoulder fade to Devante Parker left too far inside led to a turnover-on-downs. Then, on a later 3rd down, Fitzpatrick underthrew Parker to allow the defensive back to break up the pass. Miami would punt, opposed a fresh set of downs from inside the Giants 35-yard-line.

The dagger occurred on a Fitzpatrick run that resulted in a lost fumble, though the officiating crew blew the call on the field and in replay. Miami dropped six passes — including a ball off the facemask in the end zone — so it’s difficult to put too much of the blame on the quarterback.

Running Backs

Patrick Laird has some moments, but the gaffes are a weekly occurrence. He dropped another pass, failed to win a one-on-one situation on a stretch run that resulted in a safety, and he gets beat in pass protection every game. His 18-yard run saved his average for a respectable 3.8 yards per rush on 12 carries.

Myles Gaskin had a similar, average-saving run. Gaskin popped a 27-yarder in garbage time to get to 43 yards on nine carries, but he too has his shortcomings in pass protection.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Devante Parker has been consistent as they come this season. In his first game off the new contract that is schedules to keep him in Miami through the 2023 season, Parker went for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including another win on a 50-50 ball (more apt to call them 70-30 balls with Parker in range).

Albert Wilson was involved in the plan to the tune of five receptions on eight targets for 59 yards. Wilson has the shifty quality in condensed spaces that will provide the Dolphins with two, highly-utilizable traits going forward: 1.) uncover quickly from the slot on two-way-goes, and 2.) key misdirection to open up space for the rest of the offense.

Wilson’s start-stop ability, along with his prowess as a ball carrier could be a valuable piece in Chad O’Shea’s offense next season. He’ll have to be, in order to justify his retention at $8 million. The upside, for Miami, the commitment doesn’t extend beyond 2020. The team can certainly afford to keep Wilson on the books for another year and a better look at the player two full years removed from the hip injury.

Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford were limited. Ford was the culprit of the facemask drop on a would-be touchdown in the second quarter, and Hurns only caught one pass. He was playing injured.

Mike Gesicki was involved early drawing matchups on the Giants safeties and linebackers. He had an opportunity on a takeoff against DeAndre Baker, but the pass was broken up. He caught four of eight for 47 yards. He continues to look more comfortable with each passing week.

Miami utilized plenty of offset 12-personnel formations (double tight ends inline to one side of the formation). Miami’s only semblance of a running game comes on stretch runs off this formation, and they do it in behind Clive Walford and Durham Smythe.

Walford was off to a sterling start, but two dropped passes quelled the strong showing. He and Smythe both hit a number of key blocks on Miami’s longer runs of the game.

Offensive Line

Miami shuffled the line throughout the day, and none of the combinations seemed to make improvements. Fitzpatrick was under siege, Miami failed to create any penetration on point-of-attack blocks, and another good scrambling day saved what otherwise could’ve been a shutout type of performance.

Michael Deiter’s issues are systemic at this point. He’s constantly off-balance, lacks conviction and confidence, and misses an assignment each time he’s out there. He looks good pulling and getting the second level, but that’s about where the praise stops.

Daniel Kilgore continues to demonstrate a lack of ability to do the things they want him to execute in this scheme. Reach blocks are an adventure, anchoring is a 50-50 proposition, and he rarely blows anybody off the ball.

Jesse Davis has quietly pieced together a better initial kick slide and pass set as a right tackle. He’s living up to his end of the bargain on those offset 12 runs to the right side.

Evan Brown, Shaq Calhoun and J’Marcus Webb were all difficult watches.

Defensive Line

Davon Godchaux has been the Devante Parker of the defense — consistently stable. Godchaux demonstrates his power with consistency, but he flashes big plays on a weekly basis with penetration. He made five more tackles Sunday, bringing his season total to 65.

Christian Wilkins is a poor man’s Godchaux in his rookie season. He too has the flash plays, but he’s not as consistent and can get moved a gap or two from time-to-time.

Taco Charlton was back after a healthy scratch a week ago. Taking Charles Harris’ spot, Taco made one tackle and saw a lot of runs go for big gains off his edge. The same was true on the other side against Avery Moss and the occasional outside ‘backer condensed inside to a six-technique.


Sam Eguavoen is piecing together a nice run. He came from the CFL as a standout in passing situations, and he’s been active doing just that. Falling into the hook zip and tipping footballs, applying pressure on the quarterback, and picking up a sack for the second straight week, Eguavoen is showcasing the goods to return as a sub package linebacker.

Jerome Baker had quite a day making plays. When he keys it and pulls the trigger, Baker is as disruptive as they come blowing up plays at the line-of-scrimmage. He used that speed to get into the hook zone for two plays on the ball, an interception and a PBU. He also made 12 tackles in the game.

Vince Biegel fell into the hook zone for a play of his own. Dropping in place of a blitzing Nik Needham, Biegel picked off the first pass of his career. He also continues to dent the edge and set up tackles as well as anyone on this defense.

Raekwon McMillan left the game with a hamstring injury. When he was out there, his impact was minimal. McMillan played all over the formation and tried to give Miami some help in more of a Sam ‘backer position.

Defensive Backs

It’s a mix mash of street free agents in the Miami secondary. For the fourth time this year, Miami signed a played on a Tuesday, then played him in the defensive backfield the following Sunday.

Nate Brooks was beaten up and down the field by fellow rookie Darius Slayton. Linden Stephens saw his first action as a Dolphins and made two tackles.

Eric Rowe made four tackles and continues to show his mettle in the box safety role. He’s definitely a fit going forward for that role.

Nik Needham had a day of peaks and valleys. He made an exceptional tackle on Saquon Barkley in space, but then came back and was juked badly by the former number-two overall pick. Needham got his hands on a ball that wound up going for a 51-yard touchdown. It was that kind of day for Needham and Miami.

Jomal Wiltz continues to show the competitiveness and tackling prowess that makes him a favorite to return as a sub package defensive back next season.


This game looked like a laugher early, in favor of the Dolphins. Despite three bad interceptions from Eli Manning, Miami continuously made errors that turned the game in favor of the home team.

Perhaps that result was best for Miami.

The Dolphins climb now to third in the 2020 NFL Draft. Miami leapfrogged Washington based on tie-breakers, as week 16 presents a pair of huge games in the race for better draft choices. Washington hosts the Giants while the Bengals visit Miami.

Winning one of the final two games would result in no worse than the fifth pick in the draft for the Fins, and Miami can climb all the way to second if the team finishes 3-13.

Whoever Miami deems as QB2 should be there for the taking. The Chase Young option will continue to compel the fan base, but his penchant for the up-field rush will likely make Miami pursue other avenues.

There’s a lot of time between now and the last weekend in April, including two more games. Brian Flores’ ability to get his team up for these final two could be telling.

Or maybe they won’t. It’s perfectly understandable if Miami are unable to mount a competitive fight in the final two weeks. The roster was depleted in every fashion imaginable (trades, cuts, injuries, player shutdowns), and even a good coaching staff has a breaking point.

The upshot for the 2019 season is that Miami secured a high draft pick and added a war chest of offseason resources. Perhaps best of all, the Dolphins now have surefire long-term fits that were largely unknowns just a few months prior.

Parker, Needham, Gesicki, Biegel, Rowe all emerged as surprise breakthrough players. Joining core parts like Godchaux, McMillan, Baker, and those returning from IR (Preston Williams, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, Jakeem Grant, Jonathan Ledbetter), reinforcements are on the way for the 2020 season.

This season has been brutal. We’re eight quarters away from its conclusion, and the real season beginning. The 2020 Miami Dolphins offseason.


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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Extend DeVante Parker

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One of the longest-tenured players on the team may very well be a Miami Dolphin for life.

According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Miami Dolphins have extended DeVante Parker through the 2023 season.

All of the details are still being flushed out, but the deal is a 4-year, $40m extension, with an $8m signing bonus (which is guaranteed).

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Parker will earn $4.5m guaranteed in 2020, and $7.7m guaranteed in 2021.

Parker signs this extension in the middle of a career year. His 55 catches are 1 shy of his career-high (56, 2016), his 882 receiving yards surpass his prior career-high by 138 yards (2016), and his 6 touchdowns are only 3 less than his career total coming into the 2019 season.

Whether it’s Chad O’Shea‘s offense, a shift in Quarterback mentality, or the receiver finally coming into his own, Parker has shown that he can be a #1 receiver in this offense. Though some fans may be hoping for DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham Jr. “elite”, the truth is, Parker isn’t that far behind.

His extension is in line with his production, and it’s fair to say that Parker’s potential still hasn’t been tapped. It’ll be interesting to see how much Parker builds off of his career-year, especially if the Dolphins can solidify their offensive line and give their receivers a chance to get open (more often).

Parker joins Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey as the only other 1st-round picks drafted this decade to have signed an extension with the team.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins roster move round-up: Week 15 sees several more changes

Shawn Digity



Miami Dolphins Linden Stephens
Linden Stephens defending Los Angeles Rams tight end Johnny Mundt

MIAMI (Locked On Dolphins) – Miami Dolphins continue to change up the roster

The Miami Dolphins have continued their roster churning in Week 15, leading up to their prizefight against the New York Giants on December 15.

While it’s been a mainstay strategy for the Dolphins this year, to comb over the waiver wire and the free agency market, there was a significant uptick in waiver wire awards last, totaling four new players being claimed.

Last week’s claimed players included Trevor Davis, Mack Hollins, Zach Zenner, and Zach Sieler. Zenner’s Miami stint was short-lived; he was waived on Tuesday, December 10 to make room for the newest wave of Dolphins signees.

Along with Zenner’s release, the Miami Dolphins added cornerbacks Ken Webster and Ryan Lewis to the Injured Reserve list.

Those three transactions allowed the Dolphins to scoop a player from the New England Patriots’ practice squad, defensive back Nate Brooks, a second player from the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad, linebacker Jamal Davis II, and a third player, offensive lineman Adam Pankey, who was waived by the Green Bay Packers.

Nate Brooks is a rookie defensive back that played at North Texas and has spent time with the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.

Jamal Davis II is also a rookie. He entered the league from Akron. As mentioned above, he spent time with the Titans earlier this year before the Miami Dolphins signed him.

Adam Pankey is the most traveled player the Dolphins have added. Pankey went undrafted in 2017 out of West Virginia and has had two runs with the Packers and a short one with the Titans.

On December 7, cornerback Linden Stephens was added to the roster in a last-minute shuffle before the Dolphins-Jets game. Cornerback Chris Lammons was released to make room for Stephens on the squad, per Adam Beasley.

Stephens has had tenures with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. He formerly played at Cincinnati in college.

In practice squad news, cornerback Rashard Causey was added to the group on December 12, per Safid Deen. Causey played college ball at UCF and has spent time with the Denver Broncos.

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