Connect with us

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2020 Cap Situation

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Money must grow on palm trees, because the Miami Dolphins are set to own the league in 2020.

According to Brian Flores and Chris Grier, “tanking” isn’t occurring, but if you believe the Miami Dolphins are exclusively planning for 2019, you’re falling for the trap the front office wants you to believe.

How gullible do they expect us to be?

If the 2020 quarterback class (mixed with the sub-par 2019 QB class) wasn’t enough enticing evidence that the Dolphins were planning to obtain their franchise quarterback at the turn of the decade, the trades of Ryan Tannehill and Robert Quinn for 2020 draft picks, as well as allowing Ja’Wuan James to sign with the Denver Broncos for a 2020 compensatory pick, further teases us with Miami’s plan.

A roster that needed to be expunged of expensive contracts, paired with an ever-increasing 2020 draft capital, tied together with a group of quarterbacks that rivals the 2004 draft class (that yielded Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger), and you have all the makings for a team that has formulated a plan directed at 2020.

Now, for the final piece of the puzzle. I present to you, Dawn Aponte‘s dream come true, a football team with minimal contractual obligations and a boat load of money to play with (or was that Mike Tannenbaum‘s dream…?):

Current Roster Situation:

Since 2014, the salary cap in the NFL has grown between $10m-$12m per year. With the salary cap currently sitting at $188.2m for 2019, let’s go ahead and assume that the cap increases another $12m and gives us a pretty $200m to work with for 2020.

At this very moment, the Miami Dolphins have ~$100m tied to the 2020 salary cap – giving us another $100m in cap space.

Their 5-biggest cap hits in 2020? Might not be on the 2019 roster let alone the 2020 squad:

If the Miami Dolphins are able to get anything for Reshad Jones before the beginning of the 2020 season, Chris Grier can consider himself Gandalf’s most formidable opponent, because that would be some kind of magic.

But frankly, even with Jones’ contract on the books for 2020, let’s look at how much more money Miami can remove from their cap:

  • Albert Wilson may be Miami’s 2018 offensive MVP (behind Frank Gore), but his season-ending hip injury raises enough cause for concern. While I expect Wilson to return to Miami in 2019 and perform, I’m not sure how much the Dolphins are willing to wager on a player we don’t currently know the status of.
    • $10m in salary cap space for any receiver is a lot. The dead cap space tied to Wilson’s 2020 salary ($1.33m) is extremely manageable, and much more appealing than the $10m roster option.
    • Depending on how Chad O’Shea views Wilson, he might choose to restructure his contract and remain with the team at a reduced rate. If he’s released prior to 2020, it’s a $9.5m cap savings for Miami.
    • Looking at the differential between Wilson’s cap hit and dead cap hit, it appears as if the original contract was essentially looked at as a two-year deal. I don’t think Miami ever expected to pay Wilson $10m in 2020.
  • Kenny Stills has been a professional workhorse and an off-the-field role model for children everywhere, but how valuable is a 28-year-old receiver entering his 8th NFL season?
    • In a vacuum, as a player, Kenny Stills is worth that $8.75 salary cap hit. But for a team looking to get younger and rebuild, are they going to retain Stills at an increased rate for his leadership qualities, or are they going to utilize the 2019 and 2020 draft to replenish their receiving corps?
    • With a $1.75m dead cap hit versus a $8.75m salary cap hit, Miami can save $7m in cap space by releasing Stills prior to 2020.
  • Kiko Alonso is simultaneously a fan favorite and a source of fan frustration. Set to cost $8.2m against the salary cap in 2020, the decision on Kiko may have already been made, and it’s just a matter of getting through the 2019 season before he’s off the roster.
    • Lets get a few things straight, Kiko’s durability and reliability are two things we thoroughly like about the linebacker, but with that reliability comes inconsistency, coverage liability, and average run defense.
    • With Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker set to cost $1.5m and $1.05m against the salary cap respectively in 2020, the Dolphins are able to afford Alonso, but would also be able to utilize the ~$6.4m salary cap savings to spend on any potential free agent they desire.
    • If Kiko is willing to renegotiate his contract and accept a salary cap hit that is under $6m, I think it’s more likely he stays. Anything above that $6m mark is best utilized elsewhere, even if it creates a hole at the position (a hole I expect them to fill in the 2019 or 2020 draft).
  • T.J. McDonald‘s dead cap hit in 2019 ($6.5m) is higher than his regular cap hit next season ($6m), but that shouldn’t keep the Dolphins from dealing the team’s other strong safety if they receive an offer. With McDonald, it almost doesn’t matter if the draft pick is in 2019 or 2020, the Dolphins are looking to purge his contract rather than pay a player to be a roadblock for Minkah Fitzpatrick at safety (since Reshad Jones isn’t going anywhere anytime soon).
    • The hope with McDonald, similar to Alonso, is that Flores’ defensive influence and an entirely new coaching staff will maximize their strengths rather than try and evolve their pitfalls. Cameron Wake should never drop back into coverage, but it was something he was asked to do on numerous occasions under Matt Burke‘s defense. Likewise, having Alonso cover a running back on a passing route is asking for an automatic first down.

After these top-5, your next-most expensive Miami Dolphins in 2020?:

Bobby McCain is one roster move away from becoming one of the top-5 most expensive players on the team. Poor contract or great cap management? Guess that can be viewed both ways – especially with his inconsistent performance last season after he was awarded with the new contract.

The only other player on this list that looks daunting is Minkah Fitzpatrick, and that’s only because cutting him would accelerate all of his bonuses and cause a heavy dead cap hit in 2020. I think it’s fairly obvious that Miami will not only retain Fitzpatrick at that rate, but he will be viewed as a bargain for that price.

The rest? Are almost a take-it-or-leave it skeleton crew of players that would only cost $1.5m in dead cap space between the 3 of them.

Miami’s cap space throughout Mike Tannenbaum’s tenure was always minimal, but it just shows that no matter how much hell one person voluntarily tries to create, it only takes a single season to undo all of the mistakes.

Granted, who here is enjoying a lost season while we have friends and family cheering for other successful franchises, but when you look at 2018 as a year in which the Dolphins tried to make a playoff push and “bought” towards it, it’s amazing how one offseason later they can be free from all of those restraints.

For an interesting reference, below is Miami’s salary cap space by year (since Mike Tannenbaum officially took over in 2015):

  • 2015: $8.05m
  • 2016: $14.21m
  • 2017: $38,597 (that’s $39k…)
  • 2018: $6.92m

Buying a Supporting Cast:

If you were envious of the New York Jets‘ spending spree this past offseason (where they landed Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, and Jameison Crowder), then be ready for a similar offseason from your Miami Dolphins in 2020.

Barring any crazy signings over the next few months, the Miami Dolphins will go into 2020 with $100m in available cap space, and that’s before they carry over any additional money from 2019.

As of this moment, the Miami Dolphins are set to carry-over $28m from 2019. Granted, Miami is going to have to sign injury-replacements, draft picks, various veterans that other teams cut as well as field an overall 90-man roster for training camp (they currently have 58 players on their roster…).

Expect that number to dwindle down to somewhere near $12-15m when the 2019 season is said and done, but that’s still a decent chunk of change to add to 2020. Essentially, that’s Le’Veon Bell savings right there.

Now the question is, would you be content with the Miami Dolphins utilizing their cap space to extend current players like Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard and Kenyan Drake? Or do you want to dip your toe in the free agency pool?

This is what happens when teams convince themselves a player they know nothing about is going to be better than a proven player they already have on their team (see: Miami Dolphins).

We all know how much we’re going to have to pay Tunsil and Howard – and if Drake breaks out in his contract year, you can expect him to sign a contract similar to Lamar Miller‘s 4-year, $26m ($14m guaranteed) contract back in 2016.

Outside of their own free agents (restricted, unrestricted or otherwise), the Dolphins would have the ability to sign potential 2020 free agents such as:


  • Russell Wilson
  • Michael Thomas
  • Amari Cooper
  • Melvin Gordon
  • A.J. Green
  • Hunter Henry
  • Kyle Rudolph
  • Eric Ebron
  • Allen Hurns
  • Nathan Peterman
  • Josh Gordon


  • Jadeveon Clowney
  • Leonard Williams
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  • Kevin Johnson
  • Ronald Darby
  • Bradley Roby
  • Marcus Peters
  • Grady Jarrett
  • Michael Brockers
  • Kyle Van Noy
  • DeMarcus Lawrence
  • Frank Clark
  • Dante Fowler Jr.
  • Bobby Wagner
  • Trae Waynes
  • Vic Beasley
  • Brent Grimes

Who needs to draft defensive linemen in 2019 when you can buy an entire defensive line in 2020 – and still have money to spare!

What Miami needs to ensure is that they don’t sign the wrong players.

Mike Wallace was the wrong player. Ndamukong Suh was a very good player, but signed to the wrong contract. Branden Albert was a good player, but what exactly did we get from that signing?

Similar to what the Jets are doing now, the Dolphins are set to build a roster around a young quarterback. The team already has a formidable group of core, young players that they can plug into various spots on the roster (McMillan, Baker, Fitzpatrick, Tunsil, Kalen Ballage, Jesse Davis, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor).

What the team needs to do is utilize the 2019 and 2020 drafts to supplement the roster with more young, cheap talent and then use free agency for its intended purpose which is to patch any holes your roster might have – not to be the solution for your overall roster problem. Until 2020 hits, we’ll be impatiently waiting to see who the Dolphins future franchise quarterback is, but once they have their selection, you can bet he’ll have a proper supporting cast around them.

It will be really hard for the Miami Dolphins to get this wrong – especially after doing everything right this current offseason to set themselves up. Then again, another failed rebuild would be the most Miami Dolphins’ thing they could do.

(contract statistics courtesy of Spotrac)

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


    April 2, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Great piece. I played around on Spotrac and even if we were to extend our big 3 of Howard, Drake and Tunsil (and Grant cuz why not), we should still have around 65 million to play with. Plenty of funds to make some moves!

  2. Avatar

    Chris J. Ephgrave

    April 3, 2019 at 7:44 am

    I honestly fear we’re going to play to well in 2019 and somehow end up 7-9 again! We have plenty of low end ’20 picks but they don’t get you from outside the top ten to #1. Plus there will for sure be at least 3 teams looking to get QB1: WR, OR,CB, NYG(?) negating any “will” to deal?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option

Shawn Digity



Laremy Tunsil USA Today Sports
Laremy Tunsil taking on Khalil Mack. Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option

The headline says it all; the Miami Dolphins have picked up Laremy Tunsil’s rookie contract fifth-year option. All 2016 first-round draftees are up for fifth-round options and the dominoes have started to fall with Tunsil.

The announcement tweet, which can be seen below, was broken on Twitter by Armando Salguero and shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Dolphins fans. Laremy Tunsil is one of the key cogs of the team and will be the cornerstone of an otherwise enfeebled offensive line that will likely be addressed in next week’s Draft.

Laremy Tunsil is the surest thing on the Dolphins o-line in a unit that has seen better days and will require two to three new starters. While Tunsil was a no-brainer for the Dolphins to pick up that fifth-round option on, they’ll likely have to extend him at some point, which won’t come cheap since he’s one of the rising stars at left tackle.

But Laremy Tunsil is secured through the 2020 season. I hope between now and then the Dolphins spearhead an extension and get Tunsil locked up a little bit longer. Success in the trenches will start with Tunsil at left tackle and the Fins can fill in the rest during the draft.

Laremy Tunsil will realistically become the highest-paid left tackle at some point in the next few years, and the Dolphins would be wise to get ahead of the curve for that. I think that will happen.

The current frontrunner for left-tackle contracts is the Oakland Raiders’ Trent Brown, and he is making an APY (average per year) of $16.5 million with. The top ten left tackles are making from the aforementioned $16.5 million to $12 million for Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari, Kansas City’s Eric Fisher, and Cincinnati’s Cordy Glenn.

There’s an average APY of $14 million, but I expect Laremy Tunsil to eventually be well above that average when the time comes–I foresee the Dolphins making him the highest paid left tackle, remember. Full guarantees on those top-ten contracts are running between $16 and $36 million, so there’s much more variability with those portions of the contract.

Good and great left tackles aren’t cheap. Laremy Tunsil will break the bank in a few years and will be the highest paid left tackle if the Miami Dolphins intend on making him their franchise LT for years to come.

Laremy Tunsil was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 NFL draft after an unfortunate and unfair draft-day tumble that gave the team a golden opportunity. The 2016 class has proven to be extremely fruitful (for the most part). Along with Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, and Jakeem Grant were selected in the second, third and sixth rounds, respectively, and all have made major contributions in one form or another.

Exercising Tunsil’s fifth-year option is good news for Fins fans. It’s not a blockbuster trade or a splash signing, but taking care of the best players already on the team before it snowballs out of control a la Jarvis Landry or Ju’Wuan James is a step in the right direction. And while exercising Tunsil’s option is an obvious choice, it’s still an encouraging sign nonetheless.

All contractual information courtesy of Over the Cap.


Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.

You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.

Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and prepares for the upcoming NFL draft.

If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche  press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.

If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.

With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:

On the Draft:

Most important measuring tool?:

“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”

“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”

“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”

Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:

“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”

“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”

I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.

Flores’ Influence in the Draft:

“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”

“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”

On his New/Hybrid Defense:

What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:

“We need good players.”

“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”

“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”

“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”

“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”

On Identity of this Team:

“You know, call it what you want.”

“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”

“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”

Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.

Does he expect his players to be on time?:

“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”

“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”

“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”

“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”

There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.

Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.

On His “Right-Hand Man”:

“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”

“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.

“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”

On Mike Gesicki:

“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”

On Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker:

“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”

“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”

“We’re glad to have them both.”

On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:

“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”

“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”

Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.

From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.

On his Mother’s Passing:

“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”

“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”

“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”

On New Surprises as a Head Coach:

“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”

“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”

“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown

Travis Wingfield



Future opponents are known years in advance in the NFL. With the exception of two games decided by divisional standing finish, fourteen opponents are determined based on the schedule rotation. The order in which those games will occur, like everything else the NFL does, has become a primetime event.

While the luck of the draw factors heavily (in-season injuries, particular teams playing their best/worst ball at a certain time of year, etc.) the order of the games provides intriguing details.

Traveling for a Thursday night game, for instance, is an extreme disadvantage for the visitor. The infamous “trap game” can occur when a team faces a lesser opponent before taking on a heavyweight. Lastly, for a team like the Dolphins, weather implications are always worth noting.

This column refers to the favors, or lack thereof, that the NFL gave the Dolphins based purely on travel, trap games, etcetera.

Week 1 – BALTIMORE RAVENS – September 8, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Ravens Sandwich Game: Week 2 Cardinals

September victories are difficult to come by for teams visiting Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins haven’t lost such an affair since 2015 with a multitude of early-season upsets under the franchise’s belt this century (2014 vs. New England and 2005 vs. Denver, most notably).

Baltimore’s ground-and-pound attack could have a converse affect, however, as the Dolphins defensive conditioning will have to be on-point from the word go.

Week 2 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – September 15, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 3 vs. NY Jets

Dec 9, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) runs the ball after a flea flicker play to score a touchdown to defeat the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

New England’s 2018 meltdown in Miami came one week prior to a trip to Heinz Field. Now, the Pats will travel back to Tom Brady’s house of horrors in Miami one week after kicking the season off in primetime against those same Steelers.

This won’t serve as a trap game given the recent outcomes of games between these two teams, but Miami is catching the Pats at the right time. Over the last two seasons New England are just 4-4 in the first quarter of the schedule (September games), a .250-point decrease in winning percentage from their cumulative record.

Week 3 – @ Dallas Cowboys – September 22, 1:00 EST AT&T Stadium
Cowboys Sandwich Games: Week 2 @ Washington, Week 4 @ Saints

This is a classic trap game for the Cowboys. Coming off a game with its biggest rival, then heading to the toughest building to play in, in the NFC, the opportunity for Miami to steal a road win against a sleep-walking favorite is in the cards.

Week 4 – Los Angeles Chargers- September 29, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Chargers Sandwich Games: Week 3 @Texans, Week 5 Broncos

The early time slot for a west coast team is one of the biggest advantages, statistically, in football. The Chargers historically struggle in Miami but the talent discrepancy is probably too great for any of these advantages to factor in.

Week 5 – BYE WEEK

After a week-11 bye last year, Miami gets the burden of an early off-week. The Dolphins will play out the string for 12 weeks with zero breaks in between.

Week 6 – Washington – October 13, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Washington Sandwich Games: Week 5 @Patriots, Week 7 49ers

A let down following a potential beat down in New England bodes well for Miami. Washington is probably the one team on this entire schedule that Miami can matchup with from a talent perspective.

Week 7 – @ Buffalo Bills – October 20, 1:00 EST New Era Field
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 6 BYE, Week 8 Eagles

Miami’s first game against a team coming off a bye, in a building that has only provided the setting for one Miami win in the last five years, this one stacks the deck against the Dolphins.

Week 8 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers – October 28, 5:25 EST MONDAY Heinz Field
Steelers Sandwich Games: Week 7 BYE, Week 9 Colts

Another game, another opponent coming off of a bye. The Steelers will have the benefit of a 15-day break prior to lacing it up for Miami in primetime. The Dolphins road primetime woes should be noted as well – Miami are 0-for-it’s-last 8 in those games.

Week 9 – New York Jets – November 3, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 8 @Jaguars, Week 10 Giants

Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase looks on during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Adam Gase game will certainly have both teams on notice. The man that holds a grudge like no other will certainly have this date circled on his calendar, as will the countless Dolphins players that grew tired of Gase’s shtick. This might be the most entertaining football game Miami plays all season.

Week 10 – @ Indianapolis Colts – November 10, 1:00 EST Lucas Oil Stadium
Colts Sandwich Games: Week 9 @Steelers, Week 11 Jaguars

With a potentially crucial divisional game on-deck with the Jaguars, the Colts could fall victim to overlooking Miami here. The Colts are a difficult out in that building and are quietly building up one of the most talented rosters in the AFC.

Week 11 – Buffalo Bills – November 17, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 10 @Browns, Week 12 Broncos

Divisional games rarely adhere to traditional trap procedures. Ideally the Dolphins would catch the Bills in September, but the week-7 trip to Western New York offsets the lack of weather advantages. This game should see peak effort from both teams.

Week 12 – @ Cleveland Browns – November 24, 1:00 EST First Energy Stadium
Browns Sandwich Games: Week 11 Steelers (TNF), Week 13 @Steelers

Somehow the NFL has this strange scheduling procedure where teams play each other twice over a three-week period. Cleveland sandwiches its two games with the Steelers with a home date against your Miami Dolphins – that’s the ultimate trap.Cleveland’s benefit comes from having 10 days to prepare for Brian Flores and Miami.

Week 13 – Philadelphia Eagles – December 1, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Eagles Sandwich Games: Week 12 Seahawks, Week 14 Giants

With a pivotal NFC matchup on the front end, and a divisional game on the backend, Philadelphia is in a potential trap game situation. The Dolphins home field advantage serves as another beneficial factor in this game as the weather contract between Philadelphia and Miami, in December, is stark.

Week 14 – @ New York Jets – December 8, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 13 @Bengals, Week 15 @Ravens (TNF)

The game before a road trip on a short week typically favors the opposition – that’s the spot the Adam Gase finds himself in here when the Jets welcome Miami to the Meadowlands. With two NFC games bookending this game for the Dolphins, this is a great spot for Miami to steal a road win.

Week 15 – @ New York Giants – December 15, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Giants Sandwich Games: Week 14 @Eagles, Week 16 @ Washington

This is a trap game for both teams, believe it or not. A non-conference game, sandwiched by two divisional games, has the makings for a let down on either side. If the season plays out as expected, this game could have massive implications on the race for Tua Tagovailoa.

Week 16 – Cincinnati Bengals – December 22, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bengals Sandwich Games: Week 15 @Patriots, Week 17 Browns

Like the previous game, this might set up as a draft positioning game. Both teams that figure to finish at, or near, the bottom of their respective divisions, playing out the string with rookie coaches, there isn’t much of an advantage to take away from this one.

Week 17 – @ New England Patriots – December 29, 1:00 EST Gillette Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 16 Bills

For the second consecutive year, the Patriots finish the season with two divisional home games – seems fishy, doesn’t it? The only potential saving grace here, for the ‘Phins, is that New England could have the AFC East wrapped up, as they typically do every year.


This is, no doubt, a difficult road to hoe for Miami. The order of the games, the stacks of road trips, it’s a lot to put on the plate of a first year head coach trying to set a foundation.

The troops of the tank train should be satisfied with this gamete — it likely puts Miami in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of, especially given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s medical history.

For more on this schedule, tune in to the Locked On Dolphins podcast – your daily dose of Miami Dolphins football.


Continue Reading