The new NFL year begins and teams are able to sign free agents beginning on March 17. The Miami Dolphins have been active already this offseason making room under a new salary cap and trying to re-sign players needed to continue the franchise’s rise to greatness. Will the Dolphins build around Tua?
Miami finished 10-6 last season and just missed out on a playoff berth. Head coach Brian Flores has the makings of a solid defense. The Dolphins finished sixth in scoring defense in 2020. The offense, of course, is focused around QB Tua Tagovailoa and showed flashes of greatness last year especially during a five-game midseason win streak.
The Watson Speculation or Build around Tua
Practically, since the season ended it has been rumored that the Dolphins could pursue Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson. As information came out of Watson’s camp and other NFL circles that he was unhappy with his situation in Houston; many have pegged the Miami Dolphins as a likely destination for Watson. But the Miami Dolphins, Chris Grier, and Flores have done from the beginning, they expressed nothing but commitment to Tua Tagovailoa when asked about the speculation.
In a statement to the media, When asked about the Watson speculation, Brian Flores said: “My reaction is…I’m excited to work with Tua. That’s where my interests are. That’s where my excitement is. I think he’s a talented player. We believe in developing players at all positions. I think with an offseason, some OTAs, more reps, (he’ll) develop and get better. And I think he feels the same way. Tua and I had lunch yesterday. We talked about his family. I think a lot of that development is about building relationships. He’s doing well. He’s confident. I’m confident in him. I’m really looking forward to this offseason.”
Here’s what the Dolphins have done thus far in free agency and a look at what they pursue as well:
Miami wasted no time in locking down All-Pro kicker Jason Sanders. The Dolphins signed Sanders to a five-year contract extension worth roughly $22 million. The deal calls for $10 million in guarantees. Sanders hit 36-of-39 field goals and all 36 of his extra points last year.
Van Noy Released
One of the keys to Miami’s defense was the leadership of LB Kyle Van Noy, who also served as a team captain. Van Noy, who will be 30 on March 26, signed a four-year, $51 million deal just last year. His age and contract were concerns so the Dolphins elected to let him go.
The new salary cap for 2021 came in at $182.5 million, eight percent lower than last year. Unfortunately, there will be more stories like Van Noy around the league.
New OT Acquired Via Trade
Miami worked out a deal to acquire Tennessee OT Isaiah Wilson for a seventh-round draft pick. Wilson was the Titans first-round pick last year, but had some issues off the field. At 6-6, 350 pounds, Wilson will get a second chance in Miami.
Like his new coach Flores, Wilson hails from New York City and the Dolphins coach has actually known Wilson for a few years. Wilson will also get a chance to reunite with former Georgia guard Solomon Kindley who also plays for the Dolphins. It’s a risk bringing Wilson in, but if it pays off it will reap huge benefits. Miami needs to improve its offensive line play.
On the Horizon
With Van Noy out, Miami will be in need of a quality linebacker. It’s possible they go after Arizona free agent Haason Reddick or they may snag a player like Penn State’s Micah Parsons via the draft.
Miami is also on the lookout for an athletic hard-hitting safety. Indianapolis free safety Malik Hooker fits the mold. He’s on the market and would be a nice fit with the Dolphins.