The Dolphins have a decision looming, do they re-sign their own former 2014 1st RD pick (#19), or do they try and replace him. It’s not as easy as a decision as some might think. While James is not an elite RT, especially in the sense of the “old” prototype of a right tackle, who was usually not a very good pass blocker, but usually a road grader on the right end of the line. In fact, James is the polar opposite of that, he’s a very good pass blocker, but his run blocking skills after 5 seasons are still somewhat lacking.
The Miami Dolphins offensive line has been in flux for too long. Last season we signed former pro bowl OG Josh Sitton after the Bears declined to re-sign him, and Sitton didn’t make it past game 1 before being placed on season ending IR. Center Dan Kilgore, who the Dolphins traded a 7th RD pick for with the Niners didn’t make it that much further as he was placed IR after game 4. The Dolphins had already decided to give journeyman Jesse Davis a shot at the RG spot, and Davis started and finished all 16 games, but his play was just marginal, average or less than average.
At LG, good ole Ted Larsen started 13 games but played in 15 for the Dolphins as the Dolphins really had little depth left with both Sitton and Kilgore both out for the season before the first quarter of the season was finished. It’s really come down to a numbers game, and the numbers are not in our favor. We basically have 1 starter at the moment, Laremy Tunsil, if we decide to move on from James. I know this season is going to be a bumpy one, but if we have to try and bring in 4 new starters on the OL, that’s quite an undertaking. It’s possible we keep Kilgore and Larsen, their salaries are palatable (even if their play isn’t always). Between the 2 players they will come out to about $5M in salary. Even if both are kept for depth only, I think that’s doable.
The other part of the equation is that James has played the entire season and then the following year, injuries limited him to playing half the season or less twice. In ’14 James started all 16 games. In ’15 he played and started only 7. In ’16 James started all 16 games, in ’17 James was limited to starting only 8. Last season James started and played in 15 games. You know what’s coming in ’19, right? I actually don’t believe in those kind of things. I think James will be fine this season. Where he will play is another story.
If I were the GM, I’d keep the steady pass blocking RT because he’s young He’ll be 27 when the season starts, and because he is a good pass blocker, a very good one. His consistency could be a little better, but considering the fact that he had a journeyman next to him all last season, and Davis definitely had his struggles, I think James is a keeper. He will probably get somewhere between $8-12M per year, but I think it’s worth it. He’s going to get that for sure from another team, and I loathe to let our own 1st RD pick leave. I’d re-sign him. Your thoughts?