Chris Grier is clearly the Top Dog, The Big Man, Numero Uno Honcho, The Head Cheese. This is his ballgame, at least for this season. He’ll be responsible for our draft, and for choosing wisely in the 2022 Free Agency period before and after the draft. Whomever is hired as Head Coach will have the understanding that Chris Grier, at least for the moment is the man with the power and the final say on personnel decision making. He will accommodate his new Head Coach, but he will not be overrun by him. The Dolphins should be able to fill some huge holes in Free Agency, otherwise known as “Overpaying Contracts”. It doesn’t matter, we have to spend money, and we will. If we overpay, so be it, it’s expected. Besides having a few key positions of need, we have our own free agents that need to be taken care of. Let’s put it this way, we don’t need to save for the future, we need to get this team right now. Fix the biggest issue, which is the O-line and then work at giving Tua some upgraded weapons at RB and WR, not necessarily through Free Agency, but both Free Agency and the NFL Draft. Our first pick will likely be one of the last 3 picks in RD 1, and Grier needs to hit on that one. He no longer has an arsenal of multiple first, second and third round picks, and for a change we’re making our first selection at the end of the 1st round, but unfortunately not because we won a playoff game.
To address re-signing our own guys, the most obvious target is DE Emmanuel Ogbah. His market value is slated at $10M per year but I’m thinking more like $12-14M. Either way, he’s priority number one. Mike Gesicki will be a curious situation to keep an eye on. We know Gesicki is a talented receiving TE, and we also know Chris Grier selected him in RD 2, pick #42 in 2018. He’s had a nice career as a Miami Dolphins TE, not as good as I expected though. I still feel like he was underused here. I’d have thought he’d be the most dynamic receiving TE in a Dolphins uniform but that still belongs to former TE Randy McMichael. Randy Mac finished his first 4 seasons with 221 receptions, 2456 yards and 15 TD’s. Slightly behind is Gesicki with 199 receptions for 2255 yards and 13 TD’s. I truly thought Gesicki’s totals should have been higher. Twice in McMichael’s first 4 he was targeted over 100 times, Gesicki finally did that last season, but the caveat there is it was a 17 game season. Like I said, underused. My next guy is Nik Needham. I love this kid, and I hope we consider him an important part of our team. The 25 year old defensive back has played anywhere and everywhere and has played well. He’s averaged 50-60 tackles per season and has 6 INT’s in 3 seasons. He also has 23 passes defensed. He’s a team player and an unselfish one. The next player I want to re-sign but more for depth is LB Elandon Roberts. He’s a strong 2 down run stopper as we have seen for the last couple of years. TE Durham Smythe is another player we should re-sign, and I believe it’s possible Smythe is signed before Gesicki and possibly instead of Gesicki if Gesicki’s price is too steep. We MUST also re-sign ST’s ace and WR Mack Hollins. He’s a high priority re-sign as well.
OK, now on to the rest of the NFL’s potential castoffs. We need a huge upgrade or 2 on our O-line. We can address one or both in FA, and I can almost guarantee you that we will be spending a good amount on at least one of the top tier offensive linemen. To quickly reiterate, I’m not convinced we’re going to be looking for a tackle, although the argument for one can easily be made. My belief is still that Austin Jackson can be our LT and Liam Eichenberg can be our RT. That would indicate we’d be looking for interior OL, either 2 guards or a guard and a center. I think the latter is more likely. Brandon Scherff and Andrew Norwell are the top OG’s, but the guy I had mentioned weeks ago and still prefer is 49ers LG Laken Tomlinson. He plays every game every season and would solidify the left side and help young Austin Jackson at LT. I like Robert Hunt at RG so I’d prefer we look for an OC. The pickings are slim unless we’re looking for a C over 30. The Detroit Lions lost their star OC Frank Ragnow early on and turned to former NYG and former Dolphin C Evan Brown. Brown had a great season starting 12 games for the Lions. He’s a FA and just 25 years old. Ted Karras is another option. He played OG last season for the rival Patriots but as we all know, he played C for us here in 2020 and played well enough. Who knows if Karras would be willing to come back. If wellok at OT, Terron Armstead would be tops, both in talent and $$$. Cam Robinson from the Jaguars would be a younger and less expensive option. I hope we don’t look for an OT as I’ve mentioned.
Besides the O-line, we need to upgrade our WR corps. I don’t want top tier, address the best in the draft, but a nice 2nd tier WR is possible. We’re not a Davante Adams away from the SB so spend wisely here. Christian Kirk from the Cardinals is a nice talent. Others here have fallen for Byron Pringle of the Chiefs. I worry a bit about those 3rd, 4th and 5th option guys. Plays break down in KC and Mahomes is flushed and the defense naturally rolls to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce so of course guy like Pringle will either be in single or coverage or even possibly uncovered. We kind of saw the same thing with Sammy Watkins when he was with the Chiefs. Now Kirk played mostly in the slot, but he’s young and talented. D.J. Chark is a guy who has feasted on the perimeter and is a big bodied, agile player. 6’4 200, coming off a fractured ankle injury which should affect his playing career. He’s a 4.34 40 guy with a tremendous 40″ vertical. I’d say Chark would be number one target at WR, he’s been productive in a less than ideal offensive situation in Jacksonville. There’s also JuJu Smith-Schuster who had tremendous early success in his career at Pittsburgh, but has since been pushed back into the shadows by receivers like Chase Claypool and Dionte Johnson. Could a change of scenery jump-start JuJu? JuJu is a tough, fight for the ball type of receiver with less than ideal speed but good athleticism and ability.th Chark and Juju are only 25.
I’m going to cover the 2022 NFL Draft and in particular our needs in a future article. For now I’m going to leave you with my Free Agency wants, since there is Free Agency before the draft, and then of course, after the draft where a whole host of players are released and then become available once teams shuffle their rosters post draft. We’re one of the top 5 in cap space available so if we choose not to take my advice and go out and spend top money, we have it at approximately $67.5M. Let’s hope our guy Chris Grier gets the first part of the equation right so we go into the draft with better flexibility to make this team better.