The Dolphins have already secured TE Mike Gesicki for the 2022 NFL season as they have placed the Franchise Tag on him. They can work out a long term deal or have his services for this season and reevaluate after. With a new HC, it’s difficult to say which is more likely. Other Dolphins players I would like us to re-sign are Emmanuel Ogbah, Nik Needham and Mack Hollins, and in that order. From outside our organization, I feel the interior of the O-line is a must fix so I would prefer to get Niners LG Laken Tomlinson. As some of you know, the Cowboys are willing to trade OL La’el Collins. Collins can play inside or outside, and can play either side at tackle, and play them all well. That’s a nice commodity to have, especially with what I believe is some young talent we have that we need to find spots for such as Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg. Some have already given up on these players, I think that’s foolish. Collins has been a fixture on the Cowboys line since ’15, although he did miss most of the ’16 season tearing a ligament in his big toe Game 3. He was placed on IR and missed the rest of that season. Otherwise he has been a steady presence for the Cowboys. I don’t know what compensation the Cowboys expect for Collins but I’d give up a 2nd or 3rd RD pick without any hesitation to get Collins. With so high a demand for quality O-linemen, the Cowboys just might cash in much higher for Collins. I suppose I’d consider our 1st RD pick (#29) as well. Other possible picks at #29 are C Tyler Linderbaum, WR Jameson Williams and probably a host of others that I haven’t even considered but GM Chris Grier has his eye on. Collins would start and be an upgrade just about anywhere we put him, and lord knows we need to upgrade the O-line. There are quite a few avenues to consider though, being we have a good amount of cap room and we can find 2 good free agent OL in Free Agency.
Back to re-signing our own, the Dolphins have to make Emmanuel Ogbah a priority. It’s not that Ogbah is a guy who takes over games, he’s not that type of player. He is a guy that consistently gets pressure from his side of the field and despite not having gaudy numbers in any one defensive metric, he’s had over 20 QB hits each of the 2 seasons he’s played here, and although he missed double digit sacks by one each year, with the emergence of Jaelan Phillips, I think Ogbah and Phillips could be both be perennial double digit sack guys. Ogbah’s 2 best seasons were here in Miami, so I’d hope he’d want to return to the place where he’s been most successful, although in all fairness, money will talk. We’ll have to show Ogbah some love ($$$) if we want him back. DB Nik Needham is a player I just love to watch. I remember when we drafted some guy (Noah Igbinoghene) and had such high expectations for that player. Instead, it was Nik Needham thrust into duty and call him an overachiever or whatever you want but he always proved he belonged on the field. It’s hard not to like and admire Needham and I truly hope we retain him as a player. Mack Hollins is another one of those players like Needham. We know he’s a special teams ace and that guy was always around the football on ST’s. He was also thrust into duty when others were expected to be ahead of him, but due to injuries, Hollins got more playing time than expected. He showed up and played well all the time. So often I’d see Hollins make a play and both I and the announcer thought it was TE Mike Gesicki, #86 and #88 look similar and their lithe body types are close as well. #86 has to be re-signed so the confusion can continue.
When you look at improving the team, most of us feel the O-line is the place where it needs to begin. I also feel like the majority here feel we should be adding veterans and not spending high picks on the O-line, as we all know we’ve spent quite a few in the last 2 years as it is, one 1st RD pick in 2020 (Jackson), two 2nd RD picks, 2020 (Hunt), and 2021 (Eichenberg). In 2019, we spent a 3rd RD pick on C Michael Deiter and we spent a 4th RD pick in 2020 on OG Solomon Kindley. I could see spending another 1st RD potentially on center Tyler Linderbaum. If they feel he’d be an immediate upgrade and a long term solution at center, it’s hard to argue pulling the trigger on that. We can also pick up probably the best center available in free agency Ryan Jensen formerly of Tom Brady’s Bucs. Lots of different ways to approach it, and Chris Grier is well aware of that. Tough part is there will be high interest across the board on quality offensive linemen so if we want a player, we’ll have to be very aggressive and pay whatever is necessary in order to get them. Bargain hunting is not an option.
I’m sure Grier has a clear plan as to what he’s doing, and then fallback plans when those are foiled. Even though we have deep pockets, the competition will be so high there’s likely to be a quick frenzy to start the free agency period off. Other than money, is Miami a destination where players feel like they can win? We have a bright new Head Coach in Mike McDaniel, but he’s a first time Head Coach, so is winning immediately realistic? Of course we have nice climate, especially during the colder months of the season and we also have no state income tax which makes the money go even further. I look forward to seeing what Grier and the Dolphins do when the communications between NFL teams and players (agents) begin on Monday March 14th. I have a feeling the bottom line of the NFL channel feed will be ringing like a pinball machine. Hopefully we’re doing some of the ringing!