Sorry Dolphins fans, this Free Agency thing has left me deflated and disappointed. To be fair, Free Agency isn’t over yet, but up to this point, I haven’t seen anything that to make me feel optimistic about our chances for the playoffs this season. It’s not about grabbing big names, if you know me, I’m not that provincial, but I’m very uninspired with what I’ve seen from Chris Grier and Co. as so far. We re-signed a bunch of players, and I’m thrilled we got a contract done with DE Emmanuel Ogbah. He was an absolute necessity, a huge part of our defense and having him along with Jaelan Phillips should be an even more dangerous combo this season as Phillips learns and grows. After Ogbah though, I feel like we almost got complacent. Plus, Ogbah was here already, we just managed to retain him. So where are the upgrades we desperately needed?
We got some feel good re-signs like Elandon Roberts, Sam Eguavoen, Brennan Scarlett and Duke Riley, but if I sure wouldn’t have minded instead of re-signing every single LB that was on our roster that maybe subtract 2 or 3 or 4 of those guys and get Bobby Wagner. Wagner would be an immediate upgrade over any and every LB we re-signed. I want to elevate, not levitate. It’s not like we had the best defensive unit in the NFL and just had to keep it intact. Far from it. We were a decent defense, better than average, although right in the middle of points allowed. At the moment, Bobby Wagner is still available. He’s such a quality individual, he would have to be one of the captains, a guy teammates would look up to. He would make our defense better, and while #55 Baker had a fine season again last year, he’d be ever better with Wagner, everyone would.
Time for the meat and potatoes. Ah yes, the O-line. So far we have Connor Williams, who is a a talented yet flawed player, not too unlike 4/5 of our O-line before he got here. He’s further along than our current crop perhaps with the exception of RG Robert Hunt. He did have a propensity for flags last season and that needs to be fixed. He’s a very good run blocker and fits what we want to do here. I still feel like Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg will be our LT and RT respectively. Unless of course we sign Terron Armstead, but I don’t see that happening. I still feel like we need an upgrade on the interior, specifically C. It’s possible that upgrade come via the draft in Tyler Linderbaum, but would be willing to trade up to get him?
We had a bunch of re-signs for position players too, Preston Williams returns for a show me season. Former Dolphins (and 49ers) RB Raheem Mostert also returns. We gave former Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds a nice 2 year contract. He does however scream RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE, and that’s fine, but we seem to pine for an upgrade every single season but it never seems to come. Besides that, I feel the need to point out that we have been just atrocious in our record of free agent running back signings, beyond awful really. Jordan Howard, Matt Breida (He was a trade), and Malcolm Brown. The production of those 3 probably doesn’t add up to what Myles Gaskin gave us last season. Now to the WR’s. Cedrick Wilson. He could be a decent player but upgrade? I mean big upgrade? Wilson played primarily on the slot but can play outside as well. He had two 100 yard games, but take into account that Dak Prescott threw for 4449 yards last season, not impressive. He was #4 in targets last year, behind Cee Dee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. He finished the season with 602 yards and 6 TD’s on 45 receptions. Not bad, but like most of the signings except Ogbah and Gesicki, is not bad what our anemic offense needs? It’s true that this draft is chock full of WR talent, and one of them will undoubtedly be available at #29, but then you kiss Tyler Linderbaum goodbye. My point is, unless we fix either the WR situation in FA, or the O-line in FA, it’s going to be difficult to expect both of those to be addressed properly via the draft with our current draft position. Do we trade away future assets, or players in order to do that? It’s possible.
We definitely upgraded our backup QB situation signing QB Teddy Bridgewater. I always liked Bridgewater, he’s a gamer. He’ll be a good guy for Tua to lean on. I like the FB signing of Alec Ingold although he is coming off an ACL tear November 16, 2021. He’s a team captain and a guy that will be a spark in the offense. We also signed former 49ers WR Trent Sherfield who is mostly a ST’s player. Remember, we lost WR Mack Hollins to the Raiders. If you’re looking for positives, OG Connor Williams is a very strong run blocker. FB Alec Ingold is also a strong run blocker but again, we need to add more talent on the O-line and in the RB corps. Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Gerrid Doaks. Which one of these guys does the opposing defense worry about running the ball? I’d like one guy that the defense thinks about before the game “Man, I really hate tackling that due, he’s physical”. That guy isn’t on our roster.
If you subtract the re-signs, you have to be underwhelmed by what we’ve done. I like the Connor Williams signings and while I have a La’el Collins chiffon robe that has never been worn, I don’t think I’ll get that opportunity. He’s probably going to the Bengals to win. Speaking of winning, the Bills signed Von Miller to a monster 6 year contract. Think we need to fix the O-line? Let’s just play in fantasy land for a moment and say La’el Collins doesn’t feel the love ($$$) from the Bengals and we somehow snatch him up. My guess would be the O-line would be as such:
LT Austin Jackson
LG Connor Williams
C Michael Deiter (Or Tyler Linderbaum?)
RG Michael Hunt
RT La’el Collins
That wouldn’t be bad, especially if you sub Linderbaum for Deiter. Back to the defense for a second. Now that we have every single LB we had last season after re-signing THREE, how about getting Bobby Wagner?
LDE Emmanuel Ogbah
NT Raekwon Davis
RE Christian Wilkins
WLB Andrew Van Ginkel
LILB Bobby Wagner
RILB Jerome Baker
SOLB Jaelan Phillips
CB Xavien Howard
CB Byron Jones
S Jevon Holland
S Brandon Jones
Doesn’t that look, and feel good? Seriously, give Bobby a nice front loaded contract and if his play declines after a couple of years, it won’t hurt at that time. It’s NOT about making a splash, that would legitimately be a big upgrade on defense. He’s such a smart, instinctive player and a high character, high motor individual. I would really like that.
Now for the bad? news . . . The WR corps.
DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson, Lynn Bowden Jr., Allen Hurns, Preston Williams, Trent Sherfield, River Cracraft, Cody Core and DeVonte Dedmon. Isaiah Ford is a Free Agent. Can you ever really expect DeVante Parker to play healthy for a full season? NO! I love to watch Parker when he’s healthy, he’s a game changer. Maybe that happens 5 or 6 games a season. Will Allen Hurns survive cutdowns? Probably not. Preston Williams is a DeVante Parker in clone healthwise, he can’t stay healthy either. In other words, it’s Waddle, Wilson and who????? I feel like our 1st and 2nd RD picks have to be used on C/WR/RB. But that’s THREE! We only have 2. Say we traded one of our future 1st RD picks from 2023, where we have two. We pick up Tyler Linderbaum at 29, then trade up to the next spot and take Jameson Williams and then with our next pick we take either Kenneth Walker or Breece Hall. Now you’re talking, right?! Don’t bet on it. There’s still a chance to improve this team, Free Agent C’s J.C. Tretter and Bradley Bozeman are available. Bobby Wagner is also out there. Make us smile, make us better!