Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Pros And Cons Of Dolphins Adding A Free Agent RB


Free Agency.  A time of craziness as teams scramble to add both unproven and proven talents to their rosters before the NFL Draft.  For the past two off seasons, the Miami Dolphins have made big splashes in Free Agency.  This time last year we saw the Dolphins shell out huge amounts of money for WR Mike Wallace, TE Dustin Keller, and CB Brent Grimes.  This year the ‘Phins have added LT Branden Albert and FS Louis Delmas among others.  As of recently, the Dolphins have reported interest in RB Knowshon Moreno (who left Miami without a contract) and RB Maurice Jones Drew (some sources say Miami is NOT interested).  The Dolphins were indeed weak at the RB position last year, as a poor O-Line undoubtedly contributed to the mediocre play of backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.  Should Miami bring in a veteran FA running back?  Here are my pros and cons for this specific scenario.


1. Veteran Leadership 

One thing the Dolphins could really use is some veteran leadership on the field and especially in the locker room.  Adding MJD or Knowshon would add much needed experience and leadership to the entire team and organization.  Both backs are respected at their position and have been in this league long enough with little off the field distractions or incidents.  On a narrower note, bringing in a FA veteran back like the aforementioned two would bring experience to one of the younger positions on the roster, as Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have just 5 combined seasons between the two.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

2. Upgrade of Play/Production

Both MJD and Knowshon would be an instant upgrade at the RB position for the Dolphins.  Some say Moreno’s success was a result of Manning and the Denver offense, which is probably true.  That being said, in his 3 seasons with the Broncos before Manning’s arrival, Moreno averaged more than 4 yards a carry and posted 18 total TD’s while splitting time at the position.  He is a proven and very diverse back.  As for MJD, the 8 year vet has a career average of 4.5 yards a carry and 68 career TD’s.  Is he the same player he was in the prime of his career?  Absolutely not.  But he would be a great stop gap option and could double as a mentor for Miami’s younger backs.

3. Run Blocking Upgrade

If you watched the Dolphins play at all last year (even one measly game), something should have stood out to you: RYAN TANNEHILL WAS SACKED A TON.  A league worst 58 times to be exact.  Part of that was a result of poor decisions by Ryan Tannehill himself, part of it was an abysmal O-Line, and part was the inability of both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to block.  I have watched many games with MJD and Knowshon in them, and one thing both of these guys know how to do is get low and take out oncoming defenders.  Either one of these veterans would be an instant upgrade in the protection of RT17.


1. Expense

More likely than not the reason Knowshon left Miami without a contract was due to money.  After having such a breakout year, Moreno was probably looking for a steeper contract than the ‘Fins were willing to shell out.  MJD, entering the final hoorah of his career, will be looking for at least veterans minimum, if not more.  Neither of these guys are as expensive as someone like Chris Johnson, but they won’t come cheap either.  It is up to Miami’s front office to determine exactly how much a FA RB is worth.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Depth of the RB position in the 2014 NFL Draft

Take a look at the RB’s who have entered this year’s draft.  It is tantalizing.  Miami could go big early and grab Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde or Auburn’s Tre Mason, or they could grab a stud in the middle rounds such as Kadeem Carey or Bishop Sankey.  There are SO many options.  In my opinion, I would rather the Dolphins wait and see who they can grab in the upcoming draft.  It is a much cheaper option, and a hungry rookie desperate for playing time would only heighten the competition for the starting job.

3. Time

Like I mentioned before, MJD is on his way out.  He will not be able to continue to play at his current level, which has already decreased with his increasing age.  As for Moreno, I would dub him on the closing of his prime, and after a few seasons, he will be in the same position of MJD.  This is another reason I would rather see Miami bring in a fresh young rookie, who still has that initial burst and spring in his step, and who has his best years still in front of him.




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Tags: Free Agency Knowshon Moreno Maurice Jones-Drew Miami Dolphins

  • Chris

    I wonder what Miami’s plans for Gillislee are? Either way, Thomas should probably be released. You’re then left with Miller, Gillislee and Thigpen. Thigpen will probably only be asked to return kicks and punts. So then you have Miller and Gillislee. Do you draft a RB early? Given the team’s other needs, probably not. Miami needs a HB that can pick up the blitz. It would behoove them to pick up a veteran guy capable of doing so, provide some leadership, and make the younger guys work hard to unseat him for playing time.

  • Ralph

    Go get me Hyde in 2nd round. We need a beast for short tough yards. Knowshon is a system back and MJD is old. Draft Hyde or Mason 2nd round pick

    • Eric Roddy

      I like it! The beauty of this draft is that if one of those guys is gone come our pick in the second round, we can fill another need and grab someone who could be just as good in the 3rd or 4th!

  • TylerMcMullen

    SANKEY, SANKEY, SANKEY, SANKEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dolphinmofo

    Skip on knowshon and mjd. Draft Andre Williams to replace Daniel thomas. Draft d’anthony thomas to compete with Marcus thigpen/returner and Brandon Gibson/ slot. If you have to draft an early round back go Charles Sims west Virginia best fit. Either way instant upgrade.

  • LostSok

    To me Moreno makes the most sense because he would fit a committee best. MJ-D would want to be “the guy” on a higher level, where KM could rotate with a rookie and Miller.

    As long as the roster in September does NOT include Daniel Thomas we’ll be ahead of last year.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    Great read and article as usual Eric and also good arguments on both sides of the question to be considered. I wasn’t aginst the possibility of a Knowshon Moreno because as you illustrate, the guy, Manning or not, has averaged over 4. + yards X carry through most of his career, can catch coming out of the backfield and he can block. also don’t particularly enjoy the bite an FA would take out of the salary cap. I still maintain that much lke Papa John, “better line, better running” BUT do not ignore that Thomas has under achieved and that the promise of his rookie year has faded. Draft Wilder Jr. in the 6th round and let him run.