September 30, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis (83) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Washington Redskins defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The big free agent names being thrown around Miami are Wallace, Bowe, Jennings, and our own Jake Long. However, I’d like to focus on two possible free agents that I would not mind seeing Miami bring in for the 2013 season. While there are numerous players in free agency that I think could immediately improve this Dolphins team, a lot of them come with baggage (like Bowe), or demanding a lot of money (like Jennings). My two free agent possibilities are rare for three reasons: they are cheap, they fly under the radar, and they address areas other than wide receiver (yes we badly need one of those too).
Free Agent #1: RB Jonathan Dwyer, restricted free agent Pittsburgh Steelers. I am completely thinking outside the box on both of these free agents, and I know not everyone will agree (with this pick especially). One thing I noticed the Dolphins lacking this year was the ability to convert on 3rd and short and 4th and short, especially around the goal line. Dwyer is an absolute tank (5′ 11″, 235 lbs) and is surprisingly fast (4.59 forty yard dash). Javorski Lane had fumbling problems this year, and was mainly used in the flats and as a blocker for Thomas and Bush. I think Dwyer would give the Dolphins a nice power back to come in on those short yardage situations and pickup much needed first downs (like Lousaka Polite, who was automatic short yardage situations). By adding Dwyer, the Dolphins would have a very versatile backfield consisting of Thomas, Miller, and Dwyer (assuming Bush is not kept). Right now, Dwyer is an restricted free agent. There is a decent possibility that the Steelers may keep him, but with Mendenhall returning, they may be willing to let Dwyer go and save the money. Speaking of money, Dwyer would not cost much (probably in the 1-1.5 million a year range). It could be worth a shot.
Free Agent #2: Fred Davis, unrestricted free agent Washington Redskins. Unless the Fins get lucky and grab TE Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz in the second round, I don’t think they should waste a draft pick on any other TE in the draft. There are many to choose from in free agency. I like Fred Davis. No, thus far he has not had huge numbers or statistically proven himself during his short NFL career. Yes he has had some injuries. But a lot of why he has not had huge numbers is because until drafting RGIII, the Redskins did not have the firepower at quarterback to complete a pass, much less incorporate a big-bodied tight end into the offense. Especially if the Dolphins don’t resign Fasano, I’d like to see them use their 40 million dollar cap space (after signing rookies) and find a big athletic tight end in FA. Davis fits that mold. He’s 6′ 4″, 247 lbs, and extremely strong. He is as athletic as a wide receiver, yet can block too. He would give defenses all sorts of match up problems since he is too big for a corner to cover him, yet too fast and athletic to put a linebacker on him. Most importantly, Davis would come cheap. He did not play much in 2012, and the Redskins would not be able to compete with the Dolphins for Davis, seeing that they have no where near the cap space as the Fins.
One thing we have seen over and over in the NFL is a player come from under the radar and turn into a superstar. While the Dolphins definitely need a wide receiver and a corner back, it couldn’t hurt for them to strengthen other areas on the team, and to give pure athletic freaks like Davis and Dwyer the opportunity to start over fresh in a new system. I think the Dolphins should use their massive cap space to explore different options in free agency, then use their higher draft picks to fill their most urgent and gaping holes. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They spend a little dough and players like Davis and Dwyer don’t work out in Miami. Not much harm done there. On the flip side, Dwyer and Davis could give this team the extra spark it needs to get back to its winning days. All we can do is hope for the best. FINS UP! ^