Miami Dolphins 2015 Free Agency- Week 1 Grades


The Miami Dolphins have made some noise in the first week of free agency, let’s grade them at the end of this first week. The Phins definitely made their presence known this week in no uncertain terms. The moves they have made thus far have a very different feel to them. Previously Dolphins fans might have felt like the moves being made were all for naught as the splash wouldn’t translate to success. This year is decidedly different, the moves are smart and provide serious hope to a fan base that has been clamoring for that for far too long. This could all be tied to the new reign of Mike Tannenbaum, who based on this week’s moves is being revered by Dolphins faithful. This is no slight to Dennis Hickey as I personally feel he did the best he could last offseason while still being shackled from the mistakes of Jeff Ireland’s previous regime. So without further ado, let’s get to the grading of this first week.

Signing Ndamukong Suh– This move is excellent. It brings a real difference maker to the defense and makes every single player on the defense better. His presence allows the rest of the defensive line to face single teams 90% of the time going forward thereby giving them a far better chance of making a play. Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon will have career years with offensive lines no longer double teaming them. Earl Mitchell and the rest of the defensive tackle rotation will take advantage of the lesser attention and miscues that having a player like Suh’s caliber will do to an O line. The linebackers will be able to make more plays with the running lanes more clogged than they have ever previously seen them and will have to worry about one less blocker in their way on blitz packages. The secondary will take advantage of more errant throws by QB’s and also have to cover for far less time as I am predicting a drop of at least half a second in time allotted to QB’s to get the ball out. His contract is huge but his impact is also huge so I feel it is not really that much of an overpayment. Grade- A

Signing Brice McCain– This is a great under the radar signing as he was very effective for Pittsburgh. He can come in and day one be the starter in the slot. This league is seeing less and less two receiver sets so having a guy that can lock down the slot corner spot is imperative. He is an ascending player and getting him at the price they did is great value. Grade- B+

Signing Jordan Cameron– This move if nothing else is excellent insurance. The Dolphins are now supposedly expecting to lose Charles Clay and having someone else that is proven to be a number one tight end already on the roster is huge. Also If you have seen any of my previous thoughts on tight end you will see that I begged for a taller addition to the stable. Cameron is a proven redzone threat and a previous pro-bowl player. Having an insurance policy like that is not shabby at all. Having one with his upside is truly incredible especially with an ascending QB in Ryan Tannehill, the Miami  Dolphins might have just found their QB a new best friend. Grade- A+

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Trading Dannell Ellerbe and a 3rd for Kenny Stills– This move was really about getting something for nothing. They were planning on dumping Ellerbe’s contract anyways if they could not find a trade partner as he has never lived up to his hefty price tag. They found someone willing to take that cap hit on in the New Orleans Saints. Looking at the other side of this getting Kenny Stills for a 3rd round pick is a great move. In the draft there is always the possibility that a player doesn’t pan out, there are no guarantees. Kenny Stills has already proven to be productive, already proven to be an NFL deep threat, and already proven to be able to help an offense. This is simply not something guaranteed in any round of the NFL draft. Could that third round pick have netted the Dolphins something better? Sure. Could it have netted them something worse? Sure. This move takes the guessing game out of that pick, as it gets them someone already proven to be productive in the NFL. It also made Mike Wallace far more expendable than he previously was. Grade- B+

Trading Mike Wallace and a 7th round pick for a 5th round pick– Again, something for nothing. If the Miami Dolphins didn’t dump Mike Wallace this year they would have next year. He is not a fit in this offense, never has been and never would be. It says a lot that he was as productive as he was because he had to change himself just to reach that level of productivity, which I applaud him for. But the truth is he was not being used in a way that really played to his strengths, which hurts his own stock. It was best for both him and the franchise that they split up. Especially after the week 17 meltdown. Getting a 5th rounder for someone that they were going to get nothing for eventually dropping was very shrewd. It showed that this franchise will do whatever they can to maximize the returns on their moves. Grade- A-

The Dolphins have done great this first week and in truth deserve an A for the moves made in their first week. However I cannot in good conscience give them an A, because they have yet to sign a guard or, more importantly, a safety. As I have previously written this draft is notoriously weak at safety so I believe they need to have already signed somebody to fill this spot. Maybe they have a trick up their sleeve or someone on the roster that they already believe in, time will tell. So as far as actual moves I would give them an A but the final week one grade is a combination of what they have done and what they have failed to do. Final Week One Grade- B+