A look at the Miami Dolphins roster so far
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have not been as active this free agency period as many had anticipated. Many being media and fans alike. But what does their roster currently look like a full week into free agency?
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Earlier this week Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum told local media that “this years Dolphins roster would kick the shit out of the 2015 roster”. While that would be fun to watch, the reality of the situation is quite different and it sounds a little over-exuberant.
So what does the 2016 roster look like so far? Well, let’s take a look and see if the difference made are worth making that bold of a claim, which really isn’t all that bold considering the 2015 team.
Quarterback – even
The Dolphins have not addressed the position so far this off-season and there is talk they haven’t ruled out Matt Moore to return as the back-up. Pretty much everything revolves around Ryan Tannehill’s ability to work the Adam Gase scheme and they can’t get together to do that until the OTA’s start.
Wide-Receiver – Worse
The Dolphins lost Rishard Matthews to free agency and released Greg Jennings. While Jennings was a worthwhile cut, Matthews played very well. The Dolphins have a small hole to fill at the position with DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Jarvis Landry returning. They still need a solid 4th option and Matt Hazel may or may not be that person. The team also has a slew of potential replacements but none have the experience at the NFL level.
Tight-End – Even
The Dolphins restructured the contract of Jordan Cameron but the restructure was minimal. It does however keep intact the entire position and is one of the only positions Miami doesn’t have to fill.
Running back – Worse
The loss of Lamar Miller hurts especially because the contract was something Miami could easily have done. They failed to land C.J. Anderson and are left with Damien Williams and Jay Ajayi in the back-field. It’s a position they will need to address this off-season.
Offensive tackle – better
The addition of Sam Young and Jermon Bushrod are better options to play tackle than Jason Fox was last year. The Dolphins are going to try and play Bushrod at guard but it’s a position he has never played. Both players will come in around $1 million for the season.
Offensive guard – Push
The Dolphins have not addressed the guard position in free agency. Are they worse this year because of it? No, Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas are still holding the cards at the position and they were terrible last year. Miami’s failure to upgrade the position has put the team in a very bad position because they will need to address it in the draft, thus wasting a valuable pick on a player they could have added in free agency. Miami chose to not overspend at the position and as a result they have failed to address it.
Defensive end – Worse
Olivier Vernon signed the largest contract in this years free agency and the Dolphins replaced him with Mario Williams. Williams is 31 years old and coming off his worst NFL season in 2015. Albeit he was not a fit in the Bills scheme. On the other side Cameron Wake returns but health is a serious question. The Dolphins also lost Derrick Shelby was lost to free agency leaving depth as a problem. They did sign Cleyon Laing of the CFL who could develop into solid depth. Miami reportedly is still looking for cheap options.
Defensive tackle – Push
The Dolphins have yet to add a defensive tackle in free agency. They also have not lost anyone. Miami needs to improve the work of the front defesnive line but it appears that the draft will have to be the target or possibly even 2017.
Linebacker – outside – push
Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi both return and the Dolphins haven’t lost any depth at those two positions.
Linebacker – inside – better
Better is predicated on Kiko Alonso staying healthy. Something he hasn’t done in three seasons. When healthy Alsonso is head and shoulders above Kelvin Sheppard who the Dolphins opted to not re-sign. Miami still needs to get better at the position but they are no longer in range to draft Myles Jack in April’s draft.
Cornerback – push
Miami traded for Byron Maxwell and his huge contract and are hoping that he will return to his 2014 form and not play like he did last year. Maxwell replaces the departed Brent Grimes who arguably played better last season but showed signs of wearing down. On the opposite side Miami has done nothing to address the hole that is being held by Jamar Taylor and Bobby McCain.
Safety – better
The addition of Isa Abdulla-Quddus could be the best signing for the Dolphins this off-season but he will need to prove it. Still he is statistically better than Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens who he will compete with for the starting job.
So did the Dolphins get better this year? Trading big contracts for team friendly deals that tend to look more like rebuild moves. Miami has gotten a lot older and have not fully addressed the positions they entered the off-season needing to fix. Free agency is still young but the talent pool has seriously thinned so it’s starting to look like Miami will enter the draft needing to draft players at several positions. For need and not because they are the best player available.