All NFL rosters rotate on a regular basis. Unlike my colleague Brian Miller, I am not that worried about the Dolphins depth.
With a new coaching staff taking over in 2016, the Miami Dolphins are suffering from the same thing as every other club that changes its head coach; the scheme doesn’t match the personnel. Below I will take you position-by-position and show you why things aren’t as bad as they may appear.
I agree that Ryan Tannehill is entering a “make or break” year in 2016. He hasn’t been challenged for his job since his rookie season in 2012.
Where my opinion differs from Brian’s is that, barring a “Sam Bradford-esque” trade, Tannehill will probably be a Dolphin in 2017 either way. It makes no sense to release him to save $10M under the cap.
If Tannehill improves under the guidance of Adam Gase then Miami has their starting QB. If he regresses, expect a high draft pick in 2017; which means the Dolphins are probably drafting his replacement in the first round of the draft. Either way, Miami’s QB situation will be resolved in the next 12 months.
As for the backup QB situation, Matt Moore needs to be replaced with a younger, and less expensive, option regardless of Miami’s record this year. It’s doubtful that Brandon Doughty is that replacement but I will leave that to Adam Gase to decide.
As of today, Jay Ajayi is the Dolphins starting RB but he isn’t even considered the best back on the roster. (Too much dancing in the backfield, injuries and suspect hands.)
Recent history has shown that Arian Foster cannot stay healthy this year so I’m not counting on him past 2016. Injury issues have also plagued Kenyan Drake in college and so far in the NFL.
None of this paints a rosy picture of the RB position but, like my colleague pointed out, running back is a position that can easily be filled via the draft or free agency. (Signing Mack Brown off the Redskins practice squad would be a good start.)
Jarvis Landry’s situation isn’t as worrisome as you may think. He is under contract for two more years. While Brian would have you believe that Leonte Carroo fills Kenny Still’s position, he is actually better suited to fill Landry’s (physical possession WR).
If Gase and Tannenbaum were correct of their assessment of Carroo, the 2017 3rd rounder given up for Carroo gives Miami two years to mold him into Landry’s replacement.
Meanwhile, Kenny Stills and newly acquired Justin Hunter are comparable wide receivers. They are both vertical threats whose production hasn’t matched their talent. Both also have contracts ending in 2016 so Miami only needs to resign one of them.
Depending on his ability to stay on the field, Devante Parker is either Miami’s future #1 WR or joins the list of Miami’s first round busts at the position. Either way, he is under Dolphins control for 2-3 more years.
Jakeem Grant is counted on the roster at WR but, best case scenario, has him filling a ‘Devin Hester’ role on this team. (PR/KR used sparingly on offense as a gimmick.)