Frankly the best off-season move is really two off-season moves. The Dolphins have set themselves up nicely with the moves we have already mentioned but these two additions could really impact both sides of the ball in 2017.
Offensively the best off-season move was the trade for tight-end Julius Thomas. Thomas was nothing near his Denver playing days under Adam Gase and the addition of Thomas in the Adam Gase offense could have huge implications, especially in the red-zone.
The Dolphins had hoped that Jordan Cameron would excel in the Gase offense last season but again concussions took him out of the lineup than off the roster and finally out of the league as he has now retired. With Cameron out the Dolphins turned to Dion Sims but Sims never really had the impact that Gase had hoped for. He is hoping he gets that with the Thomas return to his offense.
In addition to Thomas the Dolphins brought back Anthony Fasano. Fasano isn’t a seam threat or a red-zone threat but he is a very capable blocking tight-end who has the ability to catch passes. Fasano could see his production return in this offense and in two tight end sets the Dolphins could be very lethal inside the 10.
On the defensive side of the ball it was another trade that brought William Hayes to the team for a 7th round draft pick.
Hayes is an outstanding run stopping defensive end who is can hold the edge well and set the outside. By doing this runners are redirected back towards the center of the line where the linebackers can attack.
The addition of Hayes will allow Miami to rotate Andre Branch, keeping his legs fresh throughout the game. The Dolphins opted to renegotiate Haye’s contract that now makes him a free agent at the end of the year.
The Dolphins are hoping to draft a defensive end but they will now have the opportunity to rent Hayes for a year and then decide whether or not they should extend him a longer contract.
Some will have read through here and wondered where Kenny Stills was. He wasn’t forgotten. The re-signing of Stills is very important for the message it sends to the team. Perform and you will be rewarded. Miami made a strong commitment this season to retain their own players and that started with Stills.
Miami’s offense should be better in 2017 with another off-season to learn the Gase offense as well as upgrades and retention. As Still has made it clear, this is a “new Miami”.