Every year during the NFL draft, teams want to address their weaknesses, get younger and replace aging starters.
Veterans cost more money. Plus, football causes the human body to wear down and veteran players tend to hit a wall suddenly and production drops. The Miami Dolphins’ selections this past weekend represent the beginning of the end for some veteran Miami Dolphins players.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell is due $10 million next year and could be released with no hit to the cap. He will either play for $10 million for the Dolphins or become a free agent with the possibility of one last pay-day in 2018.
Maxwell knows the situation. It is unlikely for the Dolphins to retain Maxwell for 2018, but if he is a top 5 cornerback maybe Miami will keep him for the next season.
A top 5 corner in the NFL for $10 million has good value, but the 50th best corner in the NFL for $10 million does not. The selection of CB Cordrea Tankersley in the third round will likely lead to the release of Maxwell. The plan would be for Tankersley to start in 2018 with proper development in 2017.
Linebacker Koa Misi is considered unreliable since he has missed so many games due to injuries the past few seasons. He still needs to be cleared medically to play this season.
Misi is a free agent at the end of the 2017 season and is not in the future plans of the Dolphins. Raekwon McMillan was selected in the second round to replace Koa Misi as a starter. The Dolphins organization hopes it’s in 2017, not 2018.
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Defensive End Cameron Wake is 35 years old. The Dolphins drafted Charles Harris to be the future threat off the edge when Wake steps away from the game. Harris will not start, but be in the defensive line rotation in 2017.
Nevertheless, Harris is expected to start with Andre Branch at defensive end by the 2018 season. Wake will be a pass rush specialist playing 20 to 30 snaps a game.
If Harris is not the starter by the beginning of 2018, it will be a big disappointment. However, If anyone can prove people wrong and play for another few years at a high level, it would be Wake.
A poor motor and playing inconsistently are two complaints by coaches and commentators against Defensive Tackle Jordan Phillips. The organization needed depth at the defensive tackle position and wanted to motivate Phillips.
As a result, the Dolphins drafted two defensive tackles in the late rounds of the draft, Davon Dochaux and Vincent Taylor, to compete with each other and Phillips. Phillips has the opportunity to establish himself as a starter this season, but if he can’t there are two hungry draftees hunting for that position.
Guard Jermon Bushrod signed a one-year deal for $3 million with the Dolphins. He is a stop-gap player and is not a long term solution for the Dolphins at guard. Isaac Asiata from Utah is a player who many believe can be a starting guard in the NFL.
The Dolphins have a vision of him competing in 2017 and being elevated to a starter in 2018. Bushrod is guaranteed $2,225,000 in his contract, so he’ll most likely be on the team in 2017, but it is unlikely in 2018.
Football will continually replace veteran players with younger cheaper players. Today, Harris replaces Wake, Tankersley replaces Maxwell, and McMillan replaces Misi. In ten years, another draft will have three young players replace Harris, Tankersley and McMillan.