As the 2017 free agency period approached the Miami Dolphins made a trade that would bring a familiar face to Adam Case and his offense. Whether this tight end trade works out will known soon enough.
Julius Thomas thrived in the Adam Gase offense while in Denver but was he the product of Gase’s offense or the mental acuity of Peyton Manning? His career in Denver led to a hefty free agent contract with the Jaguars that he came nowhere close to living up to.
The Dolphins have struggled to find a suitable option at tight-end for years now. While Charles Clay was good he was never great. Dion Sims made positive strides but his game never was as rounded as the Dolphins had hoped. Jordan Cameron simply couldn’t stay healthy.
With so many other needs on the team, the Dolphins have yet to address the position early in the draft but instead have relied on deeper prospects later in the draft. The trade for Thomas came with the hopes of reigniting his career while giving the Dolphins a legit seam threat tight end in their passing game.
Thomas struggled in Jacksonville where he personally has said he didn’t feel as though it was a good fit. Ironically it was Thomas who had reached out to Jordan Cameron during the 2016 off-season and encouraged him to take a pay cut to play for Adam Gase. Now a year removed, Cameron is gone and Thomas is returning to a system that is better suited to his talent.
Of course nothing will matter if Thomas and Ryan Tannehill are not on the same page. The two have been working together on timing showing maturity on both of their parts. When healthy and playing at the level he did in Denver, Thomas is a hard tight-end to cover and a harder one to tackle. The Dolphins offense could take a major step forward if Thomas returns to his pro-bowl form.
Admittedly Fasano is one of this author’s favorite players. Fasano plays with an old-school physicality and mentality. He won’t burn you up field but his blocking is near the top in the league and he is able to create space within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Miami signed Fasano during the off-season after they allowed Dion Sims to leave in free agency. Fasano has shown more consistency than Sims over his career and should give the Dolphins a legitimate two TE set that can be used in the passing game.
Gray saw some action in 2016 and showed a lot of promise on the field. He will find himself competing for one or two roster spots this training camp. Gray isn’t a lock to make the team but he is pretty close as Miami doesn’t have a lot of proven talent outside of Fasano and Thomas.
The former 7th round draft pick spent most of 2016 on the practice squad and he will need to have a very good camp if he hopes to get off of it. Duarte is a blocking tight-end and needs to work on his footwork to keep faster DE’s out of the pocket but he is progressing. 7th round picks are often hard to predict and Duarte is not the exception.
The Dolphins list Pantale at 6-6/6-5 on their website (I have no idea, maybe he was in bare feet for the 2nd weight in). Regardless he is one of the tallest TE’s on the roster and has at least two maybe three inches on Duarte.
Pantale will need a very good camp to convince the Dolphins he has more to offer than Duarte but both are likely going to be relegated to competing for a practice squad spot.