Dolphins 2017 big-money blunders make us question front office
LB Kiko Alonso
Moving on to the 3rd contract that did not work in the organizations favor: the extension of linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Alonso came off a highly impressive 2016 season playing as a middle linebacker for the Dolphins after being acquired by trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. His first season with the team impressed the Dolphins so much they placed a 1st-round Tender on him during the 2016 offseason, and later signed him to a 4-year/$28.9 million deal.
Did the Dolphins appear to have signed a good player at that moment? Yes.
But that was before they moved Alonso from middle to outside. A move that made sense based on Alonso’s athletic ability and lack of ideal size for the MIKE position, but did not transition to being able to cover opposing players on Sunday’s.
Essentially, the Dolphins signed a player to a long-term deal without knowing whether or not he could handle his new position at OLB.
And the Dolphins knew they were going to move him there before the 2017 season based on rumblings weeks during the end of the 2016 season.
DE Andre Branch
Branch signed a 3-year/$24 million contract before hitting 2017 free agency.
Good for him.
Good for his mom.
Bad for the Miami Dolphins.
Andre Branch has some good qualities: High motor, lengthy, athletic…
But he should not be paid as a defensive end with the 14th-highest cap hit in 2018 ($10 million), and certainly should not be the 11th highest-paid 4-3 defensive end based on average per year.
This is a lot of money to invest into a player who has never surpassed his career-high record of 6 sacks in a single season.
The Dolphins were thin at DE during this period of the 2017 offseason, but it doesn’t mean the right decision is to overpay a former Jacksonville Jaguars 2nd-round disappointment almost the same base salary as their current #1 pass rusher Cameron Wake.
TE Julius Thomas
Julius Thomas came to the Dolphins after 2 disappointing injury-riddled seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Playing on a big-money contract he signed with the Jaguars in 2015, the team decided he wasn’t worth the $9.2 million per year average he was making, and soon found his way on the Miami Dolphins after a trade and restructuring of his contract.
The Dolphins acquired the tight end for a 2017 7th-round pick, and considering the team needed tight end help and a red zone threat, the deal seemed almost like a bargain.
Like Cutler, head coach Gase worked with Thomas in the past and the 2 were expected to have success again.
However, it took Thomas longer than expected to get involved in the offense. During training camp and preseason, the tight end was rarely targeted and this continued into the regular season.
At times, Thomas was able to demonstrate his skills at being a receiving threat when streaking down the sideline in 1-on-1 coverage. But in many of these cases, he and quarterback Jay Cutler were unable to connect.
His overall lack of involvement and production combined with his cap hit has led many to believe his status with the Miami Dolphins is doubtful for 2018.
Excluding Jay Cutler, these deals make up 4 of the Dolphins Top 11 highest-paid players on the roster for 2018. Leading fans to question the abilities of Adam Gase & Chris Grier to evaluate talent effectively, and Mike Tannenbaum’s duty to spend money on players accordingly.
The 3 faces of the Miami Dolphins front office are entering their 3rd season working together and many questions regarding free agency and the draft still linger.