Dolphins early moves show no sign of a rebuild

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Josh Sitton /

After trading away Jarvis Landry and then announcing their plan to cut Ndamukong Suh, it looked like Miami was setting themselves up for a rebuild. The front office, however, appears to have other ideas.

When the Miami Dolphins finally agreed to trade Jarvis Landry to the Browns last Friday it did not come at much surprise. It was somewhat surprising though to learn that the team had planned to release Ndamukong Suh from his contract just a few days later. Suh was due a whopping $26 million this coming season, but because of a past restructure it was well known that Miami was on the hook for a large chunk of that cash no matter their intentions for him. The Dolphins are set on a “culture change”, however, and decided it was best to move on from Suh. Miami will now be forced to eat $22 million of that salary split between this year and next.

As far as Landry goes, all signs point to the fact that Miami wanted to keep him, but his asking price was too high. Reports have surfaced this week claiming that Landry was seeking a contract of $15 million annually, with $50 million guaranteed. If that is accurate, then the Dolphins made the right decision in letting him go.

After news broke that Suh would be released, it looked like a rebuild was coming for Miami. I admit that I would have been fine with a reset even though it may have been painful to watch the Dolphins this year. Let’s be honest, it’s been painful for the better part of this century. The only question I had was, “How does the same front office that gave these bloated contracts away also get to be in charge of the rebuild”? I quickly got my answer.

There is no rebuild.

As soon as the legal tampering began, Miami moved quickly to sign slot receivers Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola, formerly of Kansas City and New England, respectively. Both players are great in their respective roles, and have a high football IQ. Wilson’s numbers may not justify it, but he’s a very intelligent player that will likely pick up the playbook rather quickly. Amendola, when healthy, has always been an exceptional player, but injuries are a concern.

Combining for $13.9 million, both players still come cheaper than what Landry will make this year ($15.9 million). Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald summed up the moves in one tweet.

The Dolphins have not stopped since then either. They’ve since extended a two-year deal to defensive back, and special teams ace, Walt Aikens. They also re-signed William Hayes to a one-year deal. Hayes will now be reignited with his former teammate, Robert Quinn, who Miami traded for less than two weeks ago. The acquisition of Quinn and re-signing of Hayes gives the Dolphins a solid group of pass rushers. It still remains to be seen how they proceed with Cameron Wake, but it appears that both sides will agree to an extension shortly.

To clear up more cap space, Miami also restructured the contracts of safety Reshad Jones and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The restructure of Tannehill may not sit well with those fans who are not on board with Tannehill as the starter, but the move indicates that he’ll remain with the team for at least the next two seasons. The restructure of both players freed up more than $17.5 million in available cap space.

More from Dolphins Free Agency

Miami opted to use that available cash to spend on an area we’re not accustomed to seeing – the offensive line. More notably, a guard. Even more notably, a very good guard. The Dolphins inked Pro Bowl player Josh Sitton today to a two-year deal worth $18 million, with $8 million guaranteed. In fact, it could be argued that the Dolphins are rebuilding. They’re finally rebuilding the offensive line that they should have done long ago.

At roughly the same time Miami was signing Sitton, veteran center Mike Pouncey had formidably asked for his release, in which the Dolphins granted. It didn’t take long for Miami to find his replacement, however. The Dolphins finalized a trade with San Francisco that netted the team Dan Kilgore. All it cost Miami was a swap of seventh round picks. In addition, they’re bringing back longtime Dolphin John Denney.

It’s highly possible that the Dolphins are not finished this off-season. They could still look to add a tight end or linebacker prior to the NFL Draft. The moves they’ve made thus far do allow the team to provide some valuable depth when the draft does come around. Who knows how these moves will transition to their on the field success? But it’s clear that Miami is not interested in waving the white flag anytime soon, and that they believe they have the team now that can get them back into the playoffs.