Miami Dolphins expected to undergo a youth movement
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins are going to be an interesting team to watch this off-season and it may be quite boring for the fans.
When the league new year begins in mid-March the Miami Dolphins will have already started what is expected to be a youth movement within the organization. That means veterans will be gone and contracts will be terminated. If this is true and all indications point to it being so, the Dolphins will not be a very good football team in 2019.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, that is exactly what the Dolphins are hoping to be in 2019. Not very good. Salguero loves the word “tank” and he throws it out quite often on social media. To him “tank” is not akin to losing on purpose but expecting to lose based on inexperience.
The Dolphins have nine players currently on the roster that are over 30 years of age and four more on their injured reserve list. Of the four on IR none are expected to return. They include guard Josh Sitton and center Daniel Kilgore, defensive end William Hayes and running back Frank Gore.
Of those over 30 who did not end the season on IR it is up in the air. Reshad Jones will return at the age of 30 simply because his contract is not something Miami can get out of. Ryan Tannehill is expected to be traded or released. Salguero says that Tannehill is aware of his future with Miami being in doubt or over.
At 31 Ziggy Hood is unlikely to return and the futures of two Dolphins back-up offensive lineman are not looking likely either. Sam Young and Ted Larsen are both 31. Then there is Danny Amendola at $6 million in 2019 and 33 years of age.
Amendola is interesting because his Miami would save the entire amount by releasing him but both Brian Flores and potential OC Chad O’Shea know him very well.
Cameron Wake is an impending free agent and 37 years old. He wants to continue playing and would like to stay with the Dolphins but is that feeling mutual? Maybe not, and the same can be said for John Denney who is 40 years old. Denney at least is a long snapper so his return for another season seems likely unless he retires.
It’s not just the 30-year-old players that are on the bubble. MarQuies Gray is coming off a major injury and is currently 29. Brice Butler played well down the stretch as an added WR but he too is 29 as is Brandon Bolden and Andre Branch.
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Branch is likely gone. At 28 players like Kiko Alonso and Robert Quinn are on the bubble heading into the off-season and both save the Dolphins money in cap space.
The Dolphins appear to be taking the inexperienced route to ‘tanking’ if that is indeed what they are hoping to achieve. They will sign young free agents who are not expensive to fill out the roster. They will evaluate them in 2019 and rely on their ability to draft playmakers.
It was reported on social media earlier this week that the Dolphins, specifically Stephen Ross, are very high on Tua Tagovailoa. They are also interested in Justin Herbert. That is if the reports are true. This time of year speculation, rumor, reports, and everything else can basically be nothing more than smoke screens to perhaps get a player they like this year to fall.
How Miami approaches the off-season will be the tell-tale sign of what they intend to achieve or not achieve in 2019. The common expectation is that the Dolphins are going to approach this off-season cheaply in the hopes of rolling a lot of money over to 2020 and 2021 after the team is more rounded with talent.
It is a play that the Dolphins have not made in a very long time but it is one that is long overdue. Miami is the only team in the NFL who has selected between the 10th and 23rd spot in the draft consistently on average over the last 10 years. That is mediocre football and needs to be changed.
Apparently they believe that they can change this by fielding a team that will compete and learn without high expectations. It’s a risky play but in reality, nothing else has worked so far.
A youth movement across the board is expected and if this is the plan for the Dolphins this off-season they may end up being the youngest team in the NFL.