Day one of free agency is ‘in the books’ and the Miami Dolphins were surprisingly very active. With four players already signed, the team appears to be speeding up its rebuild process.
With the caveat that all contract terms agreed to yesterday are not official until 4 pm on Wednesday, the Miami Dolphins appear to have signed four new starters via free agency. Were these good deals? How will they impact the team, and its needs, going forward?
Dolphins agree to terms with OL Ereck Flowers 3yrs/$30M, $19.95M guaranteed, per NFL’s Ian Rapoport.
When the deal was first announced it appeared to be a ‘mind-boggling’ contract. After all, Flowers was considered a ‘draft bust’ after five lackluster years playing tackle. In 2019, however, Flowers signed with Washington. They moved him to guard and he flourished (pun intended).
As a left guard, Flowers probably starts over last year’s starter Michael Deiter. If the Dolphins attempt to move him back to right tackle or worse left tackle, this signing will probably be a disaster. Either way, fans should be concerned about giving $10M/yr to a player who had one good season in a different system.
Agreement with CB Byron Jones 5yrs/$82.5M, guaranteed $ unknown, per Bill Barnwell ESPN.com
Personally, I am not as enthusiastic about this signing as many others due to the lack of takeaways created by Jones; 2 INTs total in five years. Also, he will be 28 years old in September. It’s difficult to imagine that a player like Jones, who relies so heavily on his athleticism, will live up to the back end of his contract. Let’s hope this doesn’t become another Reshad Jones situation.
What can’t be denied is that pairing Jones with current Dolphins CB Xavien Howard gives the Dolphins arguably the best cornerback tandem since the days of Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison.
Agreed with DE Shaq Lawson 3yrs/$30M (up to $36M w/incentives),$21M guaranteed, per Joe Schad of The Palm Beach Post.
Lawson was a player I personally campaigned for the Dolphins to select in 2016 before LT Laremy Tunsil fell to the team on draft night. His career path looks a lot like current wide receiver Devante Parker’s (productive when he plays but often injured.)
The signing of Lawson gives the Dolphins a potential pass rusher coming off the edge but immediately becomes the best “edge-setting DE” on the roster. The hope is that being reunited with his old DL coach (Marion Hobby) from Clemson can kick-start Lawson’s career into the next gear.
Agreed to deal with LB Kyle Van Noy on 4yr/$51M deal, $30M guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport.
Van Noy gets reunited with his former defensive coordinator Brian Flores in Miami. What does he bring to the team? He’s somewhat limited in coverage but he brings a definite knack for getting to the passer and even provides support against the run.
Barring any further major acquisitions, Van Noy probably pairs with Lawson on third down to provide the Dolphins main source of pass-rushing pressure and provides flexibility on the defensive front b/c of his ability to both rush and drop into coverage.
WR DeAndre Hopkins traded from Houston to Arizona
While the trade by itself doesn’t impact the Dolphins 2020 season, it’s natural to expect the Texans to take a ‘step back’ on offense without their best wide receiver. With the Dolphins holding the Texans 1st and 2nd round picks, it’s hard to NOT feel this trade helps the Dolphins in 2021.
Possible free agents left to target this week
With HC Brian Flores’ affinity for ex-Patriots, it would not surprise anybody if the Dolphins pursue/sign C Ted Karras. The release of Daniel Kilgore has opened up a vacancy in the middle of the Dolphins offensive line and Karras filled in very well for injured Pats starting center David Andrews last season.
Another center worth investigating is Ravens restricted free agent Matt Skura. This signing is less likely because the Ravens can match any offer and due to the current rules in place barring team doctors from traveling to examine players.
Defensive tackles Damon Harrison, D.J. Reader and Chris Jones. Harrison probably requires the small-cap investment but he’s 31 and strictly a “space eater” in the middle.
The reader should be the ‘just right’ of the Goldilocks trio of DT’s because he offers better production than Harrison and is only 25 years old. That said, he is highly sought after and won’t come cheaply. Do the Dolphins have one more big signing left in them?
As for Jones, he is clearly the best of the three players because he offers proven pass-rushing production on top of playing the run. He’s a ‘long shot’ for the Dolphins because not only will he command Aaron Donald-type money but, since he’s under the franchise tag, it will probably take multiple picks to pry him away from Kansas City.
There you have it Dolphins fans! Tell us what you think of the Dolphins moves so far.