The Miami Dolphins needed a linebacker. The Miami Dolphins needed an edge rusher. A running back, a wide receiver, and a center. Or so we all thought.
After almost two full days of open negotiating with impending free agents, the Dolphins have signed a punter, a special teams player, tendered a tackle, traded for a Pro Bowl linebacker, and traded for a former first-round no-risk offensive lineman. They are not too concerned about their roster.
While the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New England Patriots continue to set the free-agent market in several players signed and money spent, I picture Chris Grier and Brian Flores sitting in an office sipping tea. No urgency, no flashy spending, just letting the chips fall while listening to the Rolling Stones sing “you can’t always get what you want”.
The initial shock of the Dolphins’ intentions not to open their bank accounts and flood the team with anything they could get has worn off and in its place, we have a clearer picture of what they may believe is truly needs vs. value.
Speculation continues that the Dolphins are pushing hard for Patriots center David Andrews. Maybe that happens if the price is right. They are supposedly still high on landing a top WR but it is clear they will not set the bar for the other free agents in the class. Miami may very well be content with what they have on the roster right now.
Alberty Wilson, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, and DeVante Parker fill out the roster but they are in a position to draft a top prospect in late April. The contracts are reasonable and maybe they believe that this year won’t be the year they challenge 100% for the AFC East. Maybe their plan all along has been to get to year four of this rebuild. If that is the case, this is a smart move not to overspend on “names” instead of being smart.
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This is not to say that the Dolphins will not add a Curtis Samuel, or a JuJu Smith-Schuster, or a Kenny Golladay. They very well might. They could also add Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, or Leonard Fournette if they desire, but it seems they are not willing to pony up big contracts for players that will not likely have a future beyond a season or two. They did that last year and it was costly.
Miami fans may not like this approach and admittedly it is far less sexy than what the Patriots are doing, but we have also been down this road before. Not once, not twice, but every year under Jeff Ireland, and at times with Adam Gase.
If there is one thing fans know, it is that the right pieces are the best for a team rather than the most expensive. Maybe the Dolphins have figured that out as well. Not flashy, not exciting, but smart.
If there is one thing that is clear from these early days of free agency, it’s that the Dolphins don’t appear to be worried or they would be dumping rosters and throwing big money at players to make them better. On paper.