In 2021, the Miami Dolphins were expected to challenge for a playoff spot if not the division but a poor free agency period led to disappointment.
As we stand upon the cusp of the 2022 start to the NFL league new year and free agency, we should be reminded, or at the very least, Chris Grier should be reminded about the horrible off-season he had in 2021.
Whether or not the decisions were those of Brian Flores or Grier himself, it is not Grier’s job not to make the same mistakes twice.
Like last year, the Dolphins are entering the 2022 off-season with similar needs. Wide receiver, offensive lineman, depth at linebacker, and a defensive end to compliment one already on the roster. Last year we saw Miami address the DE position in the draft but Miami could potentially create their own hole this year if Emmanuel Ogbah leaves for more money.
At WR, injuries once again plagued the roster and the Dolphins failures to recognize that a player with frequent injuries is likely to also repeat being injured.
The Dolphins also failed to address the offensive line as well. After free agency for all intent and purpose ended, many were left thinking that the draft would provide the answers. It did not. Now, a year later we are here once again and if we look back at last years mistakes, we can easily look at Grier and wait to see if he makes them again.
It’s hard to believe that the Dolphins won more games than the lost last year but it is also easy to see why the had a seven game losing streak after beating the Patriots in week one.
Fluker was a late free agent signing but many believed that he would challenge for a starting role on the Dolphins bad offensive line. Instead, he never made it past training camp and was released. Fluker only made slightly more than a million last year and after his release signed with another team but didn’t play a down in the NFL last season.
Fuller was supposed to be a high risk/high reward player but the Dolphins gamble left them shelling out $10 million on a fully guaranteed contract while Fuller spent the season rehabbing a finger fracture. The fracture apparently was in multiple spots and required surgery’s but Fuller’s start to his Miami career wasn’t good. Fuller sat out the first game as part of an NFL suspension dating back the year before then sat out week 10 because he didn’t want to play for the Dolphins. Brian Flores wouldn’t comment on the situation but Fuller returned in week three, caught four passes and didn’t return the rest of the year.
The Dolphins wanted a safety net for Tua Tagovailoa in case he got hurt. Of course he was going to get hurt behind their offensive line. Brissett made sense given his starting experience but in the four games he was needed, he couldn’t lift the Dolphins to a victory. His two credited victories came against the Texans and the Ravens, a game he was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa who led the team to the win.
Carter didn’t make much of an impact in 2021. Primarily used as a blocking TE, Carter saw only 52 snaps all season and played in 16 games. He was the highest paid tight end on the Dolphins last yaer and is under contract currently for 2022.
Skura was a quality signing at the time and was supposed to press Michael Dieter for a starting job. Able to play both center and guard, Skura was likely to land a role at least to provide depth. Instead, the Dolphins cut him before the start of the season. He started 14 games with the Giants and played well.
Brown didn’t get much time to show what he could do but when he was in the game, he wasn’t overly impressive. The Dolphins opted to start him over Myles Gaskin, a move that had fans scratching their heads. Rightfully so too. Brown started in only three games and appeared in seven. He totaled 33 carries for 125 yards with most of those coming as the starter.
McCourty was signed to provide some cheap depth and leadership in the secondary but he lasted only seven games starting four and making very little impact on the roster but if was able to help Miami’s young safeties, it might have been worth it.
Riley provided depth for the Dolphins. He started three games of the 16 he played contributing 26 combined tackles. Riley wasn’t expensive either. He signed for $1.2 million.
The Dolphins made other free agent signings but most of them were depth players or part time starters. The Dolphins continued to build their roster through the draft and tried to develop their young roster. A lot of things worked on defense but offensively, the Dolphins didn’t fix any of their problems and as they enter the 2022 off-season, those same problems and questions are still present.
Chris Grier has to do better than what he did last year and frankly, his 2020 season wasn’t much better. Grier gave Byron Jones $82 million which upset Xavien Howard. They gave Kyle Van Noy a $51 million deal only to release him after one season. They paid Ereck Flowers $30 million and Shaq Lawson $30 million but both lasted only a single season.
For those excited for the 2022 season, the last two years haven’t been glowing for Grier and the Dolphins so while enthusiasm is high, it should also be tempered.