We knew that the Miami Dolphins were going to run the ball in 2022. But do they need 7+ backs on the roster to do so?
We are officially in full swing on NFL free agency, and the Miami Dolphins have been one of the most active teams over the first few days.
Much of the money that the Dolphins have spent has been on re-signing former players and adding guys on value contracts, which is a lackluster start after promises of big spending and aggressive moves. But one area that general manager Chris Grier and new head coach Mike McDaniel made sure to focus on was the offensive backfield. Through Wednesday evening, three of the seven free agent players that the Dolphins have signed are running backs and full backs. It is very apparent what the offensive focus is going to be for the upcoming season, and fans should be excited to experience a legit run game.
The first player signed was former Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds who spent the first four years of his career in Arizona. He will likely be the Dolphins “feature back”, and will probably be the one getting credit for starting the game. But given the signings that came after Edmonds, it is surely looking like there will be a running back by committee system in place.
On Wednesday, Miami doubled down on its backfield focus. First came the signing of Alec Ingold, a full back that will be ever-important to coach McDaniel’s running scheme. He becomes the second-highest paid FB in the league, and should be valuable to Miami given their new system. A few hours later, they went out and signed Raheem Mostert, the speedy half back from the San Francisco 49ers. He has struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons, but there are few players who know this particular system better than he does.
And then there are the guys who remain from last season. Myles Gaskin is still under contract, and there haven’t been any rumblings about him being cut. The guy who was the Dolphins’ feature back going in to 2021 could end up being 3rd or 4th string just a year later, or off of the team completely. In addition to Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed was tendered exclusive rights by Miami, keeping him in South Florida for another year. Let’s not forget that Ahmed originally signed as an undrafted free agent with McDaniel’s 49ers a couple of years ago before latching on to the Dolphins’ practice squad.
So who are all of the running backs under contract?
Seems a little crowded, eh? There will certainly be some trimming of the fat as the season approaches, but many of these guys are new signings. That leaves Gaskin and Doaks as potentially the odd men out.
There is also the possibility that Miami uses one of their draft picks on a running back. When it comes to the later rounds, I have personally fallen in love with the fit of Dameon Pierce from Florida, a blocking running back who wouldn’t cost more than a 3rd or 4th. Given how crowded the roster is at the moment, this may seem like a far-fetched idea. But there is a lot of off season fun still to be had, so don’t be surprised to see even more changes to the offensive backfield.