The Miami Dolphins are building for success but it may not be long term
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have made moves in the last couple of years that would indicate a win-now mentality but others believe it’s for the future.
When you look at the Miami Dolphins roster it is hard to imagine a more competitive team. The offense is a piece or two away from dominating the NFL. Defensively, pieces are in place for a top-five unit, especially under Vic Fangio.
The question is whether or not this team can have sustainable success for years to come.
The New England Patriots, Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and a few other teams over the last decade or so have been dominant for long stretches. Currently, the Chiefs are at the top of continued success. Once a team shows they can win year after year, other teams try to emulate that, but most fail.
In Miami, the Dolphins gutted the franchise in 2019 and then looked to slowly start building for the future. The wheels on the bus fell off in 2021 and Brian Flores was let go. Miami hired Mike McDaniel and then suddenly looked like a team hellbent on throwing everything out the window in an effort to accelerate the rebuild.
Terron Armstead, Tyreek Hill, and Bradley Chubb highlighted the 2022 roster changes. The Dolphins went from a year or two away from competing to a team some thought could challenge for a deep playoff run. Yes, injuries destroyed that but the core of the team is still set up for success. At least for this year.
Miami can try and add pieces in free agency and in a week’s time we will know what their plans are in that regard but in order to maintain continued success, they have to rebuild the team through the draft and so far, they haven’t succeeded in that regard.
Miami has 28 impending free agents this year. They will have 16 next year including around five key members of the team.
Here is where we have to wonder out loud if the Dolphins success can be continued for years. In 2025, only 11 players are under contract as of today. That will change with free agency and this year’s draft but that also brings up the point, Miami has to draft well to build the core of the roster for the future. Otherwise, they are turning over the roster in a couple of seasons.
The win-now mentality works well enough when a team is successful and only a player or two away from taking the next big step. Compare this to the Eagles who made the Super Bowl last year. They have 36 players under contract in 2024 and 18 in 2025. Miami has 27 players under contract next season.
Miami has to find a system that will work both in terms of salary and talent. It’s a balance. So far I’m not sure the Dolphins have found that balance. They are getting better and when you look back over the last 15 years, it is now head and shoulders above what it used to be. But is it enough?
Winning is what will determine it all. So far, the Dolphins found some moderate success over the last two seasons and last year, they looked close until Tua Tagovailoa went down.
Is this team built for sustained success? Time will tell.