Miami Dolphins free agency so far: The good and the better than good

Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Eric Saubert (82) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Eric Saubert (82) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins have had a busy opening to free agency and while some moves have come with a lot of applause, some have come with whimpers.

Chris Grier still has a lot of work to do and as of yet, hasn’t needed to make more cap space to get it done. As expected, recent moves have been on the minor side of free agency. Re-signing in-house free agents, adding some depth on one and two-year low-cap contracts, and not much more.

All of this should have been expected to some degree. The Dolphins entered the 2023 free agency period needing to shave $16 million in red space just to get to the NFL-mandated cap. Then they needed to make restructures to get spending money.

Miami restructured the following.

  • Tyreek Hill
  • Terron Armstead
  • Bradley Chubb

After they traded for Jalen Ramsey, they restructured that contract as well.

The Dolphins’ big move was clearly Jalen Ramsey and while they seemed ready to pounce on a big running back move, that seemed to fall through with very little rumor and less speculation. Since Ramsey, the Dolphins have been, well, quietly doing what they have to fill in the roster.

Miami entered free agency with 28 impending free agents so there were big holes along the roster. Miami has filled many of them.

The Miami Dolphins offense has taken a big backseat to what Chris Grier is giving Vic Fangio for his defense.

Miami Dolphins fans thought for sure Chris Grier would attack the offensive side of the ball early in free agency given the fact they had no running backs under contract and only one tight end. That hasn’t actually been the case so far. More players have been “retained” on offense but the defense has got the money so far.

Free agency has only been official since Wednesday and the entire NFL was quieter across the board during the tampering period than in years past. Miami’s moves have been simple to say the least on offense.

Salvon Ahmed – Re-signed before the start of free agency. A quality backup who knows the system.  Smart backup option for depth at low cost.

Raheem Mostert – Lower contract and only two years at most. Played very well last season in McDaniel’s offense until the injury. Smart addition and not unexpected.

Jeff Wilson, Jr. – No surprise in his return. Miami traded a 5th-round pick for half a season of work. The injury sidelined a solid performance. Smart move on a 2-year deal.

Myles Gaskin – Camp competition on a one-year deal. Most surprising was his wanting to come back after sitting most of last year. Good value for the Dolphins’ depth.

Eric Saubert – Miami’s first of what should be 3 TE additions this off-season has value and upside potential. Good blocker and pass catcher but has yet to make a big NFL impact. Smart move by Miiami but not the full answer at the position.

Mike White – Solid backup option behind Tua Tagovailoa but not a QB many believe can carry the team if Tua goes down.

Geron Christian – offensive tackle with starting experience who spent time with Miami last year as a depth player. Will compete for a roster spot, not a starting spot.

Dan Feeney – Can play center, guard, and tackle but is signed as a depth player, not a starter or a player to compete for a starting job. Feeney is the replacement for Michael Dieter.

Overall – After three days, the Dolphins have filled in holes with players that know the system, will compete for a roster spot, and come with only a one or two-year deal at most. Low-cost players who can contribute. Grade so far – B

The Miami Dolphins spent far more time trying to identify players that can help the defensive side of the ball but work still remains.

Vic Fangio is going to have some quality players to work with this off-season as he reshapes the Dolphins entire defensive system and veers away from the constant use of the Cover-Zero blitzing that the Dolphins have used the last four years.

David Long – Fantastic high-energy quality linebacker who will make the defense better but has injury question marks. Availability will be the key to his Dolphins success.

Duke Riley – Returns to keep Miami’s linebackers stocked with depth.

Nik Needham – Returns on a one-year deal after Achilles injury ended his 2022 season.

Deshon Elliot – A surprise addition who has big-game playmaking ability. Comes much cheaper than expected on a two-year contract. Smart safety will free up Brandon Jones to roam the secondary.

Jalen Ramsey – Miami added the 6th best CB in the NFL last season for a 3rd round pick and Hunter Long. Clearly winning a trade that makes Miami’s secondary one of the best in the league.

Overall – There is still work to be done but if the Dolphins don’t see the need to move on from some players they could simply wait out the draft and fill in holes as needed. The biggest question is whether or not Jerome Baker will stick around and if Christian Wilkins will get an extension. Grade so far – A