3 free agents the Miami Dolphins were wise to avoid

Miami spent some money this offseason, but at least it wasn't on these guys.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages
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Has any team that's actually tried to spend money during free agency had a weirder month than the Dolphins?

Losing one guy to a $100 million contract almost always (or most of the time, at least) stings, and Miami lost two – defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and offensive lineman Robert Hunt. Two of the offseason's three biggest contracts that have been handed out so far went to Dolphins players, neither of which will be playing in Miami next season.

To their credit, they've done an admirable job compensating for that – smaller signings for guys like Jordyn Brooks, Aaron Brewer, Kendall Fuller, and Jonnu Smith may end up being money better spent than $200 million for two linemen, but it's hard to blame Dolphins fans who haven't quite found the enthusiasm yet for replacing Wilkins and Hunt's production in the margins.

If there is a silver lining, it's that the Dolphins haven't been the worst decision-makers this month. There have been more than a couple of contracts handed out that Miami can sleep soundly at night knowing they avoided. Every year these deals get handed out and, like clockwork, every year the teams end up regretting it.

Now the Dolphins don't have to! (That's a silver lining, right?) So while everyone figures out who's going to play right guard next year, now's as good a time as any to have a nice laugh at the rest of the league. These are the three free agents that the Dolphins were smart to avoid.

1. Jonah Jackson, G, Los Angeles Rams

Deal: Three-years, $51 million

Admittedly, it'd be awfully tempting to replace one of this year's best available guards with another. Jackson's only 27, and while he spent the entirety of 2023 playing left guard for the Lions, it's not like moving offensive linemen – especially guards – to the other side of the line is unheard of. (And he played 145 snaps at right guard his rookie year, so it's fine. Right? Right?!?)

Jackson was a staple on one of the best offensive lines over the last half-decade, so as far as optics go, this could have been easily sold as a one-for-one replacement. They're even the same age, so it's not like Miami would have had to scramble to sign some older guy who has a bunch of Pro Bowls to his name and is secretly not that great anymore.

The one hang up is that Jackson ... hasn't been that good lately. According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson finished 2023 with the worst overall grade (59.7) and pass-blocking grade (62.7) since his rookie year, and the worst run-blocking grade (58.2) of his career. The run-blocking grade is especially worrisome, considering that's been his bread and butter through the four years he was in Detroit.

Robert Jones, who's currently slotted in as the Dolphins' starting right guard on PFF, grades out similarly. And maybe Jackson bounces back – he's still only 27, after all – but it feels like the Dolphins were fine letting the Rams pay what they did for Jackson.