Dolphins Free Agency Grades: Jordan Poyer

The Miami Dolphins have signed safety Jordan Poyer to a 1 year $2 million deal. The two sides have seemed interested for some time now, and the 32 year old safety finally makes his way to South Beach.

New Miami safety Jordan Poyer
New Miami safety Jordan Poyer / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The dust seems to be settling after a wild start to NFL free agency. We saw some players rake in some serious money in some head-scratching moves that have caused quite a stir. But there was one move that was seemingly overlooked by everyone. The Dolphins signed longtime Bills safety Jordan Poyer to a 1 year deal worth only $2 million.

Miami, in the process, let DeShon Elliot walk after one productive season with the Dolphins. He signed with the Steelers on a 2-year deal worth $6 million. I won't lie, it's an interesting decision. Poyer is nearly 33 years old, while Elliot will turn 27 this year. To lock up a safety for multiple seasons in his prime would have surely been better than a one-year rental who is near retirement, right?

To answer that, we need to look at the numbers. Jordan Poyer posted a 73 PFF Grade while Elliot posted a 72.6, so nearly identical. Poyer had 100 tackles last season to Elliot's 82.

Looking a bit deeper, Poyer allowed a 68.6% completion percentage against him, gave up 2 touchdowns, gave up a QBR of 101.5, and 7.0 yards per target. He was targeted 51 times.

Elliot, in comparison, allowed a 69.2% completion percentage against him, gave up 5 touchdowns, and gave up a QBR of 140.8, and 12.8 yards per target. He was targeted just 39 times but had the third highest yards allowed per target in the league.

While these metrics don't tell the full story, and despite how similar their seasons were, it does appear that Poyer is better in coverage, and will still give Miami the tackle output Elliot gave, plus some.

The way I analyze the game, any time you get older at a position, it needs to be because the new player is head and shoulders better than the one you're replacing. Is that the case here?

From a certain point of view, yes. Poyer is, barring any regression or setbacks, a better player than DeShon Elliot, although he isn't miles better. Due to Elliot's deficiences in coverage, my stance is a bit different. I don't believe he is the long-term answer with some of the advanced coverage stats I've seen and some shared above. So this gives Miami a stopgap before needing to fill that position for the future.

The Dolphins also lost safety Brandon Jones, so expect them to add at least one safety in the coming weeks or later rounds of the draft.

To summarize, I was not a huge fan of losing Elliot to sign Poyer, but the analytics don't lie. Despite the age difference and potential regression, Poyer is the better player right now, and for a team in a Super Bowl window (yes, we are) making these improvements is worth it. As long as they sign or draft another young safety to develop, I think this is a net positive signing for Miami.

Jordan Poyer Grade: B+