Dolphins must prioritize in-house free agents to stay competitive

Miami Has 26 UFA pending once league season ends; who should they throw money at and who should they let walk?

The Dolphins face a difficult negotiation with Christian Wilkins, but they must do everything that they can to keep the big defensive tackle in Miami for a few more seasons as they try to keep their pass rush intact in 2024, despite injuries to Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb.
The Dolphins face a difficult negotiation with Christian Wilkins, but they must do everything that they can to keep the big defensive tackle in Miami for a few more seasons as they try to keep their pass rush intact in 2024, despite injuries to Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb. / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The Dolphins next will have to decide if they can keep more of the offensive line and deep safety in place.

Tyreek Hill, River Cracraft, Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt
Robert Hunt has turned out to be a very good guard for the Miami Dolphins. He missed some time last year due to a hamstring injury, but the former second-round selection in 2020 has had a remarkable season in 2023. / Harry How/GettyImages

Robert Hunt, Guard

The former second-round selection out of Louisiana-Lafayette, in 2020, led an offensive line that when healthy, allowed De'Von Achane and Raheem Mostert to both rush for tremendous yardage and allowed Mostert to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns. Hunt was injured for part of the season, like most of his fellow linemates, but when healthy he is one of the best guards in the league.

Hunt is a seasoned veteran who has more than fifty games under his belt and has 46 starts, He started 35 at right guard and 11 at right tackle. His versatility is a plus for the Dolphins, but he appears to be more comfortable at right guard. He also has two seasons of playoff experience and started every game that he was healthy since 2021.

DeShon Elliott and Brandon Jones, Safeties

DeShon Elliot
Safety DeShon Elliott has been a pleasant surprise for the Miami Dolphins. The former sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 NFL Draft started 16 games for Miami after being signed in March, 2023 as a free agent from the Detroit Lions. / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Jones was a third-round pick of the Dolphins in the 2020 NFL Draft and performed admirably, when healthy. He played in 16 games and started six in an injury-riddled 2023 campaign that never saw him fully recover from an injury that cut short his 2022 season wherein he only played in seven games.

The Texas grad had his best year as a Dolphin in 2021 wherein he started 13 games and combined for 79 tackles, five sacks, an interception, and two fumble recoveries.

In 2023, Jones made a great play in the Dallas game where he recovered a Dak Prescott fumble at the Miami two-yard line on the Cowboys' first drive of the game. In a game against the New York Jets, a week before Jones had two interceptions of QB Trevor Siemian and also forced a fumble that went out of bounds. There is no questioning Jones' value when healthy.

Elliott joined the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent from the Detroit Lions on March 17, 2023, and signed a one-year deal. He started 15 games in 2023, and had 82 combined tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery. Of the 82 tackles, 46 were unassisted.

The Dolphins also have one restricted free agent that I would like to see them bring back left guard Robert Jones. Jones was an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State in 2021 and had an injury-riddled 2023 campaign that saw his playing time diminish as he only played in seven games while he played in 16 games in 2022. He missed the first five games of the season after being placed on injured reserve on August 31 before he was activated on October 14. Jones can play either guard position.

Remaining Dolphins 2024 Unrestricted Free Agents Who I Would Let Walk

  • WR Cedrick Wilson Jr.
  • OT Isaiah Wynn
  • CB Nik Needham
  • WR Chase Claypool
  • CB Eli Apple
  • RB Salvon Ahmed
  • DT Raekwon Davis
  • CB Justin Bethel
  • T Kendall Lamm
Jake Bailey
Punter Jake Bailey should not be brought back next season. His hang time was too low and I still blame the second Buffalo loss to him for kicking a line drive right at Deonte Harty who returned the punt 96 yards for a momentum changing score. / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
  • P Jake Bailey
  • TE Tyler Kroft
  • C Jonothan Harrison
  • WR River Cracraft
  • S Elijah Campbell
  • LB Calvin Munson
  • EDGE Justin Houston
  • EDGE Bruce Irvin

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