No one knows what Chris Grier is thinking regarding the future of the Miami Dolphins. He has big decisions to make on several players that will open or close holes on the roster. Center is now one of them.
The Miami Dolphins have a huge hole at center and this will force Chris Grier into a decision at the position. A decision he probably doesn't want to make and a decision many fans think is not experienced enough, in terms of identifying lineman talent, to make.
Miami's offensive line has been a problem for almost 10 years, or at least it seems that way. Grier has put pieces in place to make it better but overall, he has gambled and lost on most of them.
Sure, Austin Jackson has flipped his narrative and the Dolphins inked him to a team-friendly extension but they also need to extend Robert Hunt who has been head and shoulders above Jackson in consistency and play since arriving in the NFL.
Miami has to decide on whether or not they are going to eat a portion of Terron Armstead's salary or go the week-to-week in 2024 with his availability. At left guard, will Isaiah Wynn be re-signed for another year or is that too a position in need of filling?
That brings us back to the center position because when you start talking about the offensive line, it's a deep rabbit hole you can't get out of. Chris Grier has to do something with the position and there are only a few options available to him.
The NFL Draft is the most likely and best scenario to replace Williams in 2024.
The Miami Dolphins have a late first-round pick, or at least they should have one barring a collapse over the next four weeks. Using a draft pick on a center makes the most sense for the team and eliminates the overspending Grier will have to do to land a quality center in free agency.
No matter where the Dolphins draft in 2024, center should be the biggest priority. The rest of the holes can be addressed in free agency. Here are some of the top notable prospects that could be drafted in round one or two in next April's draft according to WalterFootball.com.
- Graham Barton - Duke - projected late round 1 or round 2.
- Matt Lee - University of Miami - Round two or three
- Zach Frazier - West Virginia - Round two or three
Free agency should provide depth but providing a starter beyond one year will probably prove too expensive for Chris Grier.
Free agency can be problematic. Players will re-sign with their own teams and some will retire. For the Miami Dolphins, a team with financial cap problems and too many players hitting free agency themselves, free agency may only provide depth solutions.
At Spotrac.com, the 2024 list of centers isn't great. Connor Williams is listed as the 2nd best behind Jason Kelce. Kelce won't leave Philadelphia and his time in the NFL is coming to a close at 36 years old.
It's hard to predict what the market might dictate for a center when the market opens in March. There are "names" that should be available but right now, there is a lot of uncertainty to point to a player or two and say, "That should be the guy."
Like it or not, Liam Eichenberg will remain an option at least for next year.
For fans, it's a "not" in terms of Eichenberg at center. Miami can not afford to go into the off-season or into training camp with the notion that Eichenberg will play center in 2024. If they do that, Chris Grier should be fired. Grier won a small victory with Austin Jackson but he can't play that roulette wheel again.
Eichenberg has played far too much in 2023 because the Dolphins don't have any other options. Jonotthan Harrison and Matt Skura are the band-aids for 2023, not the solutions for 2024, Eichenberg, at best is a depth and emergency center and if he is even around next year, he should remain that way.