When it comes to left tackles, Armstead is the best Miami has had in a long time. Even Laremy Tunsil's short stint with Miami didn't match up with what Armstead has done in the NFL. But this is deeper than a top talent at his position.
The addition of Armstead is one that Miami Dolphins fans should question but don't. At least not often enough. I'll say it, Chris Grier made a mistake.
I'm not going to bash Armstead. That is not what this is about. When he is on the field, he dominates and he lifts whoever is at left guard as well. In the locker room, he is a leader among leaders. Respected by his peers on both sides of the ball.
Chris Grier needed a left tackle but he sat out most of the 2022 off-season allowing other tackles to leave the market and he waited and made the deal for Armstead later as the market was starting to dry up. Grier paid him well, a contract worth over $75 million for five years.
In 2023, Armstead will count only $9 million against the cap but that balloons to $20 million in 2024, '25, and '26. The out for Miami? There isn't one, really until 2026 when the dead hit will be $6.3 million and the savings will be $14 mill. In 2024 and 2025 the savings are $3 million and $7.9 million with $24 and $12 million dead.
Grier say a great player and he spent the money to improve his struggling offensive line but what did he think he was buying? What did he see in his own team trainers that he believed, could make Armstead healthy?
As week one arrives, Armstead is a question mark. He hasn't practiced since mid-August, is dealing with knee, back, and ankle pain and he may not play opening weekend.
Armstead is entering his 11th season in the NFL. By season starting in 2013, he has played in 110 games of a possible 152. Last year he missed four games and the year before that in New Orleans, he missed nine games.
Grier saw the three consecutive Pro Bowl's that Armstead made from 2018 to 2020 but he had to of known about the players injury history and the fact he had missed 9 games the year before should have been a reason to pause.
is Armstead worth the money if he can't be on the field when the team needs him? I suppose the answer to that question is yes, for Chris Grier.
Look, let us be honest, In the last six seasons, Armstead has started in 10, 10, 15, 14, 8, and 13 games. Prior to 2021 the NFL only played 16 game seasons so Armstead would have only missed a combined 15 games from 2018 to 2020.
The fact that Armstead is hurt now, isn't a surprise, the surprise is that Grier didn't see this as a problem following the missed games last season. Grier is o.k. with paying Armstead a lot of money knowing that he won't play a full season. That is fine and I think we all agree that there are intangibles that he brings to the team to off-set that.
Was Grier right or wrong or a combination of both when it comes to Armstead? Probably a little of both. Armstead is the type of gritty player you want on the outside and all of this is probably a non-issue if Grier had fixed the left guard position and the right tackle position. Had he done that, no one would care that Armstead was missing time or entering a season potentially inactive.
The problem isn't Armstead in my opinion and it is not the money spent on him necessarily. It's the problems that were addressed at other positions that remain problems and that makes the Armstead situation seem worse that it actually might be.