Jason Sanders faces critical year for the Miami Dolphins in 2023

Miami Dolphins place kicker Jason Sanders (7) celebrates a go ahead field goal with seconds left in
Miami Dolphins place kicker Jason Sanders (7) celebrates a go ahead field goal with seconds left in / Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK

This could be the final year that Jason Sanders is on the Miami Dolphins without having to compete for his job as the Dolphins have yet to add competition.

Jason Sanders - K - Entering 6th NFL season

  • History

Sanders was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL draft. In his first season with the Dolphins, he completed 90% of his field goals and 97% of his extra points. THat number dropped to 76 and 96% in his second season.

In 2020, Sanders made First-Team All-Pro and Chris Grier signed him to a big extension that was immediately rewarded back to the team with a 74% FG success rate and a 97% EP success rate. More importantly, the big leg kicker made only 2 field goals from outside the 50-yard line.

  • Last season

Many believe that the Dolphins would bring in competition for Sanders last year, instead they changed the holder adding Thomas Morstead to do the job. It made a small difference. Sanders was successful on 81.3% of his field goals in 2023 but had his worse outing in EPs making only 93% of his attempts.

Outside the 50, Sanders was again only 2-6 for the 2nd consecutive season and should no longer be considered reliable on those big kicks. While his misses did not decide a game directly, he needs to do better.

  • Salary situation

$3.77 million cap hit, $3.6 million in dead money if released and only $95K savings.

  • 2023 Preview

For all intent and purpose, Sanders should be considered in a contract year. That should be a good thing for the Dolphins because if Sanders can't perform better, he will be looking for a new job next year. In 2024, Sanders will count $4.1 million against the Dolphins cap but unlike this year, all but $800k is recoverable.

I have seen enough of Sanders to believe that he will not be as reliable as he needs to be. His one fantastic season netted him a new contract that tied him to the Dolphins for a minimum of three seasons. The fact that Miami hasn't brought in competition seems to speak to the salary more than his ability on the field.

Sanders has to do better and not just because he is due a $4 million payday next year. He has been consistent over the last two seasons but at a level that you would prefer your kicker not to be at.

Prediction - The Dolphins don't really have a choice given the are committed to his contract this year. The lack of competition is a big indication.