Key Dolphins free agent loss might be why Miami misses the playoffs in 2024

Will the Dolphins be able to survive without the star DL?
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets
Miami Dolphins v New York Jets / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins have made it to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus wrote why they might not increase that streak to three years. According to McGuinness, the loss of Christian Wilkins might be so incredibly difficult on the Dolphins that they miss the playoffs in 2024.

"The Dolphins shouldn’t have any struggles on offense, but the loss of Christian Wilkins on the defensive line is a big concern. Wilkins earned PFF run-defense and PFF pass-rushing grades above 70.0 in each of the past three seasons. Teair Tart has arrived via free agency, but he has just one season with a PFF grade above 60.0 in his four-year career, while Da’Shawn Hand hasn’t played more than 200 snaps in a season since 2020."

Gordon McGuinness

As McGuinness notes, the Dolphins should be just fine offensively. Somehow, they've gotten even better in the offseason, adding Odell Beckham Jr. to an already-stacked wide receivers room that also features Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. McGuinness could see Miami struggling defensively, however.

Is the loss of Christian Wilkins enough for the Dolphins to miss the playoffs?

The Dolphins used the No. 13 overall pick on Wilkins in 2019 and he went on to tally a career-high nine sacks for them this past season. Wilkins didn't return to Miami for the next chapter of his career, though. Instead, he'll be rocking the silver and black in Las Vegas and trying to sack quarterbacks as a member of the Raiders.

It's a tough loss for the Dolphins, but hopefully Teair Tart and Da'Shawn Hand are up for the task. The Dolphins were third in the league in sacks last year, so who's to say they can't be ferocious in the pass-rushing department again this year, even without Wilkins?