Miami Dolphins free agency early additions and subtractions

Dolphins lose tremendous assets, while they sign three players that could produce in 2024.

Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) is seen while leaving the field after the end of
Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) is seen while leaving the field after the end of / ANDRES LEIVA/PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY

It was not a good start for the Miami Dolphins on Monday as they lost four starters to massive contract offers in free agency before notching their first agreement with a new player.

The Dolphins will lose defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, safety Brandon Jones, edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel and right guard Robert Hunt as they are unrestricted free agents and agreed to terms with their new teams on Monday.

Wilkins, who gambled and bet on himself and won, is appropriately going to the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas. Wilkins will ink a four-year $110 million accord on Wednesday, the first day that players can put pen to paper. He is guaranteed an insane $84 million. The cap strapped Dolphins could never compete with that.

Miami offered Wilkins a contract with an average annual value of $20 million. The Raiders came in at $27.5 million average annual value. Nevada, like Florida, does not have a state income tax.

Jones, meanwhile, will sign a three-year $20 million contract in Denver and play for the Broncos. He is a stellar blitzing safety, but his coverage skills have diminished since his rookie year. He also has been battling injuries and might be looking to replace him with Rayshawn Jenkins, who played collegiately at the University of Miami.

Jenkins has played seven seasons and would more than likely offer a hometown discount to the Dolphins who have reached out to his representatives and voiced their interest. He will not break the bank and will not stand in the Dolphins way of signing better players at other positions. He would pair nicely with Jevon Holland in the back end.

The Dolphins are also considering bringing back DeShon Elliott who started 16 games for them last season opposite Holland. Jones really is not a big loss as he only started six games in 2023.

Andrew Van Ginkel
Dallas Cowboys v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Van Ginkel was the back breaker as he was affordable and was a homegrown talent as Miami selected him in the draft out of Wisconsin and developed him as a linebacker and then as an edge rusher after Jaelan Phillips was injured and lost for the season. Van Ginkel will join the Minnesota Vikings, who have a defensive coordinator by the name of Brian Flores, who drafted Van Ginkel when he was the head coach of the Dolphins.

AVG agreed to a two-year deal with the Vikings worth $20 million with $14 million guaranteed. The Dolphins could have matched that if given the opportunity to. We will never know if there was a right of first refusal extended to the Dolphins.

Losing Hunt to the Carolina Panthers on a five-year pact worth $100 million with $63 million guaranteed is a deal that the Dolphins could never match. They tried to negotiate an extension with Hunt for the past two seasons and were never in that neighborhood. It looks like Robert Jones, a restricted free agent who signed on Sunday night, will compete for Hunt's vacant spot at right guard. Jones is versatile and can play on the left or right side.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Miami did not make an outside addition in free agency until almost 5:45 p.m. I was beginning to wonder if the alarm clock ever went off at the Chris Grier residence this morning.

Miami's first agreement was with Anthony Walker, Jr. of the Cleveland Browns, who will be a good rotational player and provide valuable depth. He started 12 games for the Browns last season and recorded 44 tackles for the season. He will compete with Jordyn Brooks, who agreed to terms later in the day for the right to start next to Davidf Long, Jr. at inside linebacker.

Speaking of Brooks, NFL Network reported that he agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal and will immediately contribute at the inside backer position. In all likelihood, he is one of your starters and Walker will be merely rotational. Brooks was a first round pick from Seattle in the 2020 NFL Draft and had a career high 4.5 sacks last season.

Aaron Brewer
Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Finally, Miami agreed to terms with a center, who could spell Connor Williams, in Aaron Brewer, formerly of Tennessee. He was a guard, both left and right in 2021 and 2022, and did not move to center until 2023 where he played all 1049 snaps at the position. According to Jackson, Pro Football Focus rated Brewer as the 11th best center among 36 qualifiers last season. By contrast, Williams was second.

Brewer gave up six sacks and 34 pressures and committed five penalties in 622 pass blocking snaps. Williams only gave up one sack and dix pressures in only 280 pass blocking snaps.

Speaking of Williams, who tore an ACL in December, he said that he is in no rush to sign with a team and he might be a late add either during training camp or the preseason. It is a safe bet that Williams played his last down for Miami. This probably also obviates the need for Jackson Powers-Johnson, the best center coming out in the draft, although JPJ also plays left and right guard and Miami could look to pair him with Brewer on the interior offensive line.