The Miami Dolphins are at a crossroads with several players after the 2023 season comes to an end and they need to avoid history repeating itself.
After the 2023 season, the Dolphins will need to decide if Christian Wilkins will be back if they don't get him a new contract this year. They have two former first-round picks that didn't get their 5th year options picked up, Noah Igbinoghene and Austin Jackson and have already moved on from Mike Gesicki.
Since 2012, the Dolphins have drafted 88 players. Of those 88 only 47 are still playing in the NFL. Of those 47, eight were drafted in the last two drafts including this past April's. Needless to say, Miami hasn't a had a great track record with the draft.
While it has gotten much better recently, the Dolphins have to hope they can avoid some of the mistakes of their past, namely letting players go too soon.
Billy Turner comes to mind pretty quickly. Drafted in the 2014 3rd round, Turner wasn't a big hit with the Dolphins despite Miami's need for offensive linemen. He started only two games in his rookie season and 12 of 13 in his second year but the Dolphins were done with him in 2016 and off he went to Denver after five games in that season.
Turner played sparingly with the Broncos but in 2018 he started 11 of 16 before moving on to Green Bay where he became a regular consistent starter. Last year he returned to the Broncos and started seven of eight games and this year is on the Jets roster heading to training camp.
The Dolphins are still trying to find a suitable right tackle.
A round ahead of Billy Turner, the Miami Dolphins drafted Jarvis Landry and rather than pay him, they traded him to the Browns following through on a promise made, reportedly, by then head coach, Adam Gase.
Landry was the heart and soul of the Miami WR room. He was the sure-handed pass-catcher that owned the slot and became a first-down outlet for his quarterbacks. He never complained and only wanted a new contract.
What he didn't do was kiss the rear-end of his head coach and when things were not going well, he spoke up and was threatened to be traded. Gase followed through with that and the Dolphins lost a valuable asset to the offense that Gase couldn't replace.
Landry didn't run off to have a HOF career any more than Billy Turner did but he remained consistent starting nearly every game for the Browns from 2018 to 2021 when he played in only 12 games. After leaving Miami he made two more Pro Bowls and spent last year with the Saints. He is currently a free agent.
Miami could have made it work with Landry who came off a then record 112 receptions in 2017 but again, it wasn't so much Landry wanting more money as it was Gase's ego that drove him away.
Having it to over again, the Dolphins should have kept Landry. Landry may not play in the NFL this year or he may latch on to a team needing a WR later in camp but the true loser is Gase who is an assistant coach for a high-school football team.
If there is one thing you can say about the Dolphins, their draft picks haven't warranted much in the way of regrets since 2012. Players like Vincent Taylor and Davon Godchaux are still in the league and starting but they were not playing up to the contracts after they reached the end of their time with the Dolphins.
To answer the question of cutting players too early or trading them too soon, the answer, in hindsight is no. The Dolphins shouldn't have many regrets over their roster over the last two decades. They should have regrets over the players they drafted in the first place.