The Dolphins were busy reworking their running backs depth chart during the offseason. After signing the likes of Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel, and Raheem Mostert, the team didn’t have much room for another veteran. Speaking to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, running back Duke Johnson said Miami never offered him a contract in free agency.
The veteran had a productive five-game stint with the Dolphins in 2021. After making a name for himself in the passing game, Johnson averaged 66 rushing yards per game…a leap from his 23.6-yard career mark. The 28-year-old RB ultimately finished the campaign with 371 yards from scrimmage and three scores on 75 touches. The organization initially expressed interest in re-signing Johnson following the season, but Mike McDaniel’s hiring ultimately changed the team’s plans.
“They just wanted to go in a different direction,” Johnson said. “I figured McDaniel wanted his guys; Raheem Mostert is one of his guys. I know the nature of the business. No hard feelings.”
Johnson ended up landing a one-year deal with the Bills in March.
More notes out of Miami…
- When the Dolphins signed Connor Williams this offseason, it was expected that the lineman would slide in at left guard. However, ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques writes that Williams is now the front runner to start at center. The 25-year-old trained at the position throughout the offseason to help improve his versatility, and it seems like it worked. Incumbent starter Michael Deiter is still in the picture, but Louis-Jacques opines that the starting center gig is Williams’ to lose.
- ESPN’s Todd McShay recently opined that 2022 is a prove-it year for Tua Tagovailoa, and if the QB fails, the Dolphins are in a good position to pursue one of next year’s top QB prospects. Jackson quickly dismisses that notion, however. In the hypothetical where Tagovailoa does fail and the Dolphins decide to pivot next offseason, their various assets may not be enough to pull off a trade. While the Dolphins have an extra first-round pick thanks to a trade with San Francisco, Jackson writes that few teams would be interested in bailing on a franchise quarterback for a platter of middling firsts…especially when the majority of the teams that could be in contention for a top pick would all have their own QB issues.
- When asked which AFC team had the best offseason, PFR readers ranked the Dolphins third. Besides their blockbuster acquisition of wideout Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins also brought in offensive tackle Terron Armstead, extended cornerback Xavien Howard, and re-signed defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. The Broncos finished first in the poll, with the Raiders finishing second.
5 comments on “Dolphins Notes: Running Backs, Offensive Line, Tagovailoa”
I would be curious as to why Duke Johnson wasn’t offered a deal. “McDaniel guy” or no, he was the most productive member of the backfield pound for pound, and is great catching the football as well. He’s been productive on several teams, and seems like a reliable option to fall back on in difficult team scenarios.
Tagovailoa could use every safety valve that he can get. A good pass blocking and pass catching back would be a bonus, even as Miami transitions to a run first, zone blocking scheme that will take the focus off the passing game.
Maybe it’s as simple as Duke Johnson said:
“They just wanted to go in a different direction. I figured McDaniel wanted his guys; Raheem Mostert is one of his guys. I know the nature of the business. No hard feelings.”
Or maybe, his skillset doesn’t match up well with McDaniel’s outside zone blocking scheme.
I suppose that it’s the latter, but they also signed Sony Michel, who doesn’t profile as your typical zone scheme back. Johnson has shown himself to be adaptable with a wide skill set, it just seems like the Dolphins could have at least extended an offer at some level.
Tua will be fine. He had one of the worst offensive lines. Wide receivers were dead last in separation. Being a Dolphins fan. Not gonna lie. Wish they drafted Herbert but his situation was so much better than Tuas.
Lots of “opining” in the world of the Dolphins I see lol