The post-Ryan Tannehill era in Miami has seen the Dolphins go 24-25 through three seasons. The organization is looking to take that one final step of their rebuild and return to the playoffs in 2022, and their offseason moves indicate that they’re serious about that goal. They have a new coach in Mike McDaniel leading the way, and they made a number of moves (including acquiring wideout Tyreek Hill and offensive tackle Terron Armstead) to put QB Tua Tagovailoa in a position to succeed (despite their continual flirtation with other quarterback options).
The Dolphins distracted a bit from their successful offseason following the fallout from the organization’s tampering investigation, leading to the suspension of owner Stephen Ross. With those distractions now behind them, the team can focus on the upcoming campaign, and the front office is clearing banking on their offseason moves guiding them back to the postseason:
- Acquired WR Tyreek Hill from Chiefs for 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick, 2023 fourth-round pick, and 2023 sixth-round pick
- Traded WR DeVante Parker and 2022 fifth-round pick to Patriots for 2023 third-round pick
The Dolphins made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason, winning the Tyreek Hill sweepstakes. Miami had to pay up to acquire the Chiefs Pro Bowl receiver, both in draft capital and in literal dollars. The organization gave up basically a year’s worth of draft picks to acquire Hill, and they later signed him to a four-year, $120MM megadeal with $72.2MM guaranteed. Sure, there’s question marks surrounding Tua Tagovailoa‘s ability to guide a top-end offense, but the acquisition of Hill gives the QB one of the deepest WR corps in the NFL, with the 28-year-old wideout joining a depth chart that also features Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson. Considering that depth and the obvious downgrade from Patrick Mahomes, it’s tough to see Hill reaching the career-high 111 receptions or 159 targets he saw in Kansas City last year. Still, there’s no denying his talent, and Hill provides a huge upgrade to an offense that’s hoping to take a step forward in 2022.
The Hill trade ultimately cost one of the Dolphins’ longest-tenured players their job. DeVante Parker spent seven seasons in Miami, but the former first-round pick only had one standout season during his stint with the Dolphins (2019, when he finished with 72 receptions, 1,202 yards, and nine touchdowns). Of course, Parker’s lack of production was reflected in the team’s trade haul, as the Dolphins only managed to upgrade a 2022 fifth-round pick to a 2023 third-round pick. There’s a world where the team could have rostered all of Parker, Hill, and Waddle, but the offseason signing of Wilson would have downgraded Parker to a fourth WR at best. The Fins ultimately decided to hand that role to a younger player and acquire an asset for their former top wideout.
- Terron Armstead, OT. Five years, $75MM. $43.37MM guaranteed.
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB. One year, $6.5MM.
- Chase Edmonds, RB. Two years, $12.6MM. $6.1MM guaranteed.
- Trey Flowers, DE. One-year, $2.1MM.
- Alec Ingold, FB. Two years, $7.5MM.
- Melvin Ingram, DE. One year, $5MM.
- Thomas Morstead, P. One year, $1.27MM.’
- Raheem Mostert, RB. One year, $3.125MM.
- Connor Williams, OL. Two years, $14MM. $7.5MM guaranteed.
- Cedrick Wilson, WR. Three years, $22.8MM. $12.8MM guaranteed.
The Dolphins made a big trade to add to their offense, but the team was also active adding receivers and running backs in free agency. Former Cowboys wideout Cedrick Wilson is the most notable of the bunch, especially after the 26-year-old set career-highs across the board in 2021 (45 receptions, 602 yards, six touchdowns). The Dolphins clearly believe he’ll be an important part of the offense, as the front office gave him close to $13MM in guaranteed money. The acquisition of Hill probably means Wilson will be on the second-tier of receiving options in Miami, but that’s probably an ideal role for him, anyway.
The Dolphins also completely revamped their RB depth chart. Chase Edmonds‘ combination of age and recent role probably makes him the favorite to see a consistent role out of the backfield. While James Conner led the Cardinals in carries last season, Edmonds still saw a career-high 116 rushes for 592 yards. Plus, Edmonds has already shown to be a high-end receiving back, having averaged 48 receptions over the past two seasons. Mostert could be Edmonds’ biggest threat to steal rushing work between the 20s, especially considering his experience in Mike McDaniel‘s system. Mostert was limited to only one game last season and eight games the season before, but if he’s able to stay healthy, he’ll undoubtedly have a role. The addition of Alec Ingold probably hints that Miami will run their RBs similarly to how McDaniel operated in San Fransisco; while the free agent acquisition didn’t threaten Kyle Juszczyk‘s place atop the fullback salary hierarchy, the Dolphins were still willing to commit a chunk of money to an often-overlooked position.
The Dolphins’ biggest free agent splash came on the offensive line, as the team committed a whopping $43MM to offensive tackle Terron Armstead. The Dolphins were in dire need of offensive line help; Pro Football Focus ranked the team’s offensive line 32nd in 2021. The three-time Pro Bowler will help in that regard after finishing as one of PFF’s top-10 tackles each season between 2018 and 2020 (including a first-place ranking in 2018). There are a handful of risks, of course. Armstead has missed a game in each of his nine NFL seasons, including nine games missed in 2021 thanks to elbow and knee issues. Still, whenever Armstead does take the field, he will help provide a consistent, veteran presence to an uncertain OL. Connor Williams is another notable add on the offensive line, as the former second-round pick started 51 games for the Cowboys over the past four years. The lineman ranked as PFF’s 10th-best offensive guard in 2021, although he drew 15 flags and found himself in and out of the lineup.
Teddy Bridgewater was brought in to help provide some continuity to the offense if Tua Tagovailoa is forced to miss any time. The eight-year veteran held off Drew Lock to be Denver’s starter last season and had the team at 7-6 before suffering his second concussion of the year. Entering his age-30 season, he’s an elite backup QB, and while the Dolphins have made it clear that they’re all-in on Tua, there’s a world where Teddy could crack the starting lineup if his teammate struggles.
Defensively, the Dolphins added some intriguing depth to their defensive line and secondary. Melvin Ingram was a pass-rushing monster during his time with the Chargers, and he was expected to play a similar role opposite T.J. Watt in Pittsburgh during the 2021 campaign. Things didn’t go according to plan, as Ingram saw a reduced role during his stint with the Steelers. He ended up starting only one of his 10 games, collecting only 10 tackles and one sack. He was traded to Kansas City late in the season and matched his Steelers numbers in only six games. He also started three playoff games for the Chiefs, collecting another two sacks. There’s probably a reason why the veteran saw a drastically reduced role in 2021, and the Dolphins will see if they can squeeze something out of him as a linebacker on defensive coordinator Josh Boyer‘s 3-4 defense.
Trey Flowers signed with the Dolphins earlier this week, returning to the AFC East after three years spent with the Lions. He was a full-time starter in Detroit, but injuries marred the final two years of his tenure there. He’ll provide the team with another rotational pass rusher, especially if he can rediscover the pass-rushing skills he showed during his stint with the Patriots.
Keion Crossen profiles as more of a special teams ace, although he did play a role on Houston’s secondary in 2020. Speaking of special teams, the Dolphins brought in veteran punter Thomas Morstead. The long-time Saints punter spent last season split between the Falcons and Jets, with his 47.2 yards per punt being his best mark since the 2016 season.
- Jacoby Brissett, QB
- Adam Butler, DT (released)
- Justin Coleman, CB
- Jesse Davis, OL (released)
- Mack Hollins, WR
- Allen Hurns, WR (released)
- Duke Johnson, RB
The Dolphins mostly added to their squad this season, with the team’s most notable losses having already been replaced by clear upgrades. Offensively, offensive lineman Jesse Davis is the most notable of the bunch after having started 72 games for the Dolphins over the past five seasons. He was mostly made expendable following the signing of Terron Armstead, but Davis didn’t do himself any favors with his performance last season. He graded as one of PFF’s worst offensive tackles (79th among 83 qualifiers), and he surrendered eight sacks in 1,063 snaps. His release saved the Dolphins a chunk of money, and there was no coincidence that the move immediately followed the Tyreek Hill acquisition (and mega extension).