I’d like to preface this mock offseason by stating that this is my first of the kind, and that any contract details are very vague. I used Over the Cap for numbers, and after working out all of the moves, I was left with roughly 15m in cap room, which would be used to sign draft picks and UDFAs. According to Over the Cap, they estimate Miami’s draft picks to cost 8.2m. This mock should paint my ideas of the direction the team should go, rather than the contract specifics, as those are hard to estimate.
Jarvis Landry, WR: 4-Years 56m
The basis around this entire Mock Offseason was challenging myself to successfully reload this team, while also signing Landry to a lucrative contract. 14m annually is definitely the ceiling number for Landry, so anything less could be expected.
Cody Parkey, K: 2-Years 4m
Parkey was one of the most under appreciated players on the squad last year. Not only did Miami lead the league in onside kick recoveries, but they had the most all-time in a single season (4). Parkey had the 8th highest field goal % in the league (min 5 att), and was a perfect 14-14 on field goals <39 yards. This contract would make him the 15th highest paid kicker per year.
John Denney, LS: 1-Year 1.2m
Denney is a staple on this team, and even at 39, is one of the most consistent long snappers in the league. He’s always making tackles downfield on punts as well. I gave him a one year deal with similar money to last year.
Ja’Wuan James, RT: 4-Year 28m
James is due 9.3m for his 5th year option. In order to not only reduce this number, but secure the Right Tackle position for the future, I gave him a 4 year extension, worth roughly 7m annually. We can’t afford to let our Linemen walk, as it’s the weakest point on this team. Some people may argue that we should let James walk and replace him with Davis, but then that just opens up yet another hole at the right guard position. James has been the best lineman on this team the last 3 years. Lock him up and rebuild the interior.
Michael Thomas, S: 1-Year 1.8m
Thomas is one of my favorite players on the team, and his contribution on special teams is outstanding. His play on special teams even warranted him to be selected as the Special Teams Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus. The thing is, his value sits almost entirely on his special teams play. Despite this, he’s a captain on the team, and I’d love to see him back next year.
Jake Brendel, C: ERFA Tender 1-Year 600k
There wasn’t any position that I had more trouble deciding what to do than Center. Pouncey is loved by the coaches, even though his play has been sub-par. At the last second, I decided to cut Pouncey and bring back Brendel to compete for the starting Center job. It may hurt in the short-term, but this is more of a long-term move.
William Hayes, DE:
I had a hard time deciding to let Hayes walk after his phenomenal play before getting injured week 11. Through the first 11 weeks, Miami’s run defense ranked 14th in yards allowed, and 20th in yards/attempt. However, from weeks 12-17 (without Hayes), Miami’s defense allowed 669 rushing yards (18th), and 4.01 yards/carry (15th). There was little difference before and after Hayes’ injury when looking at the numbers. Sacrifices must be made if we sign Landry, and Hayes would likely be one of the first casualties.
Damien Williams, HB:
One thing about me is that I put minimal value at the running back position. I love Williams, but his strengths are way too similar to the strengths of Drake, and in order to save money, drafting a RB and/or signing an UDFA has paid dividends to plenty of teams in the past.
Matt Moore, QB:
I see no chance in Moore returning. His play was underwhelming last year, and his price tag is too high to sit the bench. I mock a QB to us in the draft, and we also still have Doughty under contract.
Walt Aikens, S:
Like Thomas, Aikens has shined on special teams in the past, but his value is also almost purely on special teams. If we don’t keep Thomas, I can see us then making a push to re-sign Aikens, but if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world.
Terrence Fede, DE:
Over the past four years, I’ve had hope that Fede would blossom playing behind guys like Wake & OV. While he has definitely improved, I think it’s time we move on from him. I loved what I saw from Malveaux late last year, and think that he will provide valuable depth at DE.
Julius Thomas, TE: Projected Savings: 6.6m
Pretty obvious cut here. Thomas looked like a slug last year, and had some comical plays. Miami needs a youthful starter at TE, and between Gray & Derby, we have good depth at the position.
Lawrence Timmons, LB: Projected Savings: 5.5m
After flashing early in the season, Timmons’ play digressed as the year went on. Unfortunately, we can’t save all of the money from Timmons, but because of his AWOL incident, we should be able to gather roughly 5.5m by cutting him.
Ted Larsen, RG: Projected Savings: 1m
So much for being the “savior” to the O-Line that some people prematurely dubbed him to be. Larsen’s putrid 39.4 PFF ranking ranked 67th out of 77 qualifying Guards. The savings are nothing special, but cutting ties with him is necessary if we bring in other Guards.
Matt Haack, P: Projected Savings: 500k
I mock us taking a Punter later on in the draft, so this cut reflects on that rather than the savings. Haack’s 44.52 yards/punt ranked 23rd in the league last year. He was extremely inconsistent and I’m still confused as to why we chose him over Darr.
Mike Pouncey, C: Projected Savings: 7m
I decided to cut Pouncey. He’s still good in pass protection, however his contribution in the run game is nonexistent. With that being said, I can see Miami keeping him in 2018, but not much longer after. But for the sake of this mock, I’m cutting him. The biggest problem with cutting Pouncey is that there are few options to replace him with. The only tantalizing FA options are Jensen and Richburg, both of whom will be looking for long term deals likely in the 9m/year range. To combat this, I tendered Brendel, brought in Fulton, who has experience playing center, and drafted Ragnow. The job would likely come down to Brendel & Ragnow, since Fulton would be projected to start at LG.
Ryan Tannehill, QB:
I believe that Tannehill is our Quarterback. Because of this, he is a juicy restructuring candidate in my eyes. I’m entirely against restructuring Suh again, as I believe it will set us back in the future. We need to eat these next two years of his contract, potentially giving us the option to cut him after the 2019 season, saving 18.4m according to Over the Cap. Suh will be 33 years old heading into 2020.
Zach Fulton, LG/C: 4-Year 25m
This is my one “splash” in free agency this year. Signing Landry would force us to stay low in Free agency, which I’m perfectly fine with. It would keep Tannenbaum in check. Fulton could be a solid fit in Miami, and his 4th highest Pass-Blocking grade by PFF shows his production. He has experience playing both Guard and Center, which is huge when considering our questions at the center position.
Brandon Fusco, RG: 1-Year 2.2m
This is more of a precautionary signing. I love Jesse Davis starting at Right Guard. Fusco is coming off a rebound year, and can provide great depth, and even be a potential starter on our line. The bottom line is that Miami needs to remake their interior, and if Davis struggles, we can plug Fusco in if necessary.
Marquis Flowers, OLB: 2-Years 6m
Flowers flashed for New England late last year, and should get a lot of playing time in Miami due to his uber versatility. He has experience playing both strong and weak side linebacker. Flowers’ 3m/year number is a very rough estimate, however I doubt he garners a killer contract.
I used FirstPick.com’s Draft Game to complete this mock draft. Link Here
1st Round Pick 11: Derwin James, S
Derwin James offers tremendous athleticism to a defense that lacks it. He will also provide versatility and give Burke options with three safeties. James is also sneaky good in coverage, and can help us bottle up tight ends, something that we struggled with last year.
2nd Round Pick 10: Dallas Goedert, TE
Dallas Goedert is an unbelievable receiving threat. He falls to us in the second round, and should come in as an instant starter. If he’s not available, which is likely, I’d still expect a TE here, as the position is pretty deep. Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews are also solid TE picks.
3rd Round Pick 9: Darius Leonard, OLB
It will be interesting to see if Leonard falls this late, but I took advantage and grabbed one of the most athletic linebackers in the draft. He played on the weak side in college, but due to his versatility, should be able to come in and immediately compete for a starting linebacker spot, whether it be on the weak or strong side. Leonard excels in every facet of the game, and could be a huge boost to our mediocre linebacker unit.
4th Round Pick 11: Rashaad Penny, HB
The only Running Backs on our roster with any experience are Kenyan Drake and Senorise Perry. Rashaad Penny’s powerful running style should really complement well with the big play ability of Drake. Drake also has an extensive injury history, so bringing in another HB is a no brainer.
4th Round Pick 30: Frank Ragnow, OG/C
Ragnow slipped to the end of the 4th round in my mock, and I took advantage. He offers more depth on the interior of our O-Line, with the ability to play both guard and center. With Pouncey being cut in this mock, he will compete with Jake Brendel for the starting center spot.
6th Round Pick 9: Johnny Townsend, P
Being a Florida fan, there were times where Townsend was the best player on the team. He consistently pinned his punts inside the 10, and single handedly kept Florida in plenty of games. All great teams have great punters, and I believe Townsend is the best punter in this draft.
7th Round Pick 5: Mike White, QB
Miami has shown interest in Mike White. While many fans want to see us take a QB in the first few rounds, I don’t see a guy dropping to 11 that will warrant the pick, so I settled with White, while Tannehill deals on offense.
7th Round Pick 11: Shaquem Griffin, OLB
I don’t care how many hands he has, Griffin plays with 100% passion, and an endless motor similar to that of Takkarist McKinley. He’s the kind of player that you just want on your squad. He should contribute early on special teams, and also get some work on the strong side.
One thing I prioritized in this mock offseason was setting ourselves up for the future. Aside from Landry, I didn’t give any lucrative deals, and I made sure to lock a few guys long term. Without making any additional cuts, I was left with 20m+ in cap for the 2019 season. However, this can easily be manipulated by cutting Branch, and Post June Alonso. Those two moves alone would free up 14m, giving us 33m+ to play with. Notable Free Agents next year include Wake, Parker, McCain, Phillips, Gray, Davis, and Lippett. It’s worth mentioning that June 1st cuts for McDonald & Jones would both free up a majority of their contract, which would make sense if we drafted James. Cutting McDonald would open 5m with 1m dead cap, and cutting Jones would free 13.1m!! With 1.8m in dead cap.
Here’s a look at my projected 53 man Roster heading into next year. I understand that there will likely be a few UDFAs and low-tier FA signings as well, but I didn’t want to go into extreme detail: