It’s “Brocktober” (give me a break) and the Miami Dolphins are sitting atop the AFC East at 4-2. In spite of all the injuries, strange circumstances, and quarterback play that leaves much to be desired, the 2018 season is actually going pretty well for the Dolphins. It goes back to what I said a couple weeks ago when I mentioned that I just don’t see the quit in this team. Sure, this team was 4-2 last year and finished at 6-10, but I said it a couple weeks ago, and Omar Kelly touched on it last week; whatever it was that fouled up this team last year and made them roll over in the face of adversity is gone. That’s the “addition by subtraction” I touched on previously. But, what happens after the season is over? Let’s take a look a few hypothetical possibilities.
I should preface the points I’ll be trying to make by mentioning that these are all being made under the assumption that Adam Gase and company will still be running the show beyond the 2018 season. Even if the Dolphins finish 2018 with a winning record, or even make the playoffs, there will still be quite a few question marks moving forward. Two of the biggest questions are this; what will the Dolphins do at quarterback for 2019 and beyond, with the offensive line being the second big question mark. There are some other positions on the roster that will also need to be addressed, which I’ll touch on briefly, but the first thing that needs to be discussed is the quarterback position.
The first wrinkle in Miami’s quarterback quandary is the future of Ryan Tannehill. Obviously, Ryan is dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder and the severity of it remains unknown. Beyond the questions surrounding his health is his rather large salary cap number for 2019. It’s a pretty fluid and somewhat complicated situation. I’d say that about 90% of the fan base is over Tannehill and wants the team to move on to someone else, but there are circumstances that make that move much easier to talk about than it will be to execute. Yes, he has a rather large cap number next year and cutting him will only create EVEN MORE dead money against the cap, something we already have more than enough of. So, I personally believe that cutting him is out, which leaves two options; tough it out for one more year with him as the starting quarterback, or trade him. I would personally vote for the option of trading him, but that creates yet another question; who will his replacement be? As per usual, the Dolphins aren’t going to finish with a bad enough record be get a top ten draft pick. Even if they were picking in the top ten, the team still has too many other holes to fill to spend a first round, much less top ten pick on a quarterback. As unpopular as it sounds, the best bet for the Dolphins is to roll Tannehill out there for one more year and then move on, assuming that Tannehill will even be healthy enough to start the entire season next year. There are also other pressing needs that will need to be addressed, one of which should be the absolute top priority for this team.
The interior of the offensive line needs to be revamped, badly. If Tunsil continues to progress like we’ve been seeing him do so far this year and James is still our right tackle next year, than the front office doesn’t have to worry about those two spots. If the team decides that it’s time to let James walk, or they get outbid by another team, than right tackle will obviously become a huge hole to fill. As for the interior of the line, Jesse Davis has been solid at right guard thus far, but don’t be surprised to see the front office at least try for an upgrade at that spot. The two positions that should be top priorities are left guard and center. Sadly, I believe that Josh Sitton’s first game as a Miami Dolphin will also prove to be his last. I think that his career is most likely over. The center position will also need to addressed, as I’m not sure how much trust the front office or the fans will have in Daniel Kilgore coming off of a torn triceps. There are also other concerns on defense that will need to be looked at.
There are two glaring weaknesses on defense right now; the defensive line and corner. The team has been pretty thin on the defensive line this year, mostly due to injury. The team will definitely be looking to add more quality depth at defensive tackle, but defensive end will be a big area to focus on. Charles Harris is looking like a bust so far and Cam Wake isn’t getting any younger. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 2018 is Cam’s last season in Miami or possibly, in the NFL period. I think he might retire after the season. Xavien Howard has been evolving into an elite cornerback in this league, however the team still needs to add a quality starter to play opposite of him and move Bobby McCain back into the nickel spot. But, how exactly will the front office go about filling those needs?
I have a couple suggestions that might help. I’m not an NFL general manager, nor do I play one on TV. But, I’m putting on my GM hat for a few minutes and throwing out some ideas. Everyone who follows the Miami Dolphins has most likely heard the trade rumors regarding wide receiver DeVante Parker. I have an idea for this year, at or before the trade deadline that would allow the team to get rid of Parker AND fill a need at the same time. My idea is a conditional fourth round pick that could become a third rounder packaged in with DeVante Parker in exchange for a starting left guard or center, preferably one who is still south of 30 years old. The tricky part will obviously be finding a team who has a player that fits the description that’s also willing to part with said player for that type of compensation. The team also has an extra safety that isn’t needed and who’s contract becomes a bit more pricey after this year; T. J. McDonald. I think McDonald, plus a day three draft pick could possibly net the Dolphins the starting caliber corner they need to play opposite of Howard.
Obviously, these aren’t my shots to call, nor should they be. However, these are viable suggestions (in my opinion, at least). The bottom line is this; the Dolphins have their work cut out for them during and beyond the 2018 season and will need to find some answers, quick. As strapped for cap space as they are and will continue to be as long as Mike Tannenbaum is in charge of that department, they do have a little bit of ammo to fill some of the holes on the roster. As interesting as it’s been to watch the Miami Dolphins play in 2018, it will be far more interesting to see what starts happening in the off-season and what this team will look like on opening day next year.
Ugh, really? Another article advocating taking a Guard in the first round next year. C’mon. Moveon.org. There’s NO value there. Never is
Is there really a more pressing need than QB? I’d rather see them cut ties with tannehill, eat the 13 million and get a veteran while drafting Will Grier, Ryan Lindley or someone like that. Maybe you’re close enough where you can make a play for Herbert, doubtful but its small time, been there, done that old school thinking to keep Tannehill and draft an OL with the insipid idea that he’ll be better with a better OL.
Here’s the real truth. The OL isn’t better with Tanny in there because he’s got no pocket awareness and no ability to improvise. He got hurt because, per usual, he failed to step up in the pocket when the Bengals rushed him. It’s over for Ryan in MIami and I don’t see ANY positives in bringing him back. Nice guy, nice athlete but a journeyman QB who never showed he could put up points.
You HAVE to take a QB in first or second round if you’re Miami. There is never a more pressing needs. I’m begging all the fans who plead for more OL every year to think, for once, about how the good teams allocate their resources and realize you don’t need 3 or 4 first round OL