As we near the end of the 2019 NFL Season, it is time to look ahead. As we all know, Black Monday commences on December 31st this year. What changes will be coming from that will be telling, but this article is going to be strictly about moving forward, with the reported firing coming to Mike Tannenbaum. First, let’s look at the cap. 2019 NFL Salary Cap Figure is going up to: $187M- $191M
The Dolphins, with the current roster sit at $175M committed for the 2019 season. This leaves them with roughly 20M in space according to Spotrac, which an additional 7M carrying over from the 2018 season. After taking a quick peak at the upcoming FA class (as of now), there isn’t many big names albeit, a few, that would be great to have in the fold. What can the Dolphins do this offseason? This is what this article is all about. Here is my prediction and projection on the offseason moves as the current roster goes (37 under contract in 2019).
Ryan Tannehill- Cap Hit 26.611M– this will be the topic until the end of February, when teams can officially make roster moves prior to free agency. Tannehill has been a polarizing figure since 2012 when arriving with the Dolphins. He has had plenty of ups and downs, however, never materialized into the QB they envisioned. While it isn’t ALL his fault (poor coaching, lack of OL protection), he just never got it done. There needs to be a shake up on this team, and it starts here. I just can’t see him returning to the Dolphins in 2019, after a poor showing in 2018. Trading him or releasing him will be even money when it comes to cap space and dead money. They can spread the $13M of dead cap over 2 seasons (5M and 8M respectively) if the team chooses to do so. Projection: Ryan Tannehill will be CUT, whether it be pre or post June 1st . A trade is not out of the question, but a significant restructure will need to occur for the team taking him on. Time will tell, but Tannehill’s time in Miami is coming to a close.
Luke Falk will be the only active QB on the roster prior to FA, and only accounts for 570K on the cap.
(Projected Cap Space after this move is $33.76M)
I do not see any moves here, as the Dolphins have Drake (1.1M on the cap) and Kalen Ballage (717K on the cap). Gase mis-used Drake all season and we have seen a huge dip in production from him. I can see the Dolphins looking at kicking the tires on FA running backs, as well as drafting one in the mid rounds to add to this young group. Frank Gore is also an option to bring back, but at 36, it may be time to move on from him.
(No moves required, cap still sits at $33.76M)
Devante Parker- Cap Hit 9.37M– another first round bust will have his time come to a close, as Parker has racked up only 22 receptions, 296 yards and 1 TD. The cap hit is incredible, and the production is pitiful. The Dolphins can release Parker free of salary without any penalty. That is the only logical thing to do here. Projection: Devante Parker will be released, and the Dolphins will be happy to do so. Parker never lived up to his potential and will not be on the roster in 2019.
Danny Amendola- Cap Hit 6.00M– Amendola was a fine addition as he leads the Dolphins in receptions this season. He is also 33 years old and accounts for 6M on the cap. Danny is a free release with no cap ramifications. Which changes coming, I find it hard to see him back in the fold for 2019, especially if there is a change in coaches. Projection: Amendola will be cut, not due to his production or age, but the Dolphins need to rebuild. He will be released.
Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant will be back with the Dolphins in 2019 in my opinion. Brice Butler has played well since arriving and only counts for 805K on the cap. He will be around for camp at least. But the Dolphins will definitely look to add a big body play maker in the draft.
(Projected Cap Space after these moves is $49.15M)
Josh Sitton- Cap hit 7.00M– Sitton played one whole game for the Dolphins before he was put on IR. Sitton also is 33 years old and coming off a major injury. I find it hard to believe the Dolphins will bring him back next year as he has missed 21 games the last few years. The guard position needs to be rebuilt. Projection: Dolphins need to move on here. Sitton, a good guard, just hasn’t been worth the money and his injuries will keep catching up to him at this age.
Ted Larsen- Cap Hit 2.29M– There is no need for explanation here, Larsen is as good as gone. He is one of the poorest rated guards in the league. After watching the game against the Vikings, his fate is sealed. Projection: Larsen can’t leave soon enough. He will be outright released.
This unit will need a big overhaul. Ja’Wuan James will be a UFA and the Dolphins will not bring him back, unless it’s for the right dollar amount. Jesse Davis is young and although having a bad year, he is worth keeping on the roster. Tunsil is the centerpiece of this line and I believe Kilgore will be back. But depth and TALENT is needed at both guard spots and RT.
(Projected Cap Space after these moves is $56.02M)
No moves needed here. The Dolphins have O’Leary, Gesicki and Smythe already under contract. They can always add one for additional depth, but I can see this being the TE room next season.
(Projected Cap Space still $56.02M)
No moves needed here. I like what I see from Jason Sanders and Matt Haack, although he has been up and down, has been great pinning teams inside the 20 all year. John Denney will not be under contract and I just can’t see scenario he is back.
(Projected Cap Space still $56.02M)
Not only is the offense in shambles, it needs a complete rebuild. In Adam Gase’s three seasons with the Dolphins, his offensive ranks are: 24th in 2016, 25th in 2017 and currently 29th in the 2018 season. This is unbelievably unacceptable. Gase was brought in here to coach Tannehill up. That was a miss. He had a running game in 2016 with Jay Ajayi, trades him midway in 2017 season. Drake finishes the season strong and was set to lead the team in 2018. Except, he hasn’t, and its not even close. The mismanagement of his roster on offense, the continued lack of depth on the offensive line (which by the way, he believes in a philosophy of not paying for interior OL). Having 56M after cuts on the offensive side of the ball is the right thing to do. Especially if there is a new regime coming to town, which to this point, is still up in the air. I will be releasing part 2 of this article tomorrow, focusing on the defensive side of the ball. Be sure to check it out on DolphinsTalk.com and be sure to follow me on twitter @DolphinsTalkTom.