In a way, the Miami Dolphins are in the same position they were in a year ago. They are in desperate need of a pass-rusher. At least, that was my opinion until they made a trade for Robert Quinn. But there are no easy answers to solving this issue and I find the dilemma somewhat interesting because of the varying scenarios that could play out in the coming months depending on what the Dolphins decide to do.
On the one hand, you have veterans who are a bit on the aging side but still playing solidly and on the other hand, you have youngsters who don’t cost much but who are also not living up to their potential either. How does one handle a situation like that?
Let’s start with Robert Quinn. Quinn is set to make about $13 million this year. They can cut him with no penalty, or they can restructure his contract. There’s also the option to trade him. I hope they do none of these choices. Quinn is aging and will be making a lot of money this year, but he was also the best playmaker we had in that unit. I would pay him the $13 million as he is entering a contract year and looking to cash in. It will be his second season with the Dolphins so he could actually have a breakout season. Even if the Dolphins do switch to a 3-4 base scheme, Quinn had a respectable 2017 season with the Rams before he was traded. I’m not concerned about it. I don’t think you need to extend his contract. That just puts us in further salary cap hell. We want to try to avoid that.
The next person who has been a disappointment is Andre Branch. He set career-highs in tackles in 2016. That is what landed him a generous contract from Mike Tannenbaum. He is in the final year of that contract and is set to make $9 million. The Dolphins took a one-year flyer on him back in 2016 and given the fact we are in a similar situation with him, I would love to try to trade him. Let someone else experiment with him. He had one good game last year and it was against his former team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has been a signing bust.
I don’t know why the Miami Dolphins can’t draft this position correctly, but they always manage to screw it up. Charles Harris has accumulated 38 tackles and 3 sacks in the two seasons since he has been drafted 22nd overall in the 2017 draft. What’s worse is he has played in majority of the games. So, he is getting plenty of playing time. He’s just not performing well. Rumor has it that he is a better fit in a 3-4 scheme which is what the Dolphins are expected to change to. We shall see if all that is true or not but if we weren’t so desperate for an infusion of youth in this particular unit, I’d probably try to move him as well, but he is only costing about $7 million over the next two years so, for now, he should stay.
The next situation is Cameron Wake and William Hayes. Both, who are set to be free agents. Emotionally, I would love to keep both these guys. Wake has been my favorite player for a long-time and I have an appreciation for guys who don’t automatically make it to the NFL from college and have to work extra hard to get there. He is a staple for this franchise. I would love to see him stay and I think there is a way he can. It just all depends on price even if it means he is just a rotational player.
Hayes is a do-it-all kind of player as he can line up as a 4-3 edge rusher and can play some defensive tackle as well. The major issue regarding him is health. When he plays, he is good but in both seasons with the Dolphins, he has ended up on injured reserve. As much as it kills me, it’s probably best to just part ways with him.
Since the Dolphins have a bad history when it comes to drafting defensive ends and because they also need more youth at the position, I would go ahead and make a big splash in free agency. I really like Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark. Both are expected to make big paydays. I would target one of them. We got to get this position squared away once and for all because Cameron Wake can’t play forever.
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