Now, that the beginning of free agency and the NFL Draft are over, it’s time to grade the Miami Dolphins offseason. This doesn’t mean in no way that the Dolphins are done. The Dolphins could still sign any free agent that is on the market and don’t be surprised when training camp does get here that the Dolphins will scoop up a player or two off the waiver wire as other teams are trying to iron-out a 53-man roster. But many transactions that occur during the offseason are done so this is as good a time as any to assess the Miami Dolphins progress.
CUTS: Andre Branch, Ted Larsen, Danny Amendola, Josh Sitton, Luke Falk, Dee Delaney, Jeremiah Valoaga
OVERALL GRADE: A
Sitton retired shortly after he was released so he might have made Miami’s decision easier for them here. So, their first year they get a pass and an easy A.
TENDERS: Isaac Asiata, Jalen Davis, Jonathan Woodard, Zach Sterup
OVERALL GRADE: A
Tenders is an easy A as well because these guys are cheap. They’ve been with the team and really just are brought back for depth purposes. Some of these guys might even end up on the practice squad. So, it’s not like super crucial to lock everybody you possibly can in this fashion. I was pleased to see that Jalen Davis will be returning. Woodard was able to put a good game here and there last season. Asiata has been a draft bust but hopefully with a new scheme, things will get better.
EXTENSIONS: Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard
OVERALL GRADE: A
The Dolphins exercised their fifth-year option on 2016 first-round pick Tunsil and that was a smart move. So happy the Dolphins were able to get a deal done with Xavien Howard. This has been a long time coming. We needed to lock him up for the long-term and the Dolphins did.
RESIGNINGS: John Denney, Devante Parker, Mike Hull
OVERALL GRADE: B
John Denney has been solid for the team over the years. No surprise there that he gets re-signed. I know Hull gets a bad rap with fans, but our linebacker unit as a whole is not very good and when Hull is healthy, he does ok at best. Problem is, he has had a lot of injuries that have slowed him down a bit and he didn’t cost the team very much to retain so I’m pleased to see him back although he isn’t guaranteed a roster spot with the recent linebacker additions and undrafted free agents Miami signed. The only move that threw me for a loop was Devante Parker. The 2015 first-round pick has not lived up to expectations. They got him cheap though so that’s why I settled on a B.
SIGNINGS: Tank Carradine, Ricardo Louis, Dwayne Allen, Jake Rudock, Eric Rowe, Clive Walford, Jayrone Elliot, Durval Quieroz Neto, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Reed, Aaron Monteiro, Ryan Anderson, Mike Smith, Jordan Mills, Malik Rosier, Sean Mcguire, Jhavonte Dean, Rob Rolle, Wes Farnsworth, Darrell Langham, Nik Feedham, Tre Watson, Tyler Holden, Jonathan Ledbetter, Montre Hartage, Terrill Hanks, Preston Williams, Trent Irwin, Deion Calhoun
OVERALL GRADE: D
Dolphins definitely did not replace any talent or upgrade any positions in free agency this year. The most intriguing was undrafted rookie signings of Dean and Ledbetter. Dean will have to work his way up in a crowded backfield. Ledbetter was listed on some draft charts as being a late-day 3 pick in the draft. He is one to watch in training camp. Dolphins let go of their three-best pass-rushers last season so that is why I suggest an outside chance that Ledbetter could find himself not only a roster spot but, in a spot, to see playing time as well. There just isn’t any buzz surrounding who the Dolphins acquire on the open market, so they get a low grade as a result.
TRADES: Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Trade back with the Saints, Josh Rosen
OVERALL GRADE: C
Two trades I like, two, I don’t. The Dolphins were never going to get back 100% compensation for what they spent on Tannehill. Sure, it would have been nice to not give up the 6th-round pick in addition to getting a 2020 4th-round pick but for the contract the Dolphins had to unload, can’t hate the trade. I liked the other quarterback trade as well. Not a huge Josh Rosen fan but his upside makes me think he might be the best quarterback we have on the roster. Cardinals spent a top-10 pick on Rosen last year and the Dolphins got him for a late-second round pick this year. No matter how you swing it, that is a bargain. The Quinn trade was bad. First off, if you are going to create a major hole in your roster, be sure you are getting something in return. Spoke to many Dolphin fans who explained to me that if they would have just held onto him for the year the possibility of a 4th-rounder was on the table. Dolphins traded him for a 2020 6th-rounder, and they spent a 4th-rounder on him a year ago. He was the best pass-rusher we had last year because Cam Wake had lost a step. Here is the problem I have with the trade back with the Saints. The Dolphins traded their second rounder and fourth-rounder for the Saints second, sixth and 2020 second-rounder. The Saints were the best team in the NFC last year. They will probably be the best NFC team this year. So, the draft pick for 2020 seems to carry very little value. The Dolphins traded back and are essentially putting all their eggs in the basket that 2020 NFL draft will be better. That is a rookie regime mistake right there. So, split down the middle for me and so, that is why I give them a C.
DRAFT: Christine Wilkins, Michael Dieter, Andrew Van Ginkel, Isaiah Prince, Chandler Cox, Myles Gaskins
OVERALL GRADE: C
I’m already a fan of Wilkins and Cox and if it is not too presumptious, I think Prince could end up being the starting RT. I think Van Ginkel could be good with a little bit of time. Like I said before, our linebacker corps is far from perfect. Same thing applies to Gaskins. Running game was underutilized last year and Gaskins will have to work his way upwards behind Kenyan Drake and Kallen Ballage but given time, could end up being a nice trio. The Dolphins followed my simple rules in a rebuild. No, QBs, WRs, TEs taken in the early rounds and always drafting offensive lineman and a running back. But, I’m disappointed in not trying to maximize picks in this draft class and not a huge fan of the Dieter pick. But we will see how it all pans out.
FINAL OVERALL GRADE: B-
I think that is about fair. I was generous with my grades in some areas because this new regime is going to be implementing an entire new offensive and defensive scheme, so you don’t know how it is going to pan out until we actually see this team play together. There’s still a lot of holes in this roster but plenty of interesting story-lines heading into training camp. The quarterback competition between Fitzpatrick and Rosen will be red-hot! Homecoming of Ricardo Louis. Dwayne Allen and the rest of the TEs. First-round pick Christian Wilkins. Enjoy the rest of the offseason, my fellow Dolphin fans!
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