Since the news first broke of Xavien Howard’s contract extension, there’s been a lot of chatter in the last week of the possibility that left tackle Laremy Tunsil who was another 2016 draft selection by the Dolphins, could be in the running for a contract extension as well. Now, the Dolphins did recently exercise their 5th year option on Tunsil which basically an option available for NFL teams that want to keep their former first-round picks an extra season without running the risk of losing them sooner. So, Tunsil is on the books until the conclusion of the 2020 regular season. But, do the Dolphins need to do anything more than that beyond this point? No, for a couple reasons.
First, the Dolphins have a bad history of using free agency to rebuild their offensive line. Whether it’s re-signing their own or fetching a player on the open market, these days many sports betting websites predicted the Dolphins to be the worst team in the NFL in 2019. Here are some examples: Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, Branden Albert and of course who could forget the “death blow” Josh Sitton. Long signed a two-year deal in 2012 and was released a year later. Pouncey signed a contract extension in 2014 despite the news of his involvement in the bully gate scandal and ended up not playing all season. Newcomer at the time, Albert was signed in 2014 but missed the last 7 games. 2018 acquisition Sitton played one game for the Dolphins before being released. Given this history, it has left me to conclude that the best way to rebuild an offensive line is to save a few picks every draft year for offensive linemen. Just keep drafting them every year because they get ripped to shreds. Let some other team in a “win-now” mentality pay the big bucks to guys like JaWuan James, etc.
Since there are fans out there that like to spew PFF grades like it is gospel, you are in luck. I have his grades right here. Tunsil’s pass blocking grade was 79.5. His run blocking grade was 62.3. PFF gave him an overall grade of 70.4. Just to give you a comparative reference, Terron Armstead was PFF’s highest graded LT in 2018 with an overall grade of 89.4. Look at that! Tunsil doesn’t even come close. He didn’t even crack PFF’s top 25 best offensive-linemen list in 2018 but they did mention he was the best in the AFC East. Well, *cough, *cough, the Dolphins do play other teams besides the Jets, Bills and Patriots.
Don’t get me wrong Tunsil is a solid player and I am happy to have him on the team but if this new regime is going to last, they can’t repeat history. They didn’t pay the big money to JaWuan James and elected to let him walk. They brought in Dieter and Prince via the draft. Our offensive line is far from perfect, but this is a rebuild year and so far, the new regime has handled this position correctly. So, hopefully, you have a better understanding of the Tunsil situation and sure there are exceptions, but I don’t think we are there yet when it comes to Laremy Tunsil.