While it has been discussed numerous times, by many Miami Dolphins outlets, I have kept somewhat of a low profile when it comes to Free Agency. So with it almost being Free Agency Frenzy, I felt it was time to really dive into what my opinion is with the Dolphins, as it pertains to roster cuts, free agent targets and what the cap will look like when it is all said and done. We need to first dive into the cap number and the cap casualties that may come from this. Thank you to Spotrac for cap numbers and contracts that we will be discussing below.:
Cap Space (Top 51): 93,657,524 (1st in NFL)
Albert Wilson (WR)– Since Wilson has arrived, he has had the injury bug. 69 rec, 742 yards and 5 TDs are a good stat line for a slot receiver, but this was over 2 seasons. He has played in a total of 20 out of a possible 36 games since arriving in 2018. His cap number is $10,833,334 for 2020. If the Dolphins were to release him, they will save $9,500,000 in cap space in 2020. While they may seek a restructure to keep him for less, I see the Dolphins parting ways with Wilson and filling his spot with a WR in this year’s draft class, which is very rich. (Cap after move: $103,157,524)
Daniel Kilgore (C)– Playing 877 snaps, allowing 3 sacks, Kilgore does have a cheaper contract. But if you watched the games, he was poor in run blocking, failing to engage his man at the snap, which was part of the reasons the Dolphins had one of the worst running seasons in NFL history. Kilgore is a free release with no dead cap. Dolphins will save $3,536,250 in cap space. How will they fill that roster hole? Stay tuned… (Cap after move: $106,693,774)
Reshad Jones (S)- I saved this one for last, mostly because I went back and forth on it for a while. While I am a huge fan of Jones, he is 32 years old. His cap hit is 15+ M and he has played in 18 of a possible 36 games the last 2 seasons due to injury. He may be a ring of honor candidate when his career is over, but I feel the Dolphins will say goodbye to him. No need to restructure a contract that is already inflated. With the Dolphins having the cap space, and there are no post June 1st release numbers, he would need to be let go in March. This move will save the Dolphins $5,371,250, which isn’t a ton, but will free up a potential log jam at Safety. (Cap after move: $112,065,024)
There may be more moves than this but won’t have significant effects on the cap (Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, Kalen Ballage are a few names to watch). So, all in all, the Dolphins will head into free agency with $112,065,024 in salary cap, which could go up another 5M, if the new CBA is agreed to on 3/12. But I won’t play with that hypothetical as it is too early to tell if it gets passed or not. So, let’s jump in with the 112M, shall we?
Needs- QB, RB, TE, OT, OG, C, DE, CB, S
QB: None. With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen already in the fold, the only logical move here is to draft a QB, which seems like a high probability.
RB: Sign Melvin Gordon (27 years old) (Prev 3 years: 621 carries, 2,602 yards rushing, 26TDs/150 rec, 1,262 yards, 9TDs). Gordon has split carries the last 2 seasons with Austin Eckler, who was outstanding. Gordon doesn’t have too much in regards of leverage, and I believe around 9M per season is fair for his services. The Dolphins need a ton of help and I think this will be a target when legal tampering begins.
Contract: 3 yr, 28M ($9.33M per season), 17M guaranteed at signing
Alternative Options to watch for: Jordan Howard, Gus Edwards, Matt Brieda
TE: No attractive options on the open market. The Dolphins did already sign Michael Roberts, who has a chance to crack the roster. A low risk, high reward move.
OT: Sign Jack Conklin (25 years old). Conklin is the best RT in the market. If the Dolphins are going to spend big, it needs to be done in the trenches. Conklin can solidify the right side of the offensive line by kicking Jesse Davis back to RG. There will be a bidding war for Conklin, but one I can see the Dolphins stepping up to win that battle
Contract: 5 yr, 80M ($16M per season), 55M guaranteed
Alternative Options to watch for: A trade for Trent Williams, Jared Veldheer (cheap back up).
OG: Sign Ereck Flowers (25 years old). Flowers has been a reclamation project at Guard. He played 937 snaps last season and only allowed 2 sacks. Some may shake their head here, but he is going to come cheaper than you may think.
Contract: 3 yr, 21M (7M per season), 12M Guaranteed
Alternative Options to watch for: Joe Thuney (there will be a bidding war for him as one of the top guards, but with NE ties, he will be looked at for sure. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the one signed)
C: Sign Matt Skura (27 years old). Skura had a terrific campaign for the Ravens. 717 snaps played, allowing one sack and only two penalties. This is a HUGE upgrade over Daniel Kilgore. Skura is going to command a decent contract, but the objective in FA is to find young, reliable trench players.
Contract: 4 yr, 45M (11.25M per season), 26M Guaranteed
Alternative Options to watch for: Ted Karras, Adam Redmond
DE: Sign Shaq Lawson (25 years old). Lawson has gotten lost in the shuffle in Buffalo and will most likely hit the open market. With a connection to Marion Hobby, this shouldn’t take too much convincing. Lawson had a good year sharing snaps, connecting on 7 sacks and a forced fumble. This is the kind of signing that could have a good impact out of the gate and won’t break the bank.
Contract: 4 yr, 34M (8.5M per season), 20M Guaranteed
Alternative Options to watch for: Arik Armstead, Trade for Yannick Ngakoue, Vic Beasley Jr
The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 2, 2020
CB: Sign Logan Ryan (29 years old). Ryan has familiarity with Brian Flores. He has good versatility, leading the league in tackles and coming away with 4 INT. He isn’t a long-term answer at corner, but he is a good veteran player who can help continue to help the young players behind him develop
Contract: 3 year, 28M (9.33M per season) 15M Guaranteed
Alternative Options to look for: Eli Apple, Trae Waynes, Artie Burns
S: Sign Karl Joseph (26 years old). With the release of Reshad Jones, the Dolphins have an opening at strong safety. Joseph is good in the box and can also get after the QB to cause disruption. If the Dolphins can get Joseph, they can spend a mid to late round pick and develop someone in the draft.
Contract: 3 years, 21M (7M per season) 13M Guaranteed
Alternative Options to look for: Devin McCourty, Tre Boston, Anthony Harris
Bonus: Sign Kyle Van Noy (28 years old). Linebacker isn’t a dire need, but his versatility is. He has knowledge of the defense and ability to get after the QB is a big need. The Dolphins could bring him in short term.
Contract: 3 years, 30M (10M per season) 20M Guaranteed
To recap, with the moves created, the Dolphins will have $112,065,024, with my plan, here is the money spent is $78,41M. Leaving the Dolphins with $33,655,024 in cap space. With this plan, the Dolphins address 8 starting positions, particularly on offensive line and defense. This will allow flexibility at the draft and the Dolphins rebuild could turn around quicker than anyone expected. While many may be opposed to spending near 80M, that’s only 10M average per player, which isn’t going to break the bank long-term.
The frenzy begins on March 16th. Be sure to follow me on twitter @DolphinsTalkTom for all the latest Miami Dolphins news/rumors/opinions. And also check us out on iTunes and Spotify for our daily podcast which will go back to being daily as free agency draws near.
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