Applying the Franchise Tag on Mike Gesicki
Before Free Agency got started, the Dolphins retained the services of Tight End Mike Gesicki for at least one more season. As they gave him a franchise tag which is worth nearly $11 million for the season. The price tag isn’t as high as he probably would have gotten from some team had he hit free agency. For the money he’s getting, he’s an expensive slot receiver, especially considering the fact he’s never surpassed 800 yards in a season or had more than 6 TDs.
The fit with Mike McDaniel’s scheme has been questioned, especially since it’s run-based and he’s not a good blocker. With the addition of Tyreek Hill, who can take the top off the defense, Gesicki can flourish in the middle of the field.
Re-signing Emmanuel Ogbah
The first move the Dolphins made once teams were allowed to speak to every free agent around the league was to re-sign one of their own. Ogbah got a four-year 65 million dollar deal after signing for two years and playing at a higher level than his contract seemed to indicate. He racked back-to-back nine sack seasons and was a constant force in the passing games as he continually batted down balls on the line of scrimmage. He also improved in TFLs (Tackles for Loss), as he ended up with nine after having six last season.
This was a necessary move as he’s still the Dolphins’ best pass rusher; the hope is that Jaelan Phillips eventually becomes the primary pass rusher in the future, but Ogbah will have that for now assignment.
Signing Chase Edmonds
Another move that happened on Day 1 of Free Agency was the signing of running back Chase Edmonds to a two-year 12.6 million dollar deal. Edmons spent the first four years of his career in Arizona, mostly as a backup to guys like David Johnson, Kenyan Drake & James Conner. He’s never had more than 600 rushing yards in a season but has shined in his backup role as he’s averaged over 5 yards a carry twice in his career. He’s also a talented receiver who can provide some versatility to what Mike McDaniel plans on doing offensively.
McDaniel faced Edmonds twice each year for the last four years, meaning he has a pretty good idea what kind of player he’s getting.
Signing Cedrick Wilson
The Dolphins signed former Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson to a three-year, 22 million dollar deal. Wilson is 26 and on an upwards trajectory as he had his best season despite being behind Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb & Michael Gallup on the depth chart. He took advantage of his expanded role once Gallup went down and Cooper struggled to stay healthy. Mike McDaniel spoke about wanting players who were good with the ball in their hands, and Wilson fits that mold exactly while also adding some size to a relatively small receivers room (assuming Parker gets traded).
The grade for this would be higher had Miami not spent so much draft capital and a hefty financial investment on Tyreek Hill a week later.
Signing Alec Ingold
Fullbacks are a dying breed in the NFL, and yet the Dolphins now have 2 signed to their active roster. The Shanahan scheme which Miami plans on implementing is one of the rare that still utilizes fullbacks, and it’s proven to be effective in the past. The 49ers have made Kyle Juszcyk a crucial part of their offense, and he’s become the best fullback in the NFL; now, Miami signed Alec Ingold to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million, making him the 2nd highest-paid fullback in the league.
Ingold isn’t as talented, especially as a blocker, as Juszcyk, but he can somewhat have that same effect on the offense and is a surprisingly good receiver out of the backfield. He’s also recovering from an injury, so there is a risk there.
Signing Connor Williams
It’s no secret that the Dolphins needed to address their offensive line during free agency, and they began that process by giving out a two-year 14 million dollar deal to Connor Williams. Williams is a surprisingly polarizing player as he’s gathered a variety of opinions from those who watched his tenure in Dallas; for some websites like PFF, he grades as an excellent Offensive Guard who simply had an issue with holding penalties. While others have said he was the weak spot on the Cowboys’ offensive line. Clearly, the Cowboys agreed with the latter, as he was benched during the season in a period where he struggled with holding penalties; he was later reinserted into the lineup. Still, it’s rare that a player gets benched when they think he’s good.
Williams is a talented player yet seemingly flawed. Still, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be an upgrade over Austin Jackson.
Signing Terron Armstead
After the disappointment of missing out on La’el Collins came, the Dolphins went with an even bigger splash as they acquired the top offensive tackle in Free Agency. They signed 3x Pro Bowler Terron Armstead to a five-year 75 million dollar deal, making him the 13th highest paid tackle in the league. This was less money than most believed he’d get in the open market, as teams tend to overpay for quality left tackles, but a big part of that is that he’s struggled to stay on the field. This was a necessary move after failing to develop Liam Eichenberg & Austin Jackson into quality Tackles at the NFL level, and he provides a much-needed veteran presence to a young room.
Armstead has earned his reputation as one of the best pass blocking tackles in football, which can also become a mauler in the run game. He’s also surprisingly mobile; he’s one of the fastest tackles in football, which should fit well with how McDaniel uses his tackles (see Trent Williams in San Francisco).
Trading for Tyreek Hill
Without a doubt, the most significant move the Miami Dolphins made this offseason was trading five draft picks for 6x Pro Bowler & 3x All-Pro Tyreek Hill. Important to mention that not only did the Dolphins give out five picks that included a late 1st & a 2nd, but they also made him the highest-paid receiver in NFL history. When the opportunity presented itself for Miami to trade for Tyreek, they had to do everything to acquire him. Miami needed a good receiver alongside Jaylen Waddle. But I don’t think anyone could have predicted ending up with the most explosive weapon in the NFL.
The Dolphins needed to provide Tua with everything they could for him to succeed, as the first two seasons of his young career have been complete dysfunction on the offensive side of the ball. By adding a receiver who can create separation and is among the best ever with the ball in his hands, they gave Tua another weapon that fits his skill set.
While many may see it as going all-in on Tua, and that’s somewhat accurate, it’s also to make Miami an attractive destination for a QB that may be on the move in the future. Miami also has two 1st round picks in 2023, and having Tyreek Hill & Jaylen Waddle is about as friendly a receiving duo as a young QB could possibly have. It is a good move for 2022 but also going forward. There’s risk involved as Miami paid a hefty price for Hill, and he hasn’t been a saint off the field, but considering the draft capital Miami has had, it was a risk worth taking.