Raise your hand if you wondered what the Miami Dolphins were doing after the first week of free agency? I admit to doing so because the Dolphins had needs on the offensive line and they weren’t signing anyone or at the very least, from an outsider’s perspective, making an effort. Sure, they signed guard Connor Williams from the Dallas Cowboys, but he only signed a two-year contract, and to me, that’s a one-year prove-it deal to try to earn a second year.
The Dolphins were re-signing most of their free agents, like Elandon Roberts, Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, and others. They also signed Chase Edmonds and Cedrick Wilson, but none of those signings got me excited about the team with their glaring needs at the tackle position. It seemed like the Dolphins were standing pat with their team.
That all changed on Tuesday night when the Dolphins signed the top free-agent offensive tackle on the market in Terron Armstead. He had been on the market for a whole week, and it seemed like he was going to return to the New Orleans Saints after they looked into acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Saints failed to make a trade for Watson, so Armstead looked at his other options. He signed on the dotted line with the Dolphins Tuesday night. Armstead will now anchor the left tackle spot and is the veteran presence this team needed on this offensive line. The one concern I have about Armstead is he has never played an entire season in the NFL since coming into the league in 2013 and has had some injuries that nagged him. At the same time, it’s a risk the Dolphins had to take; what were their other options?
The Dolphins could have done nothing and waited till the draft, but that’s huge for new head coach Mike McDaniel. That would say it was coaching and scheme why the offensive line was terrible. Frankly, that would have been arrogant and a risky move. I think this new staff can revive some of the young linemen’s careers, but I’m not willing to gamble on all of them.
This was all or nothing with Armstead. The Dolphins had other options in La’el Collins and Trent Brown, but they didn’t seem to make any severe offers for either. The Dolphins might have waited to see how the market played out, which is risky because you lose out on good players in the process.
Williams might be a good player, but he’s still developing at 25 years old. Plus, he played on a line with Collins, Tyson Smith, and Zach Martin, all-pro bowl players. Was Williams the hidden gem? Maybe and we will find out.
Armstead should anchor the left side of the line and help mentor Robert Hunt, Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson, and Michael Deiter. Those need somebody that will take them under their wing. The Dolphins have been lacking that veteran presence and pedigree on the line. Yes, they have Jesse Davis, but he’s not the player Armstead is. With the Buffalo Bills adding Von Miller to their already stacked defense, the Dolphins needed to make a move to improve the line to compete with them, and mission accomplished.
How good can this line improve? I don’t know, but Armstead makes them a better team. Now it’s just molding the other players around him.