The signings made thus far in 2023 appear to be about one side of the ball thus far for the Miami Dolphins. However, when Miami hired Mike McDaniel as their head coach in 2022, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier gave McDaniel the keys. Described as an offensive genius, McDaniel went all out, requesting several offensive players to fit his scheme.
The 2022 free agency season saw the additions of offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Connor Williams, running backs Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel (who was waived before the season), and wide receivers Cedric Wilson and Trent Sherfield, to name a few. The biggest 2022 splash was McDaniel asking Grier to do what it took to get Tyreek Hill.
Now that 2022 has come and gone and 2023 is here, it appears that free agency has been catered to the defense. Just like last year with McDaniel, it appears that Grier has given newly hired defensive coordinator Vic Fangio the keys. Fangio has been described as a defensive genius. Fangio has gone all out with the defense as McDaniel did with the offense last season.
It has been a flip-flopped mirror image of free agency from the offense to defense from the 2022 to 2023 season. Just as McDaniel had Grier sign former players he worked with before, Fangio has done the same with some of his defensive players. Malik Reed, whom Fangio worked with before, is one of the Dolphins’ latest additions. Additionally, the big splash player that was landed by the Dolphins this season was cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) March 19, 2023
In addition to Ramsey, free agent signings on the defensive side of the ball have been David Long, Malik Reed, Deshon Elliot, and re-signing Nik Needham and Duke Riley. This includes a team that already has Xavien Howard, Bradley Chubb, Jevon Holland, Kader Kohou, Christian Wilkins, Jaelen Phillps, Emmanuel Ogbah, Zach Seiler, Raekwon Davis, Channing Tindall, Brandon Jones, Keion Crossen, Elijah Campbell, Verone Mckinley, Noah Igbinoghene, Tino Ellis, and Cameron Goode.
That leaves little room for available cap space. Therefore, what few offensive additions the Dolphins have made in free agency appear to be nothing more than bargain shopping. Most fans have been clamoring for a solid right tackle signing for the past two seasons. What makes it so difficult is that most premier tackles are put on the left side to protect a quarterback’s blind side. However, Tua Tagovailoa is NFL’s only left-handed quarterback, which makes his blind side on the right side. That means that most right tackles who have been moved from left tackle to right tackle aren’t always as good as the team’s left tackle.
The lack of premium right tackles available in free agency has become an issue, especially for the Dolphins. When a right tackle becomes available, it appears that other teams are snatching those players up immediately. Since most of the money has been spent on the defense in free agency this year, a premium right tackle’s asking price may have been higher than what the Dolphins were willing to pay.
Most fans will agree that there shouldn’t be a price tag placed on Tua Tagovailoa’s protection on his blind side. And certainly, Mike McDaniel knows that Tua’s blind side should be protected. But Tua can’t continue to keep making comeback drives only to see that lead blown by the defense on 3rd and long or fourth down. Now that defensive playmakers have been balanced with the offensive playmakers finishing that balance with the offensive line is necessary.
If there are no more trades or free-agent signings of offensive linemen, I would expect one to be drafted in 2023.