The Miami Dolphins made a significant splash in the free agent shopping spree when they signed safety Marcus Maye with the hopes that he would provide the team with some of the potential he entered the NFL with when the New York Jets drafted him in 2017.


Maye’s arrival in South Beach comes with a mixed bag of questions based on his previous performance, talent, mindset, and if he will actually be a good fit in the Dolphin’s defensive gameplay.

Where He’s Been

Coming out of the University of Florida, Maye earned All-Sec honors as a senior and would enter the NFL Draft as a top-eight safety according to various experts and mock draft boards.


Named the starting free safety in his rookie season, Maye played all sixteen games, showing a great ability to hunt the ball, finishing the season with 79 tackles and 2 interceptions. After injuries limited Maye to just six games in his sophomore season, he would bounce back the next two years, playing all 16 games each season and notching a career-high 88 tackles in 2020.


In 2022, Maye would sign a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints, playing ten games in his first season. Unfortunately, Maye’s time with the Saints – whose odds you can consult in this website – would be short-lived after he was suspended for three games for a substance abuse violation and recurring injuries led to his appearing in just seven games in 2023

Maye’s struggles during the last three seasons haven’t been limited to just action on the field as he was arrested for a DUI car accident in the fall of 2021 and in September 2022, he was arrested for a road rage incident that involved aggravated assault with a firearm.

Welcome To Miami

There have been plenty of reclamation projects throughout the history of the NFL and the Dolphins are giving Maye a chance at his. While it is nowhere close to the 3yr / $28.5 million deal that he inked with the Saints, Maye’s one-year $1.21 million (with a signing bonus of $167,000) contract with the Dolphins gives him a new lease on his professional football career.


So what exactly does Maye have in the tank to offer the Dolphins? Of the 77 games that he has played over the past seven seasons, Maye has started each one, providing a young Dolphins’ secondary with valuable leadership and on-field awareness. With new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver looking to implement an aggressive defensive attack, one that helped the Baltimore Ravens to become the NFL’s top-ranked defense last season, Maye’s hard-hitting approach and flexibility to play either safety position falls right into Weaver’s playbook.


Maye Be, Maye Be Not

Jevon Holland, a team captain from last year and one of the league’s best young defensive players already holds down the starting free safety role while former Buffalo Bill Jordan Poyer is projected to slot into the strong safety position. However, Poyer’s lock as a starter isn’t 100% as the twelve-year vet could find himself in a training camp battle with Maye for playing time.  Add in Elijah Campbell, Nik Needham, plus a trio of rookies with Patrick McMorris, Mark Perry, and Jordan Colbert and the Dolphins’ safety position may be the strongest it has been in years.


Looking to rewrite his image and win a championship with a young, hungry, and talented Dolphins team, Maye has the ability to land the starting role opposite Holland, giving Weaver and the Dolphins a mix of veteran experience and youthful legs on the same line.


Weaver was known to use three safeties during his time in Baltimore, something that he will likely do this season with the Dolphins. This could mean any combination of Holland, Maye, and Poyer on the field at the same time. However don’t just pigeonhole Maye into one of the two safety positions as his versatility, flexibility, and athleticism (when healthy) have allowed him to take snaps in the box, slot, defensive line, and at the corner, all of which could allow Weaver to be creative defensively.


In a perfect world, Maye will come in, and help the Dolphins improve their defensive ranking from a bottom-half team, starting every game and earning himself a big payday as a free agent next spring. In a not-so-happy ending to the story, Maye’s potential unwillingness to accept a limited role moving from a starter to a depth position, injuries, and off-field decisions will impact his place on the depth chart, resulting in the Dolphins simply cutting ties with a player who financially offered a high reward / low-risk option as a free agent. In reality, Maye will land somewhere in the middle, providing the team with depth, versatility, flexibility on defense, and mentorship on and off the field for the Dolphins’ younger players.