Chip Turner and Shawn Williams are Phinmaniac writers who bring outstanding knowledge and perspective in their football analysis.
They will be bringing you a weekly show on Wednesdays and will be LIVE in Cleveland for the NFL Draft in April!
By: Tanner Elliott
Running Back/ Slot
5’10” 200 lbs
University of California, Los Angeles
At the Senior Bowl, Demetric Felton played slot and showed how good of a receiver he can be. In college Felton was an average running back, but what made him stand out was his pass-catching ability. Having this ability is extremely crucial in today's NFL, as everyone is looking for that “do it all” back. In addition to being a good receiver and one of the best route runners in college football last year, Felton was also a return man in college. I know the route-running comment is a bold statement, as Felton played most of his snaps at running back, but it’s true. He was leaving starting corners frozen as he moved in and out of breaks. Felton’s elusiveness can’t be overlooked, as he’s very slippery. The spin move seems to be his go-to move but he can do just about anything to make sure he isn’t tackled.
Felton is elusive, but it doesn’t take a ton of contact to bring him down; at times, he barely gets hit or tripped up, and that would be it. It would have been nice to see him put up a little more fight to stay up and fight for extra yards. Felton is a very raw prospect, which might scare some inexperienced coaching staffs away. Being a full-time running back for two seasons and a full time receiver for two seasons may make some teams debate where to put him, so if the wrong team drafts Felton, his career may not go as planned.
Like Montgomery, Felton has the ability to play both receiver and running back. Felton will more than likely be used more at receiver than Montgomery, who is more of a running back. That being said, Felton will more than likely have the better career, as he is a better player than Montgomery, but expect him to be used the same depending on the team he goes to.
Felton’s draft stock was boosted significantly during the Senior Bowl. Don’t be surprised if a team takes him in the back end of the second round to make sure they don’t miss out on him in the third. I do think that he will play receiver in the NFL, as even on film he was a better receiver than running back (which he just started playing in 2019). This would allow teams to run some wildcat with Felton as the quarterback if they wanted to, due to his experience at running back. Felton is a very raw player, but I think his floor as an NFL player is an average slot who can get you some of those big plays that every team needs.
Hussam Patel welcomes one of PhinManiacs' favorite friends, Antwan Staley!
Hussam and Antwan talk about the several pro-days going on leading into NFL Draft month!
The PhinManiacs crew discussed the massive day of the Miami Dolphins front office and their multiple trades!
Listen in as Jason Sarney, Hussam Patel, Brandon Liguori, Shawn Williams, and Drew Welch chop it up about the moves made!
By: Tanner Elliott
The Miami Dolphins pulled the first blockbuster trade of the draft season by sending the 3rd overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 12th overall pick, the 49ers third round pick, 2022 and 2023 first round pick. After Miami made a trade with the 49ers, the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone and pulled off another. Miami sent the 12th pick, their 2022 first round pick, and pick 123 to the Eagles for the 6th overall pick and pick 156.
Miami moved back three spots and gained a first in 2023 and a third in 2022. The trade with the 49ers made it possible for Miami to still have a first round pick next year. The Dolphins are clearly targeting a player with the 6th pick which is more than likely Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, or Kyle Pitts. What Miami plans to do now remains a mystery but what we do know is Miami more than likely got the guy they were targeting at three at pick six.
By: Hussam Patel
Amon-Ra St. Brown might be one of the most underrated WRs of this draft class, and that makes him very dangerous. As a film watcher, you typically don't see a WR get down and dirty around the line of scrimmage, the toughness isn't seen most of the time. With St. Brown, its clearly evident that he is a blue-collar worker who can compete with almost anybody.
He routinely makes contested catches with his competitiveness and big-play ability. In the passing game, he can catch any short, intermediate or deep pass, as he excels in all three phases with competitiveness and big-play ability. His quick feet allow him to stop on a route cut and create separation from defenders in zone coverage; he also bullies corners in man coverage. The Trojan product can excel in either a vertical or West Coast offense, using him either as a possession receiver or big play threat down the field.
St. Brown has tremendous football IQ and is a polished route runner, which arguably is his greatest strength; he can run the entire route tree and not give away little nuances to defenders. His frame lacks physicality, so he might not be able to help out a lot in the run game. He might also struggle releasing off the line against physical and bigger-bodied corners, especially 3-5 yards around the scrimmage, but he makes up for it with different releases and excellent footwork
St. Brown can work admirably against zone coverage, as he knows the exact spots where defenders may not be able to reach him to gain yards after the catch. He can separate, make contested catches, work in space and trick defenders with his route running ability. He might not be a 1st rounder depending on where the board falls, but would be a great Day 2 pickup.
While Alijah Vera-Tucker played Left Tackle at USC, he is more suited as a left guard in the NFL. As evidenced by his balance and body control, Vera-Tucker’s athleticism is always on display in pass protections - he's very fluid in his movements.
Per PFF, Vera-Tucker allowed a QB pressure on less than 2% of his pass-blocking snaps as a Trojan, which puts him in an elite tier. He also finished with an 89.2 grade on pass blocking sets, the highest of any lineman. That will translate exceptionally well when he plays guard in the NFL. As a run blocker, Vera-Tucker jumps quickly off the line, uses his athleticism to shift his body into favorable positions, and gains leverage to remain active and push the pile.
His raw power is seen in the running game and going downfield; he moves interior lineman out of the way to create holes, and screen blocks well in the passing game. Vera-Tucker is a mauler in my view, and his tape proves it. He moves people out of the way to let the play develop and consistently wins reps in the run game by just plowing people out of the way. The Trojan product is a tough and physical player who moves defenders with sheer force. His hands are powerful with impressive grip to hold down rushers, and he lowers his pad level to maintain leverage.
Vera-Tucker isn’t a complete player yet, but has all the tools to succeed. The coaching staff that drafts him will be able to use him as a swing guard/tackle position to contribute early on in his career and shift him to a permanent role once he develops. Playing both Guard and Tackle is certainly beneficial to Vera-Tucker as teams look to add versatility in their OL room and will increase his draft stock.
Jay Tufele is another three down interior defensive lineman who can help a team solidify its depth and become a potential starter within two years. Tufele is a bullet off the snap, using his quickness to get off the snap and decrease opposing quarterbacks drop backs. He has a non-stop motor, and his athleticism is off the charts. This allows Jay to be disruptive, and he does a great job at pushing his opponent backward.
While most Defensive Linemen do indeed get to make tackles at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield, Tufele usually doesn’t make the tackle. Instead, he holds blockers, sheds them, and allows other linemen and linebackers to hit the gap and come in as the second defender to finish the tackle. This is a major advantage, as he can run stuff, allowing him to do the dirty work while his teammates make plays.
In the passing game, he has explosive hands and typically defeats single blocks. He will get his pad level high which hinders him to some degree, but he’s is explosive, disruptive, and can play on all three downs. The only issue was his consistency freshman and sophomore years, as he didn't do much, but he exploded onto the scene in his Junior year.
Tufele certainly made some money and definitely increased his draft stock during his pro day. He ran a 4.98 unofficial 40 time, with 30 reps on the bench press. Look for Tufele to be a late day 2/early day 3 pickup to bring depth to a team’s DL room.
The TuAmigos are back at it this week! The internationally renowned dynamic duo riff about the Dolphins in one of the Miami Fan Bases' most unique, informative, and enjoyable podcasts!
By: Hussam Patel
Rondale Moore was compared to Tyreek Hill once, due to his height, speed and big play-making ability. When you watch him, he's an electric play-maker who is special in space - a continuity in this draft class.
Moore is a powerful and fast runner who puts up highlight film every game. His movement is exceptional; not only as a route runner, but also when he ad libs. Moore runs some crisp routes and is very shifty and elusive; he’s consistently a YAC monster, racking up green grass after the catch. He has great balance and is tough to tackle, frequently bouncing off defenders after the catch - he can also make adjustments midair to make plays.
Moore has outstanding footwork and elite speed, and his release off the line and lateral ability to change direction make him a very difficult receiver to cover. At only 5'7”, he draws the Tyreek Hill comparisons, of course, and ran an unofficial 4.29 at his pro day. The Boilermaker standout isn't built like your typical wide receiver.
Moore won't be coming down with contested catches, and doesn’t have the length to adjust to wide or poorly thrown balls out of reach. He’s strong for someone his size, but he doesn’t show a lot of effort blocking downfield. He will need to work on his concentration drops; coaching and working on the JUGS machine should fix that. At Purdue, Moore’s touches were manufactured to maximize his production ability, routinely on screens, sticks and slants.
While he may be a burner whose speed is unmatched, Moore isn’t known for running the entire route tree well. He’s unpolished, but can be taught the full route tree in the slot position. His footwork and speed will help him against bigger defensive backs to separate when running complex routes.
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins continued their media welcome session Tuesday afternoon. South Florida reporters welcomed perhaps the prized gem of the 2021 Dolphin free agent class with wide receiver William Fuller V, formerly of, where else?
The Dolphins signed Fuller on this past Saturday to a one-year deal, and he joins a crowded wide receiver room that includes DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden, Jr. and Jakeem Grant to name a few.
The details of the deal, according to www.spotrac.com is a $10,625,011 contract, including a $9,635,011 signing bonus, $10,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10,625,011. Fuller’s 2021 base salary will be $990,000 and a signing bonus of $9,010,000, while carrying a cap hit of $10,625,011 and a dead cap value of $10,625,011.
Discussing his 1-year deal and why he chose that route, Fuller told reports, "I feel I wanted to take a 1-year to prove my worth in the league. I've had my fair share of injuries, and I want to prove myself."
Expanding on the contract talk and what appeals to him playing with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Fuller said, “I signed a 1-year deal looking to help this team win…. I am excited to be here. Excited to take a fresh start."
He added, "Tua is an electric player...I am super excited to play with Tua and I can't wait to work with him."
It is likely Tua will concur, as when looking at some stats that are a bit more in-depth from his 2020 season, the one that stood out the most was the Quarterback Passer Rating when thrown his way. Last year that number was 134.2 and back in 2018 in his 7 games played that rating was even better at 137.5. His big play ability also moves the chains, creating 38 2020 1st downs on his 53 receptions.
Fuller is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania product and attended Notre Dame before becoming the 21st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft for Houston. While not yet appearing in a full 16 game slate in his five-year career thus far Fuller is efficient if anything. In just 11 games played in 2020, Fuller caught 53 passes for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns, all career highs.
Most notably was his gaudy 16.6 yards per reception average which is big play numbers the Dolphins sorely need. Fuller averaged 79.9 yards receiving per game in 2020. Let’s put that into perspective with DeVante Parker, Miami’s leading receiver last season. Parker averaged 56.6 yards receiving per game, and in 2019 had a stellar season at 75.1 receiving yards per game, a few yards short of Fuller’s 2020 average.
Almost more importantly to what Fuller does when he catches the ball, his presence on the field opens up the defense by lifting the safeties to account for him, thus creating opportunities for other receivers all over the field.
Fuller stated, “I think I can bring an element to the Dolphins to help other guys out."
Fuller seems cut in that team mind-set mold Miami covets, and when asked about his thoughts if the Dolphins add more receivers in the draft, he enthusiastically said, “oh yea, of course, the more talent we got the easier it's going to be for all of us."
It is to be noted that Fuller will finish the lone game remaining from his 6-game suspension due violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and miss Week 1. When asked about that topic, it seemed evident it was a one-off occurrence, as Fuller said, "for me it was a one-time thing, completely accidental."
Closing the media session, he was asked how the South Florida heat would affect him and he said, "I'm prepared for it." He added, “that's something I have never had a problem with, my conditioning."
By: Hussam Patel
Teven Jenkins has experience playing all over the line at Oklahoma State. Most of his experience comes at right tackle, but he’s also played right guard and left tackle. Jenkins is a monster at 6’6, 320 pounds; a top-heavy blocker in an Air Raid offense built for the today’s NFL.
At the college level, Jenkins is super-dominant and far above normal. He’s very consistent in his physicality, throwing defenders around like Hulk smashed Loki in the first Avengers movie. The power shows up in run blocking, as it’s easy for him to get to the second level, but more prominent in pass protection and horizontal pass sets. I would put Jenkins as a guard early on in his career; he can be like former All-Pro Marshal Yanda. However, in the NFL where teams pass more, he can be a starter at right tackle as a rookie.
In the passing game, Jenkins always strikes first, controls defenders, and moves them out of their position. In the run game, he’s able to move flawlessly because of his technique and footwork. He may not have the athleticism and range to move laterally, but he moves vertically based on the Cowboys’ scheme. He holds down his blocks and humiliates his opponents to the end of the whistle.
The Oklahoma State product relies a lot on his big body. Even though it’s jaw-dropping, at times his lack of athleticism can show up against speedier edge defenders, as he’s unable to get his hands on them. He isn’t able to hold them down early, and takes time to circle back to them, leading to minimal gains in the run game or pressures and sacks on his QB.
I would put Jenkins at guard only if he was drafted to a team running a pro-style offense. The concerns may be overblown; it’s about scheme fit and improved technique to be a right tackle in a pro-style offense. I don’t believe he will have an issue in an Air Raid style, vertical offense. He’s able to move well for his size, and is gritty at the line of scrimmage.
In summary, Teven Jenkins will be a quality pickup for any team.
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins welcomed another linebacker via Zoom session Monday morning in former Eagle and Falcon, Duke Riley. Riley initially was drafted by Atlanta in 2017 in the third round and throughout his career has played a mix of special teams as well as defense.
Riley showed his personality to the media and seems genuinely thrilled to be a part of the Dolphins team as well as city of Miami. "I’m just excited about everything. I'm excited about the coaching staff, playing with the guys, the great city, the weather, the great organization in general.” He added, "it’s a blessing."
When asked what Dolphin fans should expect of him, he said confidently, “positive energy. I will bring energy and just be consistent." Expanding on that, Riley said, "Energy. That's all I can say, energy.” Continuing to say what he will bring on-field, Riley says he is, “a guy that's gonna bring his teammates along and lead by example."
Acquired in 2019 in-season by Philadelphia, Riley earned his way on to the starting unit for the Eagles defense by 2020 and had 55 combined tackles in eight starts last season. Riley attributes his energy to a reason why he became an every-down linebacker as opposed to simply third downs or solely on special teams. He kept grinding and worked at his craft.
"Staying dedicated and believing in myself," Riley said. "Not getting many snaps at first, I was still digging." Riley says he became an "every down guy" in Philly. "I was first a situational guy, then I became an everyday guy."
The LSU product is another player who is perfect for a Brian Flores coached team that understands whatever is needed in terms of his role is exactly what he will provide for the Dolphins. "I know he is going to put us in the best position to make plays, Riley said. "We are going to be competing like no other."
In Riley's three full seasons he has played 57 games and started 24, totaling 159 tackles 94 being solo. He was a captain while in Philadelphia.
By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins welcomed newly acquired linebacker, Brennan Scarlett to South Florida via Zoom call Monday morning. Scarlett was acquired over the weekend and becomes yet another Texan to join the Dolphins. The Cal and Stanford product, as odd as that sounds, is excited to be a Dolphin. "I appreciate the welcome I am happy to be here.”
He added, “at the end of the day, Miami is just a great historic franchise."
Scarlett was undrafted in 2016 and signed with Houston and has spent his full five-year career there before signing with Miami. Prior to this, he spent three seasons at California earning a degree, then to transfer over to rival, Stanford to pursue a master’s degree in management science and engineering.
"I did the Cal-Stanford thing, it doesn't really happen like that. Cal was a great university, a great football program, after I graduated with a business degree, it was time to move on."
He adds, "education is important to me."
In fact, he was even a former Cal teammate of now current Miami assistant coach, Austin Clark. Scarlett raved about Clark's ball-hawking skills, and even referred to him as the, "Honey Badger."
The outside linebacker will provide depth for the Dolphins unit that already added beef in the middle with former teammate as a Texan, Benardrick McKinney. Scarlett continued his high-praise of another teammate in McKinney saying, "B-Mac; he loves the game of football." Scarlett adds that he and McKinney are, "two guys that love to compete and love to play football"
In spot-starting action, Scarlett has 139 total tackles with 10 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He has 12 QB hits, 5 passes defensed, and an interception thus far in his 56 career games.
Scarlett closed with his repeated excitement to be in Miami, citing again the rich tradition of the Dolphins. "The Miami Dolphins organization has a great history, a history of winning, a historic organization....one I've always respected growing up."
"I'm really excited being a part of that story."
The PhinManiacs Staff discuss the week that was for the Miami Dolphins in free agency!
By: Hussam Patel
Azeez Ojulari Georgia Bulldogs’ best defender last season. Mainly lining up as an EDGE in their base 4-3 Defense, he sometimes would be the only EDGE in a 3-4 scheme. He’s super-athletic, quick off the line and can control his body well. He’s most likely going to be an OLB for an NFL team because of his length concerns, although I wouldn't write him off at playing the EDGE position without a full NFL Offseason.
Ojulari earned recognition as a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award for his efforts, and second-team All-SEC selection at outside linebacker. He certainly has talent both in the LB corps and as a rotational EDGE. Off the line of scrimmage, he's got a great pop in his hips and violent hands. As I said, with his body control, he can bend against offensive linemen, get that first step in, and attack the Quarterback. It’s insane how effortless his production and how consistent his motor is.
Teams value players who are great at rushing the QB; I’m under the impression Ojulari could be one of the first EDGE/LB taken based on his pass rush skill alone. Sometimes he’s a bit too explosive and linemen can wash him out of the play, so the Bulldog product will need to improve against the run if he wants to start at the EDGE Position and be a second level defender at the linebacker spot.
Ojulari certainly has the IQ to defend against the run, he knows how to attack lineman and fill gaps. However, he won't be able to anchor and hold his ground for an extended period; when a running back gets to the second level, he might not be able to catch up and make the tackle, ultimately taken out of the play. He wasn’t asked to cover at Georgia, but if he does play LB, he will need to know how to cover well. He reminds me of Yannick Ngakoue.
By: Jason Sarney
Some of the new Miami Dolphin additions met with South Florida media members via a Zoom call on Thursday afternoon and it was kicked off by cornerback free agent signing, Justin Coleman.
Coleman has six NFL seasons under his belt, most recently with Detroit and started his career in New England. Coleman introduced himself with confidence in his decision in team and destination when asked why he chose Miami. Coleman said, "I like these guys, I like this organization." He adds, "and also, location! This is a great location to be at!"
When talking about Miami defensive coordinator Josh Boyer and head coach Brian Flores, his ties with them from New England played in certainly. He calls them, and their defense in Miami, “relentless” as well as “determined.”
Coleman talks about the Miami cornerbacks highly, saying, “I think it is an extremely talented group, and it's going to raise the level of competition." Coleman then said, "Those guys are definitely going to create competition," as he made it clear he is there to play where the coaches want him to play and will simply work.
Coleman is ready to put past seasons in the rear-view mirror, and only look ahead, saying. "I don’t want to talk about what happened in 2020 because I want to look forward to 2021."
Coleman has four career interceptions, scoring twice and has forced and recovered four fumbles, with a touchdown return. He has 41 passes defenses in 79 career games.
Next up for Miami was a trade acquisition Benardrick McKinney from the Texans. A former Pro-Bowler in 2018, McKinney brings in inside presence to replace the departed Kyle Van Noy and Kamu Grugier-Hill. McKinney is a big-bodied backer, at 6’4’’ 257 lbs. When he was told he was heading to Miami, McKinney told reporters, "I am happy that the Dolphins organization has given me the opportunity to be here."
When describing his style of play, McKinney details his film studying and adds, "I just love playing defense. My style of the game, everybody knows I am a big backer, I am a downhill backer; I love to play physical."
McKinney is coming off of a shoulder injury, yet seems confident he is near 100%, saying, “I did my rehab. I am feeling great now.” I am comfortable, back to my old self.”
“Ready to get back to it!"
McKinney has 11.5 career sacks, and in his healthiest stretch in Houston from 2016-2019 he played in all but two games and averaged 107 total tackles a year in those seasons. McKinney should no-doubt help the pass-rushing linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel get to the quarterback.
Miami added speed at wide receiver in former Alabama product Robert Foster. The “road-runner” has he was nicknamed in college, is a guy who can help in a few ways for Miami and that may include special teams.
When asked about his role for the Dolphins, Foster said he is, “"trying to make the best of every opportunity given and contribute the best as I can.” In a similar sentiment to Coleman, Foster concluded by saying, "Miami was willing to give me an opportunity."
"I am glad to be here and ready to contribute the best I can in all phases of the game," he added.
Foster has a gaudy 20.1 career yards per catch average on his 32 receptions. 25 of those went for first downs.
Lastly, it was asked if a potential 40-yard dash challenge is in the cards against current Mi ami Dolphins, Jakeem Grant.
Foster said with a smile, “I am very familiar with Jakeem.”
Foster was non-committal on a potential race.
By: Shawn Williams
The start of the new league year has officially arrived in the NFL. The legal tampering period has ended, and players are able to officially join their new teams. Among those players are Dolphins new additions LB Benardrick McKinney, OT Isaiah Wilson, FB/TE Cethan Carter, CB Justin Coleman, RB Malcolm Brown, DL Adam Butler, WR Robert Foster and P Michael Palardy. Miami’s recent additions will bring more depth to a budding roster, and some should make decent, if not, significant contributions (McKinney is likely to start). Unfortunately, none of these additions will help Miami on offense, Miami’s biggest area of weakness.
On top of Miami needing a starting running back and a nice new receiver or three, they now must fill a void left by C Ted Karras (signed with New England). Defensively, they must compensate for cutting LB Kyle Van Noy, and no Vince Biegel isn’t the answer (he may be part of it).
None of this should be cause for alarm. After being aggressive in free agency in years past, without much luck, and with having five picks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, some may say Miami is just playing it smart. I can get on board with that, especially with needing to sign players like Jerome Baker, and Mike Gesicki to new deals soon. However, this is a cap depressed year, and solid players are signing for less than market value, on short term contracts.
I love the idea of building this franchise smartly. “We need to build for the long-term” people are saying, and I concur, but if I recall Miami finished 10-6 on the year, with a win-and-your-in playoff scenario in front of them. You certainly don’t want to take a step back, or let the quick moving New England Patriots, or rebuilding New York Jets catch up. You have to make the smart moves to take the next step to playoff “participant” and Super Bowl contender.
Miami will hopefully find 3, 4 or 5 very nice pieces in this year’s rookie draft. Two or three may even make a real impact next season, but when good players are signing short term, undervalued contracts that can contribute to your winning team now, why isn’t Miami taking the bait, or joining the party. There is no law saying rookies need to play today despite that being exactly Miami’s philosophy under Brian Flores. Let them sit, and develop, and learn from capable NFL veterans.
It’s been reported that Miami fully expects to bring WR’s Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson, who opted out of last season, to training camp. Great, solid. One has an injury history and is kind of more of the same with what Miami already has in DeVante Parker and Preston Williams. The other has barely played in the past three seasons. I’m not a coach, just a faithful fan, but I’m not seeing how they help Miami jump from the embarrassing offense that displayed drop after drop, or lack of separation, to an elite unit that can compete with the likes of the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs.
I will say, I do trust the process, however I’m at a bit of a loss for understanding it. I honestly can’t tell if it’s hubris, or if Miami has a big plan buried deep inside Brian Flores’ puffy vest, but my faith won’t wain, and I’ll hope for the best.
By: Hussam Patel
Gone are the days of Fitzmagic in Miami. We bid you well Fitzy. The Dolphins have made a quarterback move. According to Adam Schefter the Miami Dolphins have agreed to sign Former Patriots and Colts QB Jacoby Brissett.
It was a quiet Monday for the Miami Dolphins and this is the splash signing of the day. So far so good. Brissett is a serviceable backup QB. He’s Solid. He has backed up Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Phillip Rivers. He’s been in great company and been around two Hall of Fame Quarterbacks. Brissett is a locker room guy who will gel well with his new teammates.
Brissett will be backing up Tua, mentoring Tua and giving lessons to him which Brady, Luck and Rivers passed on. This will help Tua’s development to become a star in Miami. Brissett is right at home in Miami, being a native Palm Beach resident and attending Dwyer High. The Gator and Wolfpack product did well in his first games with the patriots- generating 400 yards. He has 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his career.
By: Shawn Williams
I spent nearly the entire month of January reflecting on Miami’s season, gaining weight, and trying to erase the disappointment of Week 17. The Bills AFC Championship loss to Kansas City served as a milestone of sorts, allowing me to shift my focus to what comes next; get back to writing, and most importantly, hit the gym. For the past month and a half, I’ve been slowly formulating a hypothetical plan to take Miami to the next level. We’re now approaching the start of the new league year and free agency, and it’s time to share the plan, speculate, and ready the fingers for a whole bunch of tweeting (finger curls anyone?). Moving into year three of the rebuild, this offseason will likely define the Miami Dolphins for the next 3-5 years and beyond. Will Miami fight for a Week 17 (18 now) shot at the Wild Card, or garner consideration as a true Super Bowl contender?
Brain Flores has done a remarkable job in a short two years; each exceeding expectations. The team has built a formidable defense with one of the best secondaries in the NFL, drafted solid contributing players, scooped some nice free agents, and may have found a franchise quarterback.
General Manager Chris Grier, Coach Flores, me, you and your mother all know the Dolphins’ biggest priority over the next few months is to search all four corners of this earth (or the draft and free agency) for big-time talent on offense. The key is to not waste the resources provided, (sorry Deshaun Watson hopefuls) and to not destroy the salary cap. So with the cards dealt, how do the Dolphins find playmaking receivers and running backs, solidify the offensive line, and find the last piece or two on defense? They consult with me, GM Shawn Williams. My credentials? Dominant Madden Franchise builder, obsessive fan, and amateur Dynasty FF participant.
Provided here is the offseason I believe Miami NEEDS to have to compete with the Buffalo Jills and Patrick Mahomes’s Cheat Squad.
STEP ONE (was): The Reese’s Senior Bowl
It was a Godsend that Miami was offered the opportunity to actually coach the players in the Senior Bowl, considering they were not one of the bottom teams in the league last season. This was a huge chance to really get to know these players, build a rapport, and get a head start on 30 other teams. There were key draft prospects participating in the week-long event, including Alabama’s RB Najee Harris and Heisman winner Devonta Smith to name an obvious two. The benefit that came from this week was the potential to find a diamond in the rough, or a proverbial needle in a haystack.
STEP TWO: To Re-sign or...
Unfortunately, this year I really don’t see many guys that the Dolphins MUST bring back. To make it simple, I will break this down in tiers....
Nik Needham - blossoming slot corner and his exclusive rights tender was picked up so at least one more year for #40 in Miami.
Matt Haack - Miami has signed former Panther Michael Palardy
Elandon Roberts - despite injury, he’s a leader and solid run stopper
The Shoulds if the Money is Right:
Davon Godchaux - solid, no more, no less
Vince Biegel - showed promise before his season-ending injury
Ted Karras - see Davon Godchaux
Kamu Grugier Hill - can cover, and solid special teamer
Ryan Fitzpatrick - gotta kick the crutch, but we love and appreciate you
Matt Breida - just didn’t work out
Isaiah Ford - the maximum time of evaluation has been invested and Miami announced they will not tender him.
Any player not listed could and would likely come back on minimal contracts.
STEP THREE: Keep or Cut
Jakeem Grant - All Pro Returner, yet a lot to be desired as a receiver. Great locker room guy. KEEP
Allen Hurns - decent receiver who had minimal production prior to sitting out due to the pandemic. CUT
Albert Wilson - shifty receiver that has big-play potential, but hasn’t played a lot of football over the past three years (injury/pandemic). His contract isn’t overly impactful. KEEP FOR CAMP
Other players have been speculated as keep/cut. I don’t think they should be under that consideration, so assume they’re staying.
Edit: Miami has released LB Kyle Van Noy
STEP THREE: Free Agency
Miami did well here last year. Let’s try to run it back with money in mind. Chris Grier is a believer in filling as many of the “needs” as possible before the draft; GM Shawn agrees. That being said, we should address priority one and go down the list.
Priority 1: Wide Receiver
Everyone is aware of the big money possibilities here (Juju Smith-Schuster, Kenny Golladay). While any of those names are welcome to sign on in South Beach, I prefer to get two less costly WR’s than one big name. My guys are...drumroll please... Marvin Jones Jr. and Curtis Samuel. Jones Jr. isn’t young anymore, but he’s still productive (78 receptions, 978 yards, 9 TD). He can spread the field and is a reliable pass catcher. Grab him on a two-year deal.
Curtis Samuel has, by some, been labeled a gadget player. I think that’s unfair. I believe Samuel can be a dangerous slot option (77 rec, 851 yds, 3 TD) and a threat to take a handoff for a big gain (41 carries for 200 yards and 2 TD). Samuel is only 24 and can continue to grow with Tua and the offense.
Keeping Track: DeVante Parker, Marvin Jones Jr., Curtis Samuel, Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Lynn Bowden
Priority 2: Offensive Line
This can be costly. I’m going to pass until the draft unless someone comes cheap.
Keeping Track: Austin Jackson, Ereck Flowers, Solomon Kindley, Robert Hunt, Jessie Davis, Michael Dieter, (Ted Karras*)
Edit: Miami has traded for 2020 1st Rd. Pick OT Isaiah Wilson
Priority 3: Running Back
I’m a big fan of the job Myles Gaskin did. His surprising emergence was a training camp delight. Ditto for Salvon Ahmed. I expect Miami to keep them, and maybe Patrick Laird, but you usually need about five running backs to make it through the season. Let’s pick one up now and take the pressure of the draft (remember Miami scrambling and trading for Matt Breida after watching the RBs fly off the board last year). My recommendation is Jamaal Williams.
Williams plays his role in a RBBC (running back by committee) with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Jones and Williams are both free agents (Williams being far less costly) barring re-signing in Green Bay. I love the way Williams plays with high energy; he runs with purpose, has a nice blend of power and speed, and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Williams may not be an RB1, but Miami seems content with a “by committee” approach.
KEEPING TRACK: Jamaal Williams, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird
Priority 4: Stopping the Run/Rushing the Passer
I’m banking on Raekwon Davis to take a big jump in 2021 in the middle of the defensive line. Ogbah, Wilkins, Sieler and Strowbridge remain as well, with Godchaux possibly returning. My opinion is to maybe go get a guy in the draft, and sign someone established. Free Agency will boast Bud Dupree, Yannick Ngakoue, Matt Judon and Shaq Barrett. It’s hard to trust Dupree, with him coming off an ACL injury and having the benefit of playing next to TJ Watt. Ngakoue is consistent (at least 8 sacks in each of his first 5 seasons), and having a less than great season may lower his price tag. Shaq Barrett is a one-year wonder from a very good defense. I’d be very hesitant to pay his big price tag. My guy is Matt Judon. I love anyone that comes from the Ravens’ “Hit you in the Mouth” defense. With tight constraints on the salary cap for most teams, Judon should be “gettable”.
KEEPING TRACK: Matt Judon, Jerome Baker, Andrew Van Ginkel, Elandon Roberts, (Vince Beigel, Kamu Grugier-Hill*)
STEP FOUR: The 2021 NFL Draft
Obviously, free agency largely dictates the direction Miami takes in the draft, but in this scenario we’ve filled most of our pressing needs. Now we can sit back, have some fun, and go hunt for future super studs.
Miami owns the Houston Texans’ first two picks (3rd and 36th overall). I don’t like doing fake trades in mocks, so here we keep ours as-is. In real life, I would ask Chris Grier and Brian Flores to strongly consider trading back with a QB starved team. I suspect Miami would get a massive haul.
1.03 - TE/Slot Kyle Pitts
Kyle Pitts could very easily be the most talented player in the entire draft. He’s less a TE and more a weapon you can stick anywhere (like Mike Gesicki). I know some may say “well we already have Mike,” but I say “Mike’s great, let’s get another one of him.” Pitts should be a major red zone target, and a mismatch for any defense. He’s too fast for linebackers, and too big for corners and safeties. Adding Pitts could really open the offense up. Other options are OT Rashawn Slater, OT Penei Sewell, WR Ja’marr Chase, WR Devonta Smith
1.18 - RB Najee Harris
For all the people who swear by the rule of not drafting certain positions (like running back) early in the draft, or the first round, I don’t follow such rules. I am of the belief you take the elite talent before someone else does. Najee doesn’t have a ton of miles on him, and has the potential to be a top 5 running back in the NFL. Miami hasn’t had a scary running game since Jay Ajayi’s one big season. Miami runs a RPO style offense, and that’s hard to do if your opponent doesn’t fear your ground game. Pairing Najee with Gaskin, Ahmed, and in this scenario, Jamaal Williams, gives Miami one of the most versatile ground games in the NFL. Other options are OL Christian Darrisaw, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, WR Rashod Bateman, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
2.4 - S Trevon Moehrig or LB Zaven Collins
Trevon could blossom into an elite safety. Collins has reminded some of Brian Urlacher. Sold, and send it in on either. = One of the two should be there when Miami picks, but if they’re not, my other options are OG Wyatt Davis, EDGE Carlos Basham Jr, C Creed Humphrey, OG Trey Smith
2.18 - LB Dylan Moses
Moses comes from the heralded Alabama program, and he brings speed to get from one side to the other, burst, and a knack for finding the ball carrier sooner than later. Other options include S Jevon Holland, EDGE Jaelan Phillips, OT Dillon Radunz, LB Pete Werner
3.17 - IOL Quinn Meinerz
Meinerz is a developmental interior lineman with a lot of “bully” potential. Excels as a run blocker. Other options are OT Walker Little, OT Jackson Carmen, EDGE Quincy Roche, WR Tutu Atwell
4.18 - WR Jaelon Darden
Darden has sleeper written all over him. He’s fast, can get the YAC, and make defenders miss. He can even take over in the return game if Miami decides to move on from Jakeem Grant. Other options are CB Ambry Thomas, G Ben Cleveland, S Jamien Sherwood, LB Monty Rice
6.22 QB Sam Ehlinger
Tua needs a backup, and Sam Ehlinger is an intriguing prospect. Other options are OG Jack Anderson, OT Alaric Jackson, LB Erroll Thompson, WR Anthony Schwartz
STEP FIVE: Depth Chart
GM Shawn Williams 2021 Miami Dolphins loosely looks like this:
QB - Tua Tagovailoa, Sam Ehlinger, (FA)
RB - Najee Harris, Jamaal Williams, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird
WR - DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Curtis Samuel, Marvin Jones, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Lynn Bowden, Jaelon Darden
TE - Mike Gesicki, Kyle Pitts, Adam Shaheen, Durham Smythe, Chris Myarick
OL - Austin Jackson, Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras, Solomon Kindley, Robert Hunt, Jessie Davis, Isaiah Wilson, Michael Deiter, Tyler Gauthier, Quinn Meinerz
DL - Christian Wilkins, Emmanuel Ogbah, Zach Sieler, Raekwon Davis, Jason Strowbridge
LB - *Add in Benardrick McKinney following the deal with the Texans shipping out Shaq Lawson to- Jerome Baker, Matt Judon, Andrew Van Ginkel, Elandon Roberts, Dylan Moses, Vince Biegel, Sam Eguavoen, and Calvin Munson (Zaven Collins*)
CB - Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Nik Needham, Noah Igbinoghene, Jamal Perry
S - Bobby McCain, Eric Rowe, Brandon Jones, Clayton Fejedelem, (Trevon Moehrig*)
K - Jason Sanders
P - Michael Palardy
This team is playoff-bound and then some. You’re welcome.
Now where’s my million dollars?
By: Chip Turner
At about noon today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story that Houston and Miami agreed to swap Benardrick McKinney for Shaq Lawson in addition to swapping Miami’s 6th round pick for Houston’s 7th round pick in 2021.
So, what’s the deal with this deal?
First, Benardrick McKinney is a better run defender than Lawson. While Miami’s defense was among the best in the league at points allowed, their run defense was pedestrian at best. He’s about a year and a half older than Lawson, but he’s still on the right side of 30. And while he’s coming off a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his 2020 season, he missed a total of two games in the four years before that.
Second, while this trade doesn’t free up much salary cap at first glance, Benardrick McKinney is considerably more likely to restructure his contract than Lawson was. Shaq Lawson would have cost Miami more to cut than to keep, so the only way to potentially move Lawson’s $10mm contract off the books (unless he restructured) was to trade him. While we don’t know if Lawson was approached regarding a restructure, trading him only cost Miami $2.7mm in dead cap, saving them $6.8mm. And while McKinney’s contract this year costs Miami $7.9mm against the cap, he only has a $1.5mm dead cap number.
In other words, McKinney has every reason to sit down and renegotiate a contract that not only has no guaranteed money on it, but also costs his new employer almost nothing to get rid of. He and his agent are undoubtedly aware of this. Remember, football is a business first and foremost.
Finally, the Dolphins have had their eyes on McKinney for a while; there were rumors that they tried to acquire him in the Tunsil trade in 2019. So he’s clearly a player that Brian Flores has coveted as a run-stuffer.
At worst, this is a move that costs Miami very little trade capital and very little salary, while improving their run defense and creating a hole at EDGE. At best, however, this trade allows Miami to free up a considerable amount of salary cap for a move once free agency starts.
Buckle up, folks, and remember to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle. This ride isn’t over yet.
Miami cap situation following the trade as per www.spotrac.com.
By: Hussam Patel
Aaron Jones remains a Packer
If this happens the Dolphins could look to signing a veteran running back. While players like Chris Carson and James Connor are available, Miami should not pay for a running back in free agency that can’t turn this running game around. We saw it last year with Matt Breida and Jordan Howard; however, they were not the leading rushers for the Miami Dolphins.
Miami is currently connected to both Aaron Jones and Connor. When healthy, Connor is a great running back, but a fit in Miami is not ideal even if it is a $3-4 million a year deal. The Dolphins should not overpay for a free agent running back and should look to get a cheap reliable back through the NFL Draft.
Last season Myles Gaskin proved he can be a productive running back, barring injury. The Dolphins offense will be more explosive with the threat of a run game. It will help to set up the play action that defenses didn't bite on last year, and increase the usage of RPO’s- a strength of Tua’s. Aaron Jones is able to be the #1 running back with a combination of Myles Gaskin catching out of the backfield and using a committee that can be productive.
Signing Haason Reddick to replace Kyle Van Noy
Now for most fans, the release of Kyle Van Noy was a surprise and leaves a hole at the LB spot. Kyle Van Noy was a good player for Miami but not at the right price, and the emergence of Andrew Van Ginkel led to Van Noy’s release after a failed trade attempt. Miami needs a true "Mike" at the Linebacker spot if they look to become a consistent elite defense. Lavonte David would have been a perfect fit but was retained in Tampa last week.
A signing of Reddick or Dupree can be troublesome. First off both are pass rush specialists and cannot cover tight end’s or running backs and essentially could be the same price as Kyle Van Noy. Miami already has several linebackers that can rush the passer and do not need to pay for sacks, they need a guy who can cover the field and be a run-stuffer. Elandon Roberts is no lock to come back and he’s coming off an injury. Kamu Grugier-Hill may leave and leave a hole in the special teams unit.
A cheaper signing of Anthony Walker Jr. is a viable replacement on special teams and quite possibly Raekwon McMillan could come back to Miami on a cheaper deal to be the run-stuffer. This leaves a spot to draft a linebacker like Zaven Collins at pick #18 or Baron Browning at #36; both young, cheap prospects that can man the middle and do it all.
Not Restructuring Top Contracts
Per my colleague Jason Sarney five players taking up the most salary cap space include: Byron Jones, Xavien Howard, DeVante Parker, Ereck Flowers, and Shaq Lawson.
Now there are several ways to free up Cap space. Check out Jason’s Article here and here
With these proposed moves, Miami stands to gain a copious amount of money to go all in for Aaron Jones and another offensive lineman to amplify the run game and protect Tua Tagovailoa, and a possible play-making wide receiver. While Miami may not look to make a "splash," eschewed by Brian Flores in his press conference earlier this week, this extra money can be used to extend current Dolphins like Mike Gesicki and Jerome Baker who would be Free Agents in 2022. This money would also roll over to 2022 and the cap amount be greater than this year due to Covid-19.
Overpaying for a FA WR
The Dolphins wide receiver group needs an overhaul, not a clean sweep, but some systemic changes based on an offensive scheme. A scheme tailor made to get it’s personnel to be on one-on-one match-ups, separating from defenders and gaining Yards After the Catch. Some names linked to the Miami Dolphins include Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Curtis Samuel. These three wide receivers will command money as they are the Top WR’s on the market, along with Will Fuller V and Marvin Jones, Jr. moving down the list.
Top WR’s will command top money. While I do not expect a bidding war in these times, you could speculate for the future if the NFL cap situation does not get better next year the Dolphins should not take these risks in paying a wide-out upwards of 15-20 million a year. Smith-Schuster is a great fit for the Dolphins and would be WR2 in this offense and does a lot of the dirty work and gets touchdowns in the red zone, but how much will he cost?
Now if the Dolphins want a veteran presence in the locker room and experience on the field, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders and T.Y. Hilton can mentor this group. However, the Dolphins need a WR that can help Tua and have game changing plays- missing from the offense last year. While JuJu and Curtis Samuel are proven play-makers, they will command money.
Kendrick Bourne can be that guy, he might be 26 and underused with the 49ers, he does almost the same things JuJu and Samuel do. He’s physical at the catch point, a polished route runner and gets touchdowns. He won’t command $10+ million a year and can be signed on a short term team friendly deal around $6-8 million a year.
Signing a New England DT
Per Barry Jackson’s article the Dolphins are interested in bringing in former Patriots Adam Butler and Lawrence Guy at defensive tackle.
Both Butler and Guy are scheme fits in Miami's defense and have had decent production. Butler is versatile and has produced with injury concerns. Guy had a standalone season with Flores three years ago, and was crucial in the Super Bowl victory against the LA Rams. The issue is not the fit, it is about the cap money and salary. Guy is old and the Dolphins defense does not have a player over 30. Pro Football Focus itself has said that Guy could command around $7 million per year. Defensive tackle is not a need right now.
Malcolm Brown has been a name that is being buzzed around the Dolphins, I agree he’s a great run-stuffer and a scheme fit for this Defense; he constantly eats up blocks a lot, and would not break the bank. I like Malcolm Brown as a player, he’s young and productive and would not be a $6-7 million a year signing.
Davon Godchaux is a free agent, and not expected to sign back. I would like to have Godchaux back. He understands the Dolphins defense already with a heartbreaking injury. It led the way for a rotation of Wilkins, Sieler, Benito Jones and the emergence of Raekwon Davis. Godchaux will bring great depth in the DT room, great play-making too. Offering him a team friendly deal-around $3 million a year- would bolster this defense and continue their dominance.
By: Jason Sarney
On this weekend leading into the free agency signing period, NFL teams are taking the necessary steps to trim their salary cap in preparation for the acquisition and drafting of a new crop of players. As seen in Miami last week, young players performing above their pay grade like linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was likely a precursor to the decision to attempt to trade veteran Kyle Van Noy. A move didn’t materialize, leading to Van Noy’s release and Van Ginkel’s obvious snap count increase headed into 2021. This should lead to an extension in the future for the high-motor, versatile fan favorite.
Van Ginkel made a quantum leap in his limited time as a rookie; his season was abbreviated by a foot injury in the beginning of 2019, but he showed late-season sparks of progress. Last season, Van Ginkel exploded onto the scene, and even became a national media darling with a huge fan-base on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
The 2020 stat-line for the linebacker was impressive in his limited snaps. Playing both defense and special teams, his defensive snap count on the season was 46%.
In less than half the team’s overall snaps on defense, AVG recorded 48 tackles, 7 of them for loss, forced 3 fumbles, took a recovery to the house for a 78-yard touchdown, and sacked the quarterback 5.5 times. Throw in four passes defended and 10 QB hits, and you have a third-year player ready to step into a larger role, currently on tap for a 2021 salary of just $850,000.
It is with this mindset that one should look around the Miami roster, and see what second-year player potentially is similar to AVG. Is there another player ready to surprise pundits and Miami’s coaching staff pleasantly enough to create options on the overall roster with their ascension up the depth chart?
Miami had a loaded draft class in 2020, and there is a defensive back drafted that I expect a major leap from in 2021. And no, it was not the first-rounder.
I’m looking at Brandon Jones, the safety out of Texas whom Miami made their third round, 70th overall pick in last April’s draft. Jones played sparingly in 2020, due to veterans Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe in the safety slots.
Jones appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, starting four of them. Studying him on film is a joy, and reveals a simple fact; he’s lightning quick on the field.
His stats in 37% of the defensive snaps were pedestrian at first glance, with 62 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 PD, 1 FF, and 1 sack. Throw in work on special teams, as Jones accounted for just over 50% of that unit’s work on year.
For me, the play that showed me a ton from Jones was something unregistered in a box score. In Week 9, when Miami beat Arizona, a key play was Shaq Lawson’s 36-yard fumble return in the first quarter to open the scoring and set the tone.
Lawson was heading to the endzone in what was relatively smooth sailing for the defensive lineman, but towards the last several yards, there was a slight chance a Cardinal could have caught him.
Out of nowhere, Brandon Jones appeared as a last-second, emergency blocker-if-needed. A free safety, sprinting down the field and clocking what easily could have been a 4.3 40-yard dash IN-GAME, with pads. This was a play that showed me tremendous heart, effort, and football IQ. Miami increased Jones’s usage throughout his debut season, clearly due to his effort such as in that Cardinals game, a 34-31 Miami victory.
This analysis of Jones isn’t necessarily saying he could take the spot of a Rowe or McCain, or even prevent Miami from bringing in more safety talent one way or the other. This is simply a call to action to keep an eye on Jones in 2021.
Prior to doing that, keep an eye on movement in the safety market in free agency for Miami. With the heavy contract of McCain being a potential cap-cut, Miami may or may not address the position in Free Agency. If they don’t, it could be a sign they like what they see in Jones, and could give him an opportunity to secure a starting job while potentially filling in depth and competition via the NFL Draft.
Jones is one of those players for Miami who is young and cheap; his salary for 2021 with his $831,504. This allows the Dolphins to grow in other areas of the field if Jones can do his job ahead of schedule. This is a theme that has become popular when talking about Miami’s rebuild, and the progress and development of their assets. Brandon Jones is clearly a major part of those assets.
By: Jason Sarney
During a week in the NFL that could be dubbed “cut week,” prior to next week’s free agent signing period, the Miami Dolphins have several candidates whose contracts are prime candidates for either restructuring, releasing or trading.
When looking at the top five salaried players for the Dolphins, the top two are Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, who account for a bit over 15% of the team’s cap. After the cornerbacks, DeVante Parker is scheduled to make $11.9 million in 2021. He’s heading into his seventh year and has only played a full 16-game season once in his career, in 2019.
After a stellar 2019 season for Miami, Parker cooled off a bit in 2020; his production was essentially halved, and he isn’t necessarily a true #1 receiver for an NFL team.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Dolphins move away from Parker. Even though there would be a relative dead cap hit of $8 million, there would still be a 2021 salary cap savings of just under $4 million.
Parker may not hold heavy trade value, and he of course could be a candidate to restructure, but if the Dolphins are looking to sign a top-end wide receiver in free agency as well as draft one in the top 50 in April, the current Dolphins wide receiver room is in for a potential shakeup.
Moving to the other side of the ball, Shaq Lawson has a contract that should be on the table for a restructure opportunity. He doesn’t have a contract that you can cut, as there would over $10.6mm dead cap money, damaging the Dolphins’ 2021 cap number.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is a contract that the Dolphins could trim and create some room, as the team still needs pass rushing, so Lawson is a prime candidate for a restructured deal.
Shifting back to offense, but in the non-playmaker area, guard Ereck Flowers played fantastic in spurts for the Dolphins in his first year with the team. However, the offensive line room is becoming increasingly crowded with the addition of Isaiah Wilson at tackle, prime guards available in free agency and in the upcoming draft. This leaves Miami with a conundrum of a contract with Ereck Flowers.
Having six years under his belt in the NFL and a base salary of just under $9 million in 2021, cutting Flowers would result in a huge dead cap number and leave the Dolphins in the red in this particular transaction. A cut would cost the Dolphins around $1,000,000 in 2021 cap space.
The move, in my opinion, is to try and package Flowers in another deal or as a stand-alone trade. Miami would send him as the lone player to a team with more money to burn, but also attach a late 2021 or 2022 draft pick and ask for a sixth or a seventh back simply to lose this contract.
As mentioned before, there is a reason the Dolphins were so successful in the secondary and as a defensive unit overall last year. It was because of their two top paid players in Jones and Howard.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see one or both of those contracts restructured in some way, and in all honesty, it wouldn’t shock me in the least if one of those players was traded to trim the salary cap and obtain valuable draft capital. Jones and Howard will combine to make a little over $26 million in 2021.
There were other players referenced earlier in this week with contracts potentially on the cutting block, such as Bobby McCain and Jakeem Grant, yet there are other candidates for restructuring. Eric Rowe, Albert Wilson (who is expendable in my opinion), and simply due to his versatility and leadership, Jesse Davis should be a consideration for restructuring. At the same time, these players are not 100% guaranteed to Miami Gardens.
With mere days of speculation left before the March 17th free agency kickoff, all we can all do is have fun with our individual scenarios. Thanks to sites like spotrac.com and overthecap.com, we all can put our fantasy general manager hats on, sit back, and watch as NFL teams do it for real.
By: Hussam Patel
Amari Rodgers was the main guy last season for Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers. He is built like a pinball; a slot receiver who has the body of a running back, along with excellent balance and great strength that makes him a YAC monster. He used these traits to average 4-5 touches per game in 2020, and utilized his body control, vision and speed to maximize yards after the catch.
Rodgers was able to work in every area of the field last season, something he couldn't do in 2018 and 2019. As such, he solidified himself as an intermediate weapon and made spectacular plays down the field. His growth included mastery of the route tree in the slot area, and he’s a bit more consistent catching the ball, except when challenged at the jump point and extended catch radius, where his 5'9 frame becomes evident.
His low center of gravity and excellent balance make him tough to tackle. With his improvement in 2020, his route running is so much better. He's taken control of his speed and takes angles where the defender has to adjust their body to catch up with him, especially on slant and out routes. Most of the receivers in this draft class have the quick burst to create initial separation; Rodgers does too, but he doesn’t have the quick burst to create even more separation after his initial cuts.
He relies on his quarterback to throw the ball in time. He will need to clean up his mental drops and work more on the JUGS machine; he has routinely dropped balls that are easily catch-able. At times he makes spectacular catches, and other times the drops are head-scratchers. He will need to be more consistent as a pass catcher to become a massive threat in the slot.
At his pro day he ran a 4.45 timed 40-yard dash, and even took some snaps at running back. He can be a slot receiver and also work out of the backfield on some special packages, provided his offensive coordinator gets creative with him.
By: Jason Sarney
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores took time to meet with the South Florida media on Thursday morning. Showing a terrific and unexpected glimpse into his personality, coach Flores sat with his usual stoic face and then shifted to a smile.
He then started to welcome numerous Miami beat writers by name, including a congratulations on the recent birth of a certain writer’s newborn daughter. This was a great touch of class and personality by coach Flores. He even knew the child’s name.
He then got down to business; Flores discussed the last few weeks of the Miami Dolphins’ evaluation process of 2020. "We did a deep dive across the board. Offense, defense, special teams. Operations. Scouting. Any and everything," Flores said. He added, "Chris Grier and his staff.... [the job they do] phenomenal."
Flores went on to discuss the recent meetings in planning for 2021, saying, “we had some really good dialogue and a lot of great meetings over the last couple of weeks. That is not specific to the draft, but also free agency.” He added, “It's been, a, busy time I would say,"
Flores also went on to name some coaching promotions, including the elevation of Danny Crossman to Assistant Head Coach, along with other new coordinators taking new roles. He officially named George Godsey and Eric Studesville co-offensive coordinators and praised their work.
"George has called plays in the past, and Eric, with Covid, we had to have a backup at every position, so Eric was prepared to call a game if something happened to Chan all year,” Flores detailed. In a sentence, when asked about the structure of their co-coordinator-ship Flores said, “definitely co-collaborative.”
The conversation shifted to Tua Tagovailoa, as Flores praised his second-year quarterback following his successful rookie year. In terms of Tua & being his guy, Flores said, “I am excited about Tua & this upcoming season. Coming off the hip, we threw him in the fire; he started 9 games & I thought he made a lot of improvement through the course of the season.”
He added he is excited for his year two jump, and referenced their lunch together Wednesday of this week, where they discussed football and family.
In a quick series of tidbits about the lunch, Flores said things like:
- "Development is about building relationships."
- "He's confident, I'm confident in him."
- "I'm looking forward to this offseason."
When pivoting back to free agency, draft talk and team building amidst an odd financial year with the 2021 $182.5 salary cap, Flores was pretty transparent about it.
"This is a very unique year.,” he said. “Very unique year, yea we do have some money from a cap standpoint that we can spend, but again, I mean, its, it's an interesting year." He then added a reference to a Rolling Stones song, " You Can't Always Get What You Want.” stating this multiple times with a near-smirk.
Although he did say, "You don't need 11 stars. You need 11 guys who will work together with one goal in mind."
He also alluded to the upcoming free agent market and the draft, stating, "We've scoured free agency, the draft...I think we have a pretty good feel of guys we are looking for." When specifically talking about the NFL Draft, there was a portion of an answer that resonated with me. Flores spoke about their current 3rd overall pick, and stated, "Any time you pick 3rd overall, there's a number of players, number of ways we can go. I think, our scouting staff, as I said earlier, has done a great job narrowing down who the top players are in this draft...we'll have the opportunity to grab one of them, say top 10."
Perhaps his context was in the confidence they will select a player who is a Top-10 player, possibly at #3, but this sounded like there is no marriage to the draft position at #3.
In finishing up a very upbeat and laid-back (compared to his demeanor in-season) conference, Flores showed a ton of personality, confidence and belief in this Miami Dolphins organization. He closed as a fun, yet more “on-brand” Coach Flo…
"It's great to see everyone. See you at training camp."
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