By: Tanner Elliott
The Miami Dolphins were on the verge of the playoffs last season and look to make the final push in 2021. With tons of draft capital and some cap space, the Dolphins will look to improve their up-and-coming roster this offseason. Here are three free agent sleeper players the Dolphins should consider as low risk and high reward.
Keanu Neal, Safety
One of the biggest play-makers on the Atlanta Falcons roster during their 2016-2017 Super Bowl season, Neal has dealt with injuries since then. Since 2018, he’s only played in 19 games, 15 of which came last year. During his first two seasons in the league, he was seen as one of the best young safeties in the league. Neal would fit perfectly in Miami, as he had good coverage skills as well as the ability to come up and stop the run. In the three seasons Neal has played at least 14 games in, he has a combined 338 tackles, two interceptions, 16 pass deflections, eight forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. This type of production is outstanding, and would immediately boost Miami’s already scary secondary.
Solomon Thomas, Defensive Tackle
Thomas is a defensive lineman drafted recently by the San Francisco 49ers; he was actually the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The 49ers defensive line is absolutely stacked with talent, and Thomas has fallen out of the rotation. Even though he only played in two games last year, he played in all 16 games the previous three seasons, even though he only started 28 of them. His stats aren’t mind-blowing, but they are suitable for a quality rotational player, which Miami could use at the defensive tackle position. As Miami fans know, if anyone is able to get the most out of Thomas, it would be head coach Brian Flores. If Flores can get third overall pick talent out of Thomas, the Dolphins could get one of the biggest steals in free agency.
Isaiah McKenzie, Wide Receiver
Miami fans they may remember McKenzie as the receiver who torched them in Week 17 of last season. During that game, McKenzie displayed the abilities the Dolphins are missing in their receiver room. He showed that he can be a reliable punt returner, as well as a player a quarterback can depend on to create separation. McKenzie also has the speed to take a short slant route to the house. This would also make some players (such as Jakeem Grant) expendable, as McKenzie can not only take over Grant’s special teams role, but also be an instant upgrade at receiver. McKenzie would also be a great mentor for some of the younger guys like Lynn Bowden and Malcolm Perry.
Forrest Lamp, Guard
Forrest Lamp is a player who was highly touted coming out of college, but injuries have hindered his NFL success. Lamp was a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and just played his first complete season in 2020. Before that, Lamp only played in nine games, and starting two. Lamp is the most interesting player on this list since, as he hasn’t shown much of what he can do in the NFL. If Miami does choose to sign him, he has the ability to become a starter or give Miami much needed depth at the interior offensive line position. As Lamp is also coming off of his first full year, his confidence should be rising, and some have talked about his ability to play tackle if needed.