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Dolphins Free Agency: Eight Targets And Where They’d Fit

Design from 305 Sports.

Most NFL franchises achieve sustained success through the draft, but free agency provides an opportunity to strengthen teams each year. This doesn’t mean always signing the biggest and most expensive names, but rather identifying players who will fit a team’s scheme, not break the bank and improve their respective position group.

It wouldn’t be realistic to advocate signing all of these players, but here are some incoming free agents that the Miami Dolphins should target.

Curtis Samuel, WR (5-11, 195 pounds), 24 years old

*2020 Season*Off SnapsTgtsRecYdsTDY/RYac/RDrop %RatPFF
DeVante Parker72610363793412.62.75.89076.4
Jakeem Grant3705436373110.44.85.677.270.9
Lynn Bowden Jr.336372821107.54066.468.8
Curtis Samuel6599777851311.14.25.2109.277

Samuel has a lot of raw athleticism and can be dangerous with the football in his hands. He primarily plays from the slot, but saw increased usage out of the backfield (200 yards and two touchdowns in 2020). If utilized in creative, Miami could bring a strong return on investment. The Dolphins could be getting Samuel, 24, at just the right time.

Contract projection: Four years, $32 million.

Will Fuller, WR (6-0, 184 pounds), 26 years old

*2020 Season*Off SnapsTgtsRecYdsTDY/RYac/RDrop %RatPFF
DeVante Parker72610363793412.62.75.89076.4
Jakeem Grant3705436373110.44.85.677.270.9
Lynn Bowden Jr.336372821107.54066.468.8
Will Fuller5777553879816.65.54134.286.2

I know, I know. When was the last time Fuller actually played a full season? The reality is he never has, but that’s ok.

Just 12 or 13 games of his level of play would make any signing worth it. Fuller is one of the top deep threats in the NFL and is coming off one of his best seasons. He’s also coming off of a PED suspension that could depress his value. That calls for a low-risk, high-reward signing.

Contract projection: one year, $12 million.

Corey Linsley, C (6-3, 301 pounds), 29 years old

With Ted Karras testing the free agent market, there’s an opening at center for the Dolphins. I wouldn’t have a problem with Miami bringing Karras back, but Linsley would be a serious upgrade at the position.

Linsley has shown the ability to run block at a high level in any scheme (power, zone, man), and is rarely out of position or beat in pass-sets. If Miami is serious about improving their offensive line, Linsley would be a great place to start.

Contract projection: Three years, $36 million.

Joe Thuney, G (6-5, 308 pounds), 28 years old

The front office might publicly be happy with the Ereck Flowers signing, but Thuney was the real target last offseason. Luckily, it seems Miami is going to have a second crack at signing him. Thuney is an ultra-athletic guard who stands up well in pass protection and the run game.

Miami has an out in the Flowers deal next offseason and could bring in Thuney now to be their starting guard for the next few seasons.

Contract projection: Four years, $54 million.

Jadeveon Clowney, Edge (6-5, 255 pounds), 28 years old

*2020 Season*SnapsSoloAstTFLHurriesQKDSacksPDFFMtckl %PFF
Emmanuel Ogbah7922517614119538.766
Jadeveon Clowney42614545704117.474.9

Clowney isn’t the player he was billed as coming out of South Carolina. The insane measurables and pedigree never materialized into an elite edge rusher like many thought they would. There’s been enough time between his draft hype and now that the league has caught on as well, which means his cost may finally be equal to his actual level of play — especially since he’s coming off an injury.

If Miami can sign him to a modest deal, his athleticism and run defense would still be an asset to this team.

Contract projection: Two years, $25 million.

Trey Hendrickson, Edge (6-4, 270 pounds), 26 years old

*2020 Season*Def SnapsSoloAstTFLHurriesQKDSacksPDFFMtckl %PFF
Emmanuel Ogbah7922517614119538.766
Trey Hendrickson558223129913.5117.472.1

The Saints know how to draft. Hendrickson came out of the same 2017 draft as Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk and Marshon Lattimore. I purposely didn’t mention his 13.5 sacks in the cut-up just to show that he’s routinely disruptive, even when he isn’t sacking the quarterback.

Emmanuel Ogbah isn’t signed beyond the 2021 season and Hendrickson would fill a similar role, with superior pass-rush skills. If I’m GM for a day —- finally, my dream is coming true) — I’d trade Ogbah, with his value at its peak, and sign Hendrickson.

Contract projection: Four years, $52 million.

Malik Hooker, FS (6-1, 214 pounds), 24 years old

Def SnapsTgtsComp %PDIntRatSoloAst BltzSackPrssMtckl%PFF
Bobby McCain9231662.55164.3397450411.562.1
Malik Hooker (2019)788257632110.8302100013.669.5

Hooker is a really interesting player in this free agent class. He hasn’t had the chance to showcase it much in Indianapolis’s defense, but was billed as an elite single-high safety coming out of Ohio State. The 2017 first-round pick would have the opportunity to showcase those skills in Miami. Hooker is coming off an Achilles injury, but will be just 25 years old for the 2021 season and could be looking for a short prove-it deal.

Contract projection: Two years, $10 million.

James Conner, RB (6-1, 233 pounds), 26 years old

Off SnapsAttYdsYds/AttYBC/AttYAC/AttBtksRush TDRecYdsRec TDPFF
Myles Gaskin4531425844.12.126341388274.4
James Conner5611697214.32.3217635215068

Conner won’t blow anyone away with his top-end speed, but he has good burst and consistently runs through arm tackles. He would fit perfectly in a committee with Myles Gaskin and would provide some tough running that the Dolphins have been missing. Connor, 25, should have at least a few more good years left and will cost considerably less than other free agent running back options.

Contract projections: Three years, $14 million.

A life-long Dolphins fan that ended up in Texas after serving in the Air Force. I believe in using a combination of analytics, film-study, and misguided fan-instincts to develop pieces. I look forward to hearing from you, Fins Up!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tom

    March 14, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    I like Hooker reminds me allot of Ed Reed i also like Lindsey at c and tunny at og offensive line would be pretty dam good.We will have to draft Harris at rb can’t make the same mistake twice not drafting Ohio rb was biggest mistake in years.I would also sign rb/wr Samuel from Carolina

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