When the Dolphins said they were rebuilding a year ago many said they were tanking. The fact of the matter is that rebuilding isn’t synonymous with tanking. The team was just in an ‘addition by subtraction’ phase of the rebuild.
In 2020, the Dolphins are still rebuilding. For some people, all they hear is the Dolphins aren’t trying to win as many games as possible right now. Anyone who thinks that the Dolphins are not trying to build a team that can compete against any team in 2020 is mistaken.
While Miami is trying to construct the best team possible, they are also doing it wisely. The team is not making decisions that might lead to immediate benefits at the expense of sacrificing longterm success.
The Dolphins will still have cap room after they finalize their rookie contracts. With that said, there are still some really good players available in free agency.
Let’s take a look at the top five available players.
#5. Jason Peters, Offensive Tackle
The Miami Dolphins have signed over 20 new players so far this offseason. All of them have one thing in common. None of the new additions to the Dolphins roster are over 30 years old. In fact the Miami Dolphins only have one player currently over 30 and that is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If things go as planned, Fitzpatrick’s role on the field will be decreased at some point in the near future.
Miami has been focused on improving every unit. The offensive line was an area of emphasis. Jason Peters has been selected to the Pro Bowl nine times in his career. He’s also proven his ability to still give a team quality production, as he’s played in over 900 snaps in each of the past two seasons.
The likelihood of Miami signing him is little to none though. This is because the Dolphins used a few high draft picks on offensive lineman. Peters being north of 30 years old pretty much disqualifies him for the formula that Miami is using to build this team.
#4. Logan Ryan, Cornerback
Brian Flores believes that in this era of the NFL, you can never have too many good defensive backs. The Miami Dolphins currently have $63.3M of their salary cap dedicated to the secondary. According to spotrac.com, that ranks them first in the NFL in spending for that positional group. If you wanted evidence that the Dolphins are committed to building the best team possible, there were reports that Miami inquired about Logan Ryan, and this was after all of the recent investments to the defensive backfield.
Ryan seems to be the perfect fit. He has a history with coach Flores when they were both in New England together. Ryan is also 29 years old so he meets the age criteria. From a production standpoint, he is also coming off of a good year. As a member of the Tennessee Titans, Ryan recorded a career-high 113 tackles with 18 passes defended and four interceptions.
Ryan is more than likely not going to sign with Miami because his asking price is over $10M annually. The Dolphins were aggressive in signing their key targets in free agency. If Miami was going to pay this price tag, it would have been done in the first wave of signings. There is a remote possibility that Ryan still reunites with Flores. The first scenario is that Ryan lowers his price. The second scenario would be if the Dolphins suffer a major injury to a key player in that secondary, assuming he is still unsigned when that occurs.
#3. Everson Griffen, Defensive End
The Dolphins were one of the worst in the league in 2019 at getting pressure on the quarterback. They definitely could have used Everson Griffen’s 8 sacks which would have led all Miami Dolphins players in 2019. Griffen had a good season with the Minnesota Vikings and choose to bet on himself. He declined a third-year option that would have paid him over $10M.
That last fact makes it extremely unlikely that he is an option for the Dolphins. Miami will not be paying over $10M to Griffen for all the same points made previously about Logan Ryan. Furthermore, he does not have the familiarity with the coaching staff and is over the 30 year threshold at 32 years old.
#2. Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End
There was another trend in Miami’s offseason additions. Many of them were former first-round picks for other teams. Clowney was the first overall pick in 2014 so he fits that criteria. Miami expressed interest in Clowney last season when they explored a trade for him from the Houston Texans. It was reported that Clowney nixed the trade because he was disinterested in joining a rebuilding team.
The 6-foot-5, 255 pound DE also fits the age criteria at 27 years old. However, Clowney remains unsigned by anyone because there are a number of red flags. For starters, his asking price is in the neighborhood of $17M per year. He is coming off of an injury and teams have not been able to evaluate him due to the situation with the Coronavirus.
Another red flag is the fact that his stat sheet does not match his game tape. Clowney only recorded three sacks and 21 solo tackles in 2019. When you watch the game as a whole, his presence was positive and his big plays came at the right moments. He is much more impactful on the game than his stat line suggests. This does not negate the fact that many teams will cool on him when comparing production to his asking price.
It’s highly unlikely that Clowney lands with the Dolphins, but it is possible that he lands with the division rival New York Jets. This will be a situation for Dolphins fans to keep an eye on as it progresses.
#1. Cam Newton, Quarterback
Not even going to waste your time. Cam Newton to Miami has a 0% chance of happening.