The Miami Dolphins have made several offseason moves this year, looking to bolster a team that finished 6-10 last year. While they will be getting back their starting quarterback in Ryan Tannehill this season, there are still plenty of holes this offseason needs to fill, one of which was the guard position. While it appears Jesse Davis will fill the right guard position, the left guard spot was a clear area of need for the team.
The Dolphins finally addressed the guards with the signing of free agent Josh Sitton. A 2008 fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers out of UCF, Sitton played the 2016 and 2017 seasons for the Chicago Bears. He now joins Miami and should immediately fill the left guard hole, giving th eteam a four-time Pro Bowl talent in the interior of the line.
What exactly are the Dolphins getting in Sitton? I recently spoke with Robert Zeglinski from SB Nation’s Bears team site, Windy City Gridiron, to answer that exact question:
Why was Sitton allowed to leave Chicago?
Sitton was allowed to leave because the Bears are trying to retool their offensive line. He’s still a good player but they weren’t going to pay an older guard $8 million with an opportunity to retool. He has a lot left in the tank, though.
How was he playing last year?
I actually thought Sitton took a step back last year in terms of his play, but was one of the better guards in the NFL regardless. It’s tough to maintain a 2016 Pro Bowl level and you saw Sitton begin to show some holes in the armor. Playing in a similar scheme with Dowell Loggains again should help mitigate his decline.
Can the Dolphins install Sitton as the team’s starting left guard and not have to worry about it?
I wouldn’t worry about Sitton as the starting left guard for Miami. At least in the short term. To me, he’s still a top-10 guard. I would have a replacement plan in place though, because I’m not sure how much longer he will last. For the next season or two, he is more than fine.
What are his strengths and weaknesses? How well does he move/pull?
Sitton has always been a pass block technician. From Green Bay to Chicago, he doesn’t panic when his bubble bursts against pass rushers and is always technically sound. If the ideal is to protect whoever is under center for Miami better, Sitton is a clear move in that direction.
As far as how he moves and pulls, I would be concerned. He has had back issues in the past and part of his slight decline in 2017 was related to injury. He’s only an above average run blocker and mover already. You can rely on him in space against linebackers but for how much longer is the concern.
Overall, the Dolphins are getting a quality player and leader in Sitton that sets the tone offensively. He’ll be a tremendous boost to that offensive line. The important thing to remember is to treat him as a short term fix and have a plan in place if you’re Miami. That steep decline can happen at any moment. For now, he is a borderline elite player.