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Retain, Tag, or Walk? - Travis Swanson

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A look at Miami Dolphins center Travis Swanson ahead of free agency.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The NFL regular season is behind us, and, while four teams are still fighting to become Super Bowl champions, the majority of the league is preparing for the 2019 league year. While the league year, and thus free agency, does not begin until March 13, teams are working their way through their own rosters right now, trying to make tough decisions. Do they cut a player for salary cap reasons? Do they restructure a contract to lower a 2019 cap number, while potentially increasing the salary cap hit in the future?

And what should they do about soon-to-be free agents? Is the player worth re-signing? Should they use the franchise tag? Or, should the player be allowed to leave in free agency?

Last week, Justin Hier started our annual series of “Retain, Tag, or Walk” articles here on The Phinsider where we take a closer look at players with expiring contracts for the Miami Dolphins and try to determine what the team should do. After he covered running back Frank Gore, today I take a look at center Travis Swanson.

Fact Check

Position: C
Age: 27 (turns 28 on January 30)
Experience: Entering 6th season
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 304 lbs
College: Arkansas
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $1.55M ($800K cap number)

2018 Review

Swanson’s 2018 began with a training camp stint as a member of the New York Jets. He then signed with the Dolphins after the final round of roster cuts, but was released the next day when Miami claimed running back Brandon Bolden off waivers. The Dolphins re-signed Swanson a week later giving them some depth along the offensive line, then needing him to move into the starting lineup as the top center on the depth chart. He played in 12 games for Miami, starting 11 of those. He was graded as the 19th player at his position in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, which was six spots ahead of the player he effectively replaced, Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey.

2019 Outlook

Swanson is still a young center who is developing and provides, at worst, an average NFL lineman who can provide depth.

Verdict

The Dolphins have to rebuild their offensive line this offseason, a story line that seems to come up every offseason. Swanson was not perfect in the middle of the line, but he was solid enough to be considered as a depth option. Given his contract for 2018 was not huge and that he was available as a free agent twice during the season, the Dolphins should be able to bring him back on a relatively cheap, short-term deal that would likely make the most sense. No reason to create another hole when there is a quality depth option available.

I will not include the tag option for Swanson, because there is no realistic reason to use a franchise tag on him.

My vote: Retain

Poll

Should the Dolphins retain or allow Travis Swanson to walk?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Retain
    (1043 votes)
  • 12%
    Let walk
    (148 votes)
1191 votes total Vote Now