In just about a month, NFL fans will be tuning in to one of the most exciting periods of the NFL offseason: the start of free agency. With plenty quality players soon to be changing teams and fan bases gearing up for their team to add new talent to the roster, the Miami Dolphins look to be heading for one of the quieter South Florida offseasons in recent memory.
The first step in the free agency process is evaluating who will stay and who will go on one’s own team. Who will be re-signed, franchise tagged, or allowed to leave over the course of the offseason? Over the past few weeks, our Managing Editor, Kevin Nogle, and I have been working our way through Miami Dolphins players with expiring contracts and have given you a chance to vote on whether the Dolphins should re-sign, tag, or allow the player to leave for a new team.
Today, we will turn to the defense and take a look at linebacker Stephone Anthony.
Experience: Entering 5th season
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 245 lbs
Expiring Contract: 4-year, $7,731,716
In September of 2017, the Dolphins traded a 2018 fifth-round draft pick for Anthony, a 2015 first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. Anthony appeared sparingly for Miami that year before embarking on his first full offseason with the Dolphins. A few months into the 2018 offseason, the Dolphins declined Anthony’s fifth-year team option.
Going into this past preseason, the former Clemson Tiger was vying for a spot in the starting lineup, but ended up being pushed out by rookie Jerome Baker. Stuck as a rotational player, Anthony was relegated to primarily contributing on special teams. Through the entirety of the 2018 season, he accumulated just seven total tackles.
Anthony is now four years removed from his breakout rookie season in New Orleans, That year, the 31st overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft racked up 112 total tackles, five passes defended, two forced fumbles, an interception, and a sack, and was widely expected to be a mainstay in the Saints defense for years to come. Unfortunately, the coaching staff’s decision to move Anthony from inside linebacker to strongside linebacker (a position he had yet to play in the NFL) combined with a series of injuries derailed his progression into the star defender many thought he could become in New Orleans.
Given his production back in 2015, it’s clear that Anthony is best suited to be an inside linebacker moving forward. He’s instinctive, athletic, and has the track record to prove he could be a valuable contributor. However, that same track record also portrays a player who has suffered numerous injuries and has failed to adapt to the needs of his defense. I don’t see Anthony receiving anything more than a short term prove-it contract from any NFL team.
When all factors are considered, I don’t see any harm in the Dolphins betting on Anthony’s potential as long as the team refrains from investing anything more than short term contract free of any significant guaranteed money. Anthony is just 26-years old and has shown he can be a solid player on both defense and special teams. Assuming no team runs up his cost, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miami re-sign Anthony this offseason, though that by no means would ensure he’ll be on the 53-man roster come September.
Should the Dolphins retain Stephone Anthony or let him walk in free agency?
This poll is closed
I did not include the “tag” option for Anthony because there is no realistic reason for the Dolphins to tag him.