With the 2019 version of the NFL’s free agency now well underway, there is excitement in some cities while in others, like Miami, there is merely lukewarm anticipation. The skyline of the AFC is considerably different today than it was at the end of last season. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are a year older, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have lost quite a bit of talent and Buffalo and the New York Jets have improved themselves substantially. Although the start of the regular season is still six months away, the Cleveland Browns are looking like an emerging powerhouse in the conference, having added Odell Beckham, Jr. via trade from the New York Giants.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross vowed at the end of last year that the team would build through the draft, and so far he’s keeping his word, with Miami having added only a few relatively low profile free agents and losing two former starters on their offensive line, in Ju’ Wuan James and Josh Sitton. All they have to do now is run starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill out of town on a rail, to ensure that they don’t win too many games this season and screw up their draft position for 2020.
Meanwhile, I don’t understand what all the fuss over signing tight end Dwayne Allen is all about. The salary cap this season is $188 million, and we’re bitching about paying Allen three and a half million? Come on, guys. All Allen does most of the time is just block, so it’s not like he’s going to be one of those dreaded ‘progress stoppers’. Tight end is a hard position to evaluate at the college level, so you have to have a few of them, in the hopes that one or two of them pan out. Of the young guys the Dolphins have on their roster right now, the guy I like the best is Durham Smythe, a fourth round pick out of Notre Dame last season. His block on New England’s Lawrence Guy, to spring Brandon Bolden on that long touchdown run against Chicago was a thing of beauty.
I’m looking forward to a good, solid draft, heavy on linemen and light on offensive skill positions next month, followed by lots and lots of losses during the season. So far, the Dolphins haven’t done anything to upset the proverbial apple cart in that regard , and that’s a good thing. Have a great week, everybody.