It feels like most of the time ESPN does anything to cover the Miami Dolphins, it comes from someone who does not know the team. It just feels like the Dolphins have not been relevant enough in recent years for ESPN - and much of the national media - to take an in-depth look at the South Florida franchise.
Bill Barnwell feels like someone who has often been someone who does not appear to closely look at the Dolphins before throwing out some opinion or need. Maybe that is just a personal perception, but usually when reading items he has written, it feels like a truth. In his “NFL offseason agendas: Barnwell’s to-do lists for all 16 AFC teams” article, however, he seems to nail two of the top agenda items on Miami’s to-do list for this summer.
Lock up Laremy Tunsil. The Dolphins have had a refreshingly logical offseason as they begin to rebuild their roster. They have one Pro Bowl-caliber young talent to build around on either side of the ball, and after re-signing cornerback Xavien Howard, they should start looking to lock up their star left tackle. Tunsil still has two years to go on his rookie deal, but the price of left tackles is only going to go up over the next two seasons. Eric Fisher and Tyron Smith both signed extensions after the third year of their rookie deals, and Tunsil could very well follow in their footsteps.
Find interior line help. The biggest reason Josh Rosen played so poorly in Arizona was his offensive line. By the time Rosen finished the season, he was lining up behind rookies, practice squad guys and veterans signed off the street and immediately inserted into the lineup.
The mere presence of Tunsil means Rosen will be behind a better line in Miami. Outside of Tunsil, though, the group could use some work. The early option at right tackle to replace Ja’Wuan James, who signed with the Broncos, is former Bills tackle Jordan Mills. Buffalo fans won’t miss him. Daniel Kilgore is penciled in at center, with Jesse Davis at right guard and rookie third-rounder Michael Deiter on the left side. At the very least, the Dolphins should look to the waiver wire to see if any more appealing options become free on the right side of their line. Taking a shot on someone like Chance Warmack to try to challenge Deiter and Davis would make sense for a team that should
Locking up Tunsil seems like the most obvious re-signing the team needs to do. There really is not a rush to get it done, because Miami does control Tunsil’s contract through 2020, but it still seems like a move the Dolphins need to make. As Barnwell points out, the left tackle market will continue to go up over time, so signing Tunsil to a contract now - even one that pays him among the elite tackles - will save the Dolphins money in the long-run, while also getting Tunsil money upfront and providing long-term security.
And, interior offensive line help is absolutely a need. Maybe some of the players on the roster can step up and fill those roles, but Miami spending time looking at the waiver wire or checking in on some of the available free agents is not a bad move.
Barnwell only listed two on the to-do list, but there is probably a third need. The Dolphins coaches have said they are comfortable with the pass rush on the roster, and maybe that is true once we all see the defensive system they plan on using to attack opposing passers, but for now, it feels like Miami needs to find someway to get after the quarterback. Adding defensive ends or rush linebackers seems like another move the Dolphins could consider especially through the waiver wire.