The Miami Dolphins signed veteran offensive tackle Jordan Mills on May 9, adding a presumed starting right tackle to the roster. The team added Mills shortly after the NFL calendar passes the window in which free agent additions can impact compensatory picks in the next Draft. It appeared the Dolphins had targeted Mills for the offensive line, but waited to make sure they would still be in the running for extra draft choices next year before they added the 2013 fifth-round pick by the Chicago Bears.
Mills, who also played for the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, spent the last three seasons at right tackle for the Buffalo Bills, so the presumption that he would come to Miami and replace Ja’Wuan James, who signed with the Denver Broncos this free-agency period, as the starting right tackle seemed a logical one. The fact that he was moving to his fifth team in his seventh NFL season was not a great sign, however.
The Bills allowed him to leave, and now, there is at least some speculation the Dolphins could do the same thing this summer. ESPN asked each of their NFL Nation reporters for a veteran who could be released by their respective team before the start of the regular season. Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe selected Mills for Miami. He explained, writing:
The Dolphins brought in Mills last month with hopes that he could start at right tackle, replacing Ja’Wuan James, who left for Denver in free agency. Mills has struggled in his first month with the Dolphins, regularly being exposed during practices and forcing guard Jesse Davis to replace him at right tackle for a couple of practices. If Mills can’t win the starting right tackle job, the Dolphins can try to save $2 million by finding another option to fill that role or turning to Davis.
The Dolphins have to solve their offensive line - a sentence that seems to be written every offseason. Mills was expected to be able to compete for the starting right tackle position and be part of the solution. This spring, he has not reached that level yet. Miami has said they want players to be versatile, and Jesse Davis is that, with experience as both a guard and a tackle, so maybe those practices where he moved to right tackle were just to keep that versatility, but it is bothersome. If Mills is unable to claim the starting spot at the position, Miami could move Davis there, look to start someone else at right guard, and release Mills.
While his contract details are not known, Wolfe saying they could save $2 million does seem to be about right for Mills. And, if he is not going to be the starter at the position, saving that money could be the right move for Miami.
The offensive line needs help, and it needs bodies who can block. ESPN already saying Mills is not cutting it is not a good sign for the veteran.