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Retain, Tag, or Let Walk? - Clive Walford

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It’s free agency season! Who stays and who goes?

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

It’s time for episode three of everyone’s favorite annual offseason series here at The Phinsider!

Until NFL free agency opens on March 18th, myself and the esteemed Phinsider staff will be reviewing impending free agents on the Miami Dolphins roster and will evaluate whether or not the team should retain them, tag them, or let them walk. When front offices decide how to handle their list of free agents, they take a variety of factors into account, including age, production, and value, so we will be doing the same. Today, we continue with journeyman tight end Clive Walford.

Do you have a suggestion for our next “Retain, Tag, or Let Walk?” Let me know on Twitter @HierJustin!

Fact Check

Position: TE

Age: 28

Experience: 4th season

Height/Weight: 6’4”, 252 lbs

College: Miami (Fla.)

Expiring Contract: One-year, $720,000 (per Spotrac.com)

2019 Review

Walford was listed as the third tight end on Miami’s depth chart by the end of the 2019 season behind both Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. Walford was initially released going into the regular season, but was later re-signed following the jettisoning of Nick O’Leary in late October. On the season, Walford appeared in seven games, starting three, and compiled just four receptions for a total of 57 yards. He totaled 114 snaps by the end of December.

Walford has been a rotational tight end for most of his career, and while his size allows him to be a mismatch against most defensive backs, he was used primarily as a blocker when on the field for the Dolphins last year. With Gesicki’s emergence in the team’s aerial attack and Smythe’s reliability in the blocking game, Walford’s experience was rarely needed on the field.

2020 Outlook

At 28-years old, Walford is still young and athletic enough to beat linebackers with speed and defensive backs with his size, but he’s also old enough to have shown teams his approximate ceiling. It’d be surprising if he didn’t get a shot with an organization for a cheap contract next season, but there’s no telling where that might be. Walford’s ability to help an offensive in multiple facets makes him a solid depth option at the position, but don’t count on him to anchor a passing game any time soon.

Contract Considerations

Walford has never commanded a salary more than that of his entry-level deal as a third-round draft pick back in 2015. That shouldn’t change after what he showed with the Dolphins last year. Expect him to command fewer than $2 million per year on any contract he signs this offseason.

Verdict

After three years with the Oakland Raiders, Walford’s 2019 campaign with the Dolphins was his fourth consecutive year playing for a new team. His experience in the league makes it likely he’ll find his way onto a preseason roster, but unless he mightily impressed Brian Flores in the film room or locker room, there seems to be little reason for the Dolphins to keep him around. With a new offensive coordinator in town, even Walford’s familiarity with the offense is moot.

After seeing Gesicki turn into the weapon Dolphins fans and coaches have been waiting for, and with Smythe a steady contributor as a blocker, general manager Chris Grier should look for new blood to test at the tight end position. At this point, Walford’s low cost is his most attractive attribute.

My vote: Let walk

Note: The “Tag” option is not included for Walford because he will not be in consideration for the franchise tag.

Poll

Should the Dolphins retain Clive Walford or let him walk?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Retain
    (84 votes)
  • 84%
    Let walk
    (472 votes)
556 votes total Vote Now