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Retain, Tag, or Let Walk? - John Jenkins

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

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

It’s time for the next chapter 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 defensive lineman John Jenkins.

Fact Check

Position: DL

Age: 30

Experience: 8th season

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 327 lbs

College: Georgia

Expiring Contract: One-year, $805,000 (per

2019 Review

After spending four years with the New Orleans Saints to start his career, 2019 was Jenkins’ fourth consecutive season with a new team. He played in all sixteen games for the Dolphins, starting five. Over the course of the year, he accumulated 35 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, and one pass defense.

Jenkins has historically played multiple positions on the defensive line over the course of his career, and in head coach Brian Flores’ multi-faceted defense, he lined up as a 3-4 defensive end quite often. Jenkins played the third-most snaps of all Miami Dolphins defensive linemen last season. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 70.8 for the year, which equates to an above average player at the position (if you’re so inclined to believe in the site’s grading scale).

2020 Outlook

Going on his age 31 campaign, Jenkins clearly still has gas left in the tank. 2019 was the journeyman’s first season since 2015 playing in more than team games, and he did so while completing his first 16 game slate since his rookie season. Wherever Jenkins signs this offseason, count on him to provide veteran depth with the ability to make spot starts when needed.


The Dolphins are planning for a massive overhaul at most positions for the coming offseason, and with Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins seeming to be the only players guaranteed for return on the defensive line, the statistical likelihood of Jenkins coming back for his second campaign in aqua and orange is anyone’s guess. I’m expecting general manager Chris Grier to invest heavy resources into the front seven both through free agency and the draft, so I’d bet on seeing Jenkins playing in a different uniform next season.

That said, given Jenkins’ lack of statistical prowess and his advancing age, it’s unlikely he commands big dollars on the free agency market. If Grier wants to solidify some depth for the offseason and into 2020, giving Jenkins a short-term deal shouldn’t make much of a dent in the team’s checkbook.

While Jenkins wasn’t a liability on game days, he also wasn’t much of an impact player. The Dolphins are a young team and will have plenty of new talent coming in as the club currently holds 14 draft picks and a bevy of cap space. While retaining Jenkins isn’t an insane proposition, his presence may do more to hamper the growth and development of newcomers than anything else.

My vote: Let walk

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


Should the Miami Dolphins retain John Jenkins or let him walk?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    (251 votes)
  • 40%
    Let walk
    (168 votes)
419 votes total Vote Now