The Miami Dolphins have the most salary cap space and the most draft picks in the NFL this offseason. They can do just about whatever they want this year, both in free agency and in the Draft, using their money and their picks to add talent to a rebuilding roster. There is already speculation that Miami will be moving around the selection order during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, potentially moving up to select a quarterback and lock in their franchise player.
Will the Dolphins be that aggressive? Are they already in discussions to make a move happen should they decide to do it?
“I think it’s entirely too early to kind of talk about how aggressive – there’s a lot of smokescreens out there from trade this, trade that,” head coach Brian Flores said this week while meeting with the press at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We have some capital; but again, it’s not just one position. Not in this game. There’s 22 guys on the field at a time, so we’re trying to build a talented roster. Depth is important in this league as you know, and there are injuries every week, so we want to build as talented a roster as we can.”
“Just continue building,” general manager Chris Grier, also in Indianapolis, said of the goal for this offseason. “Last year I think was a good year for – I think (Head Coach) Brian (Flores) and the coaching staff did a great job of establishing the culture. The narrative was out there (that) we were tanking, and that clearly was not what we were doing. It’s important to establish that culture of winning, the importance of winning and doing things the right way; so for us, it’s just to keep building upon that and I think we got a good start at the end of the year of how we played the second half of the season, and we’ve just got to keep building from there.”
Asked if the team was already looking to talk to other teams about possible trades, Grier said they are not yet in position to do that. “No, not yet, because we’re so early,” he explained. “No team has really met many of these guys yet, so I think until everyone goes through their process – like we’ve talked about – and getting to know them, that’s when you start making your determinations of what’s best for your franchise.”
He added, “We feel good where we are right now. Like I said before, we feel we’ve done a lot of things that give us flexibility through the draft and free agency. Right now, we feel very good where we are.”
With an anticipated 14 selections in the Draft, Miami could add several key pieces, or they could look to move up to select one player. Asked about what Miami could do, including potentially trying to move up to the Cincinnati Bengals’ first-overall pick position, Grier replied, “I don’t think you can rule out anything right now. I think we’re wide open to everything.”
He then added, speaking about the ability for the team to do just about anything they want, “Yeah, we do. We feel good, and I think history shows with the things we’ve done and the picks we’ve acquired and the money, that we feel good about our standing and the flexibility to move up and down or stand pat.”
Grier explained the mechanics of a trade during the Draft, saying, “It’s a conversation. Sometimes it happens before [when] you talk and then sometimes they happen right when you’re on the clock on draft day. Again, it’s weighing – you look at what’s available, how many players at that position are available as you’re looking at your board and stuff and then in terms of when you do it in free agency and stuff, it’s just working with the team and seeing what’s best for your organization. It’s a lot of conversations. It’s nothing that’s ever done quickly and in terms of when it’s veteran parts, you’re looking at the salary cap, money, how it’s going to affect the years and length left on contracts.”
Asked how often a team is blindsided by a trade that jumps them in the draft order, Grier replied, “Not often because most of the calls that come to teams are working all the teams, all the way up through there, so you’ll have an idea. Every once in a while like, ‘Oh wow, they got all the way up there,’ but most times you get those calls from teams just saying, ‘Hey, they’re interested in a move here or there,’ and then kind of work from there as you work down your board and you kind of see who’s available, who’s not and then you decide, is this better for us to move or move down?”
Are the Dolphins locked into a quarterback with their first pick? Most likely, though the coach and general manager are not willing to admit it yet. “The quarterback position is part of that like (someone) mentioned earlier, but they’re all important to me,” Flores explained. “We have our kickers, punters and long snappers; I’m taking a look at all those guys as well. We want to create competition. That’s important to me at every position, so that’s kind of the goal.”
“I don’t think we can rule out anything,” Grier responded when asked about if the team knows what positions they will most likely address in the first round. “We have a lot of spots we need to fill. We have some young players that did a good job last year that Brian (Flores) and the staff developed and keep going from there; but for us, I don’t think we can rule out any position no matter – We’ve always said, you can think you’re deep in some place and then an injury happens and changes the picture.”
The Dolphins know all about an injury changing the picture, with multiple injuries impacting the club over the past few years. They also know this year’s Draft could be the biggest one in team history. With all of their available cap space and draft picks, Miami can be aggressive and attack this year’s Draft - something the head coach and general manager seem to know, even if they will not yet admit it.