The Miami Dolphins have to address their offensive line this offseason. It is a pretty simple statement, but one that has been repeated each offseason over the past several years, and, despite free agent signings and draft picks selected, the offensive line continues to be an issue. Miami will again need to add talent to open running lanes and protect Ryan Fitzpatrick or a rookie quarterback. There is no easy answer, but there could be options on the free agent market to help find the solution.
The current depth chart on the offensive line has Julién Davenport at left tackle, Michael Deiter at left guard, Daniel Kilgore at center, Evan Boehm at right guard, and Jesse Davis at right tackle. Of that group, only Davis and Kilgore seem to be in line to be a starter in 2020, and even those two are not cemented into the lineup. Davis could be asked to play tackle or guard on either side of the line. Kilgore will remain at center, unless Miami can find an upgrade for the 32-year old’s spot.
Deiter, along with Shaq Calhoun and Danny Isidora, have a chance to grow into being a starter, but it appears Miami will be looking for three or four new starters this offseason.
Miami will have to look to free agency to find some of those players, but they likely will not be cheap
The top tackle target for Miami may be 26-year-old Jack Conklin, who despite being a right tackle could be exactly what the Dolphins needs. If the Dolphins select quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the Draft, the right tackle position now becomes critical as the blind-side protector for a Left-handed passer. Conklin has a rough history with injuries, but he was solid all last season and it has been two years since he tore his ACL, so hopefully all of those issues are behind him.
Just behind Conklin on the wish list could be Anthony Castonzo, despite his age (32 when the season begins) and questions this year if he was going to retire. The 2011 first-round pick did not miss a snap last year and has only missed 13 games over nine seasons in the league. His age might be a concern for the Dolphins, who are likely looking to create a young offensive line than can grow together, but Castonzo would immediately upgrade the unit for the 2020 season.
At guard, Miami should consider trying to steal Joe Thuney from the New England Patriots. He is versatile, able to allow Miami to find the right place to install him and who he best compliments next to him. With Thuney and Davis on the offensive line, Miami has depth and options where players can play both as starters and if injuries start to occur.
If Miami is to look to free agency to upgrade from Kilgore, the top center on the market is probably Connor McGovern from the Denver Broncos. He is 26 but has also only been a starter for a couple of seasons.
Other tackles to consider for Miami include Bryan Bulaga, who at 31 still was a strong presence on the field for the Green Bay Packers last year; Jason Peters, who is likely going to return to the Philadelphia Eagles but, even at 38, could be an option; Kelvin Beachum, the New York Jets’ 30-year old tackle was huge in any offensive success the Jets had last year and could be a target; and Matt Feiler, a restricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers who, if tendered, would likely cost Miami a second-round pick (assuming which tender is used). Feiler, who will turn 28 in July, played every offensive snap this past season, his first as a starter, with 15 games played at right tackle and one at left guard, and he could add to the stockpile of versatile players Miami seems to like.
For the guards, Brandon Scherff should be an option as well, though injuries are the obvious concerns for a player who has not played more than 14 games since 2016. It is believed the Washington Redskins will franchise tag Scherff, so he may not be available when free agency begins. Graham Glasgow, from the Detroit Lions, and Michael Schofield, from the Los Angeles Chargers, could also be on the radar.
Finally, another center candidate could be Ted Karras from the New England Patriots.
Potential Dolphins targets: If I am Miami, the offensive line is where I am going to spend in free agency. I am going to try to grab at least a couple of veterans, with Conklin and Thuney my top two targets. Getting solid play from veterans at a couple of the positions would assist in the development of younger players at the other spots.