“Hello darkness, my old friend.” - Simon and Garfunkel (or Disturbed, if you’re that kind of weirdo)
Here we are again, commiserating together about another disappointing football game played by the Miami Dolphins, this time, a loss to the Atlanta Falcons via a last-second field goal.
That makes it six losses in a row for a team that had playoffs or bust aspirations prior to the beginning of the season. That’s six losses in a row for a head coach who proclaimed Miami’s rebuilding process to be over during this past offseason.
“The guys we got in ’19, the guys we got in ’20, the guys we got in ’21, that we get in this draft, that’s the team,” said Flores via Peter King’s ‘Football Morning in America’ column. “You know what I mean? That’s the team moving forward. As we move forward, that’s going to be the crux or the big chunk of our team. They’ll be the reason why we make noise or don’t make noise.”
To be fair, this team is making noise. It just sounds like a long, unpleasant bit of flatulence. And much like the smell associated with such a noise, this team stinks.
For this week’s MDDM column, let’s move focus away from Chris Grier and Brian Flores for a quick minute, as we all know they should be squarely on the hot-seat, whether Ross feels the same as we do or not. Instead, let’s take a look at some players who may be playing their final season in a Dolphins uniform.
Eric Rowe – Safety
MDDM level – 8.0
At points last season, Eric Rowe looked like an All-Pro stud in this Miami secondary, erasing many tight ends from the opposing offense’s gameplan. That is, unless he was going up against the elites of the game in Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, etc.
This offseason, Rowe talked about needing to step up his play against the top options at the tight end position during the 2021 season. Unfortunately, much like the rest of the Dolphins defense this year, Rowe has not gotten off to a very inspiring start. Just this past week, he was dusted on multiple occasions by a rookie – albeit a freak rookie – in Kyle Pitts.
PFF credits Rowe with 23 receptions allowed through 7 games. That is tied for the most allowed among all safeties in the entire NFL. That’s...not good.
In 2022, Rowe’s cap hit would be just over $5 million, however if Miami decided to move on from the 29 year old, they would incur just $525,000 in dead cap. I could easily see this team looking to sign or draft Rowe’s replacement after the conclusion of this season.
Preston Williams – WR
MDDM Level – 9.5
Preston Williams joined the Miami Dolphins in 2019 as an undrafted free agent. He quickly outperformed his draft status – or lack thereof – by nabbing 32 balls for 428 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 8 games played. That’s a solid return on investment at the wide receiver position.
In 2020, expectations were higher for the second year player, and he started the year off hot, grabbing 4 touchdowns in the season’s first 8 games. Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury against the Arizona Cardinals mid-season, which landed him on the shelf for the season’s final 8 contests.
After an overhaul at the wide receiver position by Miami’s front office going into the 2021 season, expectations had cooled for the former Colorado State product. The Dolphins were finding receivers to match quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s skillset. Chris Grier was on the hunt for wideouts who could create consistent separation, and that was not Preston’s forte.
To make matters worse, Preston Williams’ recovery from his foot injury did not go smoothly and even when he returned from that ailment, he sustained a groin injury which has caused him to miss more time. Of a possible 7 games this season, Williams has played in just 3. In those three contests, he has caught 5 balls for 67 yards and no scores, with numerous drops on his ledger.
Those unimpressive numbers, combined with Williams’ penchant for spending a little too much time in the trainer’s room, could see the Dolphins end the Preston Williams experiment after the 2021 season, if he even makes it through the year on the squad.
Malcolm Brown – RB
MDDM Level – 9.9
The Miami Dolphins signed free agent running back, Malcolm Brown, to a one year, $1.75 million contract in the offseason. For that investment, they have gotten 125 yards rushing – 3.8 yards per carry – for one touchdown through 7 games. Oh, and he’s now on injured reserve for a minimum of three games with a quad injury.
The running back turns 29 on January 1st, which in NFL years, might as well be ancient.
Which is more difficult; envisioning the Dolphins bringing back Malcolm Brown for the 2022 season, or Malcolm Brown converting a 4th and 1 yard rushing play?
I think we all know the answer to that one.
Who else would you add to this list of potential cut candidates following the 2021 season? Do you already have your eyes on any potential free agents ahead of the 2022 season? Let me know on Twitter at @MBrave13 or in the comments below! Fins up!