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2022 Miami Dolphins free agents: Walk, tag, re-sign - Duke Johnson

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

The NFL offseason is here for the Miami Dolphins, which means it is time to start planning for how the team prepares for 2022. Before we reach the frenzy of free agent signing and draft picks, we need to take a look at the Dolphins’ own players with expiring contracts. Will the Dolphins re-sign the player, place the franchise tag on him, or let him walk away in free agency? We try to decide for each player.

Today marks the start of our annual “Walk, Tag, Re-sign” series on The Phinsider, taking a look at the Miami Dolphins’ soon-to-be free agents and breaking down what we think the team should do with them. As we work our way through Miami’s free agents, we will consider where the player is in his career, what he did in 2021, and what could be expected of him in 2022 as well as where the Dolphins stand at his position. From there, we provide our thoughts on what Miami should do with the player heading into free agency and give you a chance to vote on what you think the team should do.

First up for this year is running back Duke Johnson.

Background

Position: Running back
Age (at start of 2022 season): 28 (29 in Sept.)
College: Miami
Years: 7 years
Contract: 1 year, $990,000


2021 Review

Johnson started 2021 with the Houston Texans but was released in February after two years with the team. He remained unsigned until the start of the season when the Jacksonville Jaguars added him to their practice squad. He remained there only 10 days before being released. In late October, the Dolphins signed him to their practice squad, elevating him for the team’s Week 15 game against the New York Jets. He rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries during the game, along with one reception for 20 yards. He was promoted to the active roster the next day, appearing in five games for Miami, with four starts.

2021 stats: 71 carries, 330 yards,4.6 average, 3 touchdowns, 4 receptions, 41 yards


2022 Outlook

At this point, who knows what the Dolphins’ running back situation will be when the 2022 season starts. Myles Gaskin remains under contract, while Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Malcolm Brown, Patrick Laird (Restricted), and Salvon Ahmed (Exclusive Rights) are all scheduled to be free agents. The Dolphins did sign 2021 seventh-round pick Gerrid Doaks to a reserve/futures contract after he spent the season on the practice squad. Johnson showed he has the ability to be a piece in the backfield, but Miami’s running backs group will likely look a lot different when the season roles around.


Walk, Tag, or Re-sign?

The franchise tag does not make sense for Johnson, so this comes down to either re-signing him or letting him hit free agency. Given the lack of any depth on Miami’s roster at the position right now, and the likelihood that Johnson is not going to be overly expensive in free agency, re-signing the Miami native makes sense. The Dolphins need depth at the running back position and at this point, they need to sign or draft multiple running backs to fill out the position group. Bringing back Johnson, who proved to be effective, at worst provides Miami with a training camp/preseason running back. At best, he could position himself to compete to be the starter or the number two runner behind Gaskin or someone added to the roster.

Verdict: Re-sign


Poll

Duke Johnson - re-sign or let walk?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Re-sign
    (2478 votes)
  • 4%
    Let walk
    (116 votes)
2594 votes total Vote Now