The NFL calendar is creeping toward the start of the 2022 league year and the free agency signing period. Later on Monday, the “legal tampering” period will begin, with teams allowed to speak with agents about the soon-to-be free agents, followed by Wednesday’s official start to free agency. Ahead of today’s 12 p.m. Eastern start to legal tampering, it is time to reset the Miami Dolphins’ needs.
Miami comes to the free agency period among the top teams in available salary cap space, and they have the ability to create more space should they need it. Of course, every cut player is a player they have to replace on the roster, but the front office will look to do that while maximizing the cap space they create.
The Dolphins have a lot to do this offseason. They have finished the last two seasons with winning records, but they have not made a postseason appearance since 2016 and they have not won a playoff game since 2000. They have holes on the roster that need to be filled, and they have a new head coach in Mike McDaniel who will want to shape the roster in his vision. What are the biggest needs facing the Dolphins as the offseason truly begins?
Everyone should be able to pin-point the offensive line as Miami’s biggest offseason need. It feels like this has been Miami’s biggest area of need since that last playoff win, despite the team using multiple early-round picks throughout that span. The line just has not been good. The Dolphins could try to develop the younger players they have, and there is potential along the line, they need to develop it while having solid play each week, something they have not been able to do the past few years. With the salary cap space they have, finding one or two immediate starters to come in and solidify the line is a must this year. There have been rumors the team is interested in tackle Terron Armstead and center Ryan Jensen, while they have also been linked to potentially entering the trade market - should it mature - for La’el Collins. The Dolphins should be aggressive in the offensive line market this week.
The Dolphins are Tua Tagovailoa’s team, and no matter how many people on Twitter complain about that, it is a true statement. That said, Miami has to find a backup quarterback to add to the roster. The team does not seem to have re-signing Jacoby Brissett as a priority, so they will likely be looking to the free-agent market to find a veteran quarterback to come in and be their insurance policy if Tagovailoa gets injured.
We will stay on the offensive side of the ball here and add receiver as a need for the Dolphins this offseason. Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker headline the position, but behind then, there are a lot of players with some potential or solid depth players. The team needs to add another dynamic piece to compliment Waddle, Parker, and tight end Mike Gesicki. Maybe they feel someone like Lynn Bowden, Jr., or Allen Hurns can be that player, but it feels like they should be in the market for another piece here.
Miami will likely be in the market for an edge rusher if they do not re-sign Emmanuel Ogbah - and potentially even if they do. You can never have enough pass rush, so the Dolphins could be looking to add to the group, even as Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel grow into their roles on the defense.
This might actually need to be higher on the list. The Dolphins need a stout middle linebacker to take charge of the defense, be a run-stuffer, and give Miami the domination in the middle they are missing. While he can play in the middle, Jerome Baker is best on the outside where he can improvise and get after quarterbacks. Miami could look to the free-agent market, where there will be options, to try to add the missing piece in the middle of the defense. Could they look to make a splash with Bobby Wagner as a big-name signing?
Michael Palardy is a free agent, so the Dolphins do not have a punter. They need to have a punter. That makes this a big hole on the roster that needs to be addressed. They could look to the 2022 NFL Draft or an undrafted free agent, but it needs to be a listed need for the team.