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Dolphins free agency 2023: Walk, tag, or re-sign - Thomas Morstead

We continue our breakdown of the Miami Dolphins players who could become free agents next month.

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The start of the 2023 NFL league year begins on March 15 at 4 p.m. Eastern time, with all contracts advancing one year at that time. With that advance, players who were in the final year of their contract for the 2022 season will officially become free agents and can begin signing with other teams. Between now and that deadline, every team in the league is trying to decide if their soon-to-be free agents need to be re-signed, have the franchise or transition tag applied to them, or be allowed to hit the market and sign with another team.

The Miami Dolphins have many decisions to make this year. The team has 31 players who could become free agents in March. Who do they try to bring back? Who do they allow to test free agency? They have 26 days to figure it out.

As the team internally decides what they are going to do with each player, we try to do the same from the outside looking in. Our annual series of “Walk, tag, or re-sign” continues today with a look at punter Thomas Morstead.

Thomas Morstead


Position: Punter
Age (at start of 2023 season): 37
College: SMU
NFL experience: 14 years
Expiring contract: 1-year, $1.3 million

2022 Review

Morstead joined the Dolphins in 2022, coming to the team after 12 years with the New Orleans Saints and splitting the 2021 season between the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. He played in all 17 games for the Dolphins, working as both the punter and the holder for field goals and extra points. His 46.4 yards per punt was almost exactly on his career average of 46.5 yards per punt and gave him the fifth-highest average for a season in Dolphins history. His 28 punts finishing inside the 20-yard line was 12th in team history and his 40.5 net yards per punt average was eighth in team history. Morstead’s ability to put 45.9 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line ranked him fifth in league for the 2022 season.

He also had one of the top bloopers of the season. Against the Buffalo Bills in September, the Dolphins were pinned deep in their own half of the field. Morstead was brought in to punt, but he did not have the normal spacing as he lined up at the back of the endzone and only had about 10 yards between himself and the line of scrimmage. As he stepped up to punt, cornerback Trent Sherfield was playing as the personal protector for Mortsead. He slid right in front of Morstead as the ball was kicked and Morstead punted the ball straight into Sherfield’s butt. And, thus was born the “Butt Punt.”

Mortsead pointed out after the season, he was credited with a -1 yard punt on the play, dragging down his average.

2022 stats: 17 games played, 61 punts, 46.4 yards per punt average, 40.5 net yards average, 66 yards longest punt, 2 touchbacks, 28 punts inside 20-yard line

2023 Outlook

Going into his 15th season, Morstead is still looking to play in 2023. He has told the Dolphins he would like to return and he obviously is still an effective punter. The last time Miami had a player surpass the 46 yards per punt average was 2015 with Matt Darr. No Dolphins punter has ever pinned 43 percent of his punts inside the opposing 20 yard line, at least until Morstead’s 45.9 percent this year. Morstead is a quality punter who brings stability and steady performance to the position, and wherever he is playing next year, he will likely continue to play at a high level.

Walk, Tag, Re-Sign?

Franchise tag salary: $5.4 million

The Dolphins need a punter, and they could retain a solid veteran who wants to be in Miami. That seems like a win-win. Miami’s salary cap issues heading into this offseason would be the only holdup in being able to get a new contract deal completed if they want to go that route. I would if I were them.

Verdict: Re-sign.


Should the Dolphins allow Thomas Morstead to walk in free agency, re-sign him, or franchise tag him?

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