Last year at this time, if you asked me what the Miami Dolphins’ biggest weakness was heading into the 2022 season — especially on the defensive side of the ball — I would’ve said, without any hesitation, the linebacker position. Flash forward a year later, and here we are, still waiting for the Dolphins to find their next great linebacker.
All offseason long, we’ve been taking a look at which players the Dolphins should tag, re-sign, or let walk. Today’s player is none other than free-agent linebacker Elandon Roberts. Roberts joined the Dolphins in 2020 and quickly became a leader on and off the field. The question now, however, is what’s next for the 28-year-old linebacker? But before we get into that, let’s look at Roberts’ history, along with some stats from the 2022 NFL season.
Age (at the start of the 2023 season): 29
NFL experience: 7 years
Expiring contract: 1-year, $2,750,000 million
elandon roberts with a massive hit stick pic.twitter.com/rHgclAgyja— josh houtz (@houtz) November 1, 2020
In 2022, Roberts started in all 17 games for the Dolphins, proving once again to be an anchor in the middle of Miami’s defense. The hard-hitting linebacker had the best season of his career, recording a career-high in sacks (4.5) and tackles (107). In addition, the former 6th-round pick (214th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft continued to dominate in the run game, meeting running backs head-on in the backfield. He also likes to tackle dudes into dudes!
elandon roberts vs nick chubb pic.twitter.com/Ic8UKg1vWA— josh houtz (@houtz) November 13, 2022
During his three seasons with the Dolphins, Roberts has proven to be stout against the run but also effective at getting pressure on the quarterback — especially when executing designed stunts and delayed blitzes. This was most notable last season but something we’ve seen a lot of during his tenure in Miami. The biggest issue I have with Roberts — and all of Miami’s linebackers (TBQH) — is their lack of awareness in the passing game. With that said, you can definitely do a lot worse than Elandon Roberts in the middle of your defense.
2022 stats: 17 games played, 107 total tackles (68 solo), ten tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks.
Ultimately, a decision on Roberts will be up to Miami’s new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio. If Fangio sees the vision and can utilize Roberts in a similar way as Josh Boyer and Brian Flores, we should expect to see another strong performance out of the veteran linebacker in 2023. However, hoping he can replicate the production we saw last season — with career highs in sacks and tackles — might be farfetched. Nevertheless, Roberts should receive an offer from the Dolphins. If not, several other teams should be interested in his services.
elandon roberts gets home with the blitz. wilkins was there too pic.twitter.com/GjylUonrB6— josh houtz (@houtz) November 27, 2022
Walk, Tag, Re-Sign?
As of today, the only interior linebackers on the roster are Jerome Baker and Channing Tindall. This means general manager Chris Grier will have his hands full trying to rebuild Miami’s linebacking corps this offseason. Of course, the easiest way to fix the unit is to do the obvious: re-sign one of Miami’s defensive captains, Elandon Roberts.
elandon roberts thumping pic.twitter.com/B1gUJsERMe— josh houtz (@houtz) October 9, 2022
Roberts won’t fix the linebacking unit per se — but he will bring a veteran voice to the locker room and a leader on the field. He also wouldn’t break the bank. According to Spotrac, Roberts will be looking for a deal in the range of one year, $2.4M, in 2023. And for a player that has been a captain every season in Miami, that seems like an easy decision (IMO). Then again, maybe it’s time for the veteran linebacker to get some security for the future. Bringing Roberts back for a season makes way too much sense. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give Roberts a two or three-year deal. He’s earned it.
(Note: The franchise tag for linebackers in 2023 is $20,926,000 — Roberts will not be getting franchise tagged.)
Should the Dolphins allow Elandon Roberts to walk in free agency, re-sign him, or franchise tag him?
This poll is closed