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Dolphins Free Agency 2023: Walk, tag, or re-sign defensive lineman John Jenkins

Veteran defensive tackle John Jenkins is reaching the end of a second one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. What does the team do with their soon-to-be free agent this year?

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The calendar has advanced another day, which means we are another day closer to the start of the 2023 NFL league year and the 2023 NFL free agency period. As the March 15, 4 p.m. ET start to the signing period closes in on us, we continue to look at the soon-to-be free agents for the Miami Dolphins, continuing our annual series where we let the fans decide what the team should do with players on expiring contracts.

We started the 2023 series with safety/special teams player Clayton Fejedelem. Punter Thomas Morstead followed, then came running back Raheem Mostert and linebacker Elandon Roberts. Yesterday, we took a look at quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Today, we return to the defensive side of the ball.

What should the Dolphins do with veteran interior defensive lineman John Jenkins? We break down their options today and give you a chance to decide if they should re-sign him, franchise tag him, or let him walk in free agency.


Position: Defensive tackle

Age (at the start of the 2023 season): 34

College: Georgia

NFL experience: 10 years

Expiring contract: 1-year, $1.3 million

2022 Review

Jenkins is a veteran depth option on the defensive line for Miami, a role he has played well for two seasons. He is a big man who can plug up the middle of the line, working as a nose-tackle or as a one-, two-, or three-technique option. He played a little more than a fifth of the Miami defensive snaps, and he was also a contributors on special teams, playing about 14 percent of the snaps there. The Dolphins were not asking a lot of Jenkins, but he did play more this season than in 2021, when he played about 15 percent of the defensive snaps and about five percent of the special teams plays.

2022 stats: 16 games played, 20 tackles

2023 Outlook

Jenkins is a solid veteran that can still be asked to make plays, but it not someone who is going to be a dominant player giving you a ton of snaps. Jenkins is a role player at this point in his career and that should continue into 2023.

Walk, Tag, Re-Sign?

Franchise tag number: $18.9 million

Rotational defensive tackles are a need, especially with Miami expected to continue in a 3-4 defensive front. Jenkins can be that, serving as a nose tackle in the middle of the defense and eating blocks. Given the 3-4 is the same defensive front the Dolphins were using the last few years, there is clearly a role for Jenkins, or a player like him, in the Miami system this year. If he is not asking for a huge pay increase, and given his last four contracts have all be in the $800,000 to $1.2 million range he probably is not, there is no reason Miami could not look to add him back as a depth signing in the second round of free agency.

Verdict: Re-sign later in the offseason if still available.


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

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