The Miami Dolphins have been busy in the early part of the 2023 NFL free agency period. While the league is coming to the end of the “legal tampering” period, with the official start to the new league year and the free agency signing period not kicking off until 4 p.m. ET today, the moves Miami has already made this offseason are getting early praise. The Dolphins traded for All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and agreed to terms with quarterback Mike White and linebacker David Long, Jr., adding key pieces to the defense and finding their backup quarterback behind starter Tua Tagovailoa.
CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell released his early free agency grades for every NFL team and gave just two “A” grades. One went to the Seattle Seahawks while the Dolphins received the other. Of the Dolphins’ grade, Podell wrote:
The Dolphins know they only have quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on his rookie contract for two more years, so they’re making the absolute most of it by pairing Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey following their trade with the Rams in which they gave up some pocket change listed above. Those two corners, safety Jevon Holland, and Pro Bowl pass rusher Bradley Chubb give new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio plenty of star power to work with. Signing Mike White on a two-year deal to be Tagovailoa’s injury insurance is good business since he’s a quarterback familiar with the AFC East from his time with the Jets, and he’s a player who quickly won the locker room in New York. Two positive qualities for the new Dolphins backup.
However, general manager Chris Grier was also able to shore up his inside linebacking group at a fraction of what the position has been going for during free agency in 2023. While Tremaine Edmunds (four years, $72 million from the Bears), Bobby Okereke (four years, $40 million from the Giants), Alex Singleton (three years, $18 million from the Broncos), and Alex Anzalone (three years, $18.8 million), all got significant financial commitments this offseason, Miami signed their new inside linebacker David Long Jr, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, for a measly two years and $11 million. Not a bad deal at all for one of the NFL’s top run defenders at the position, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
David Long tackled opposing ball carriers for a loss or no gain on 6.6% of his run defense snaps last season, the 2nd-highest run stuff rate in the NFL (min. 200 run snaps).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 13, 2023
Long also was effective in coverage, allowing -5.1 receptions over expected (6th among LB).#FinsUp https://t.co/5oON4aCJML pic.twitter.com/ABu6Ttv9rS
The Dolphins are still projected, according to OverTheCap.com, to have about $15 million in salary cap space this year. The team will add another $13 million in June, when the cap savings from a post-June 1 designation release of Byron Jones provides them relief. They could still be players in free agency this week, then use the Jones money to sign their free agents and hold emergency money for in-season, rolling any unused money into the 2024 season.
Miami seems to have set themselves up well for this season, addressing some of their main needs and positioning to continue to be active when free agency officially starts. The Dolphins are building nicely this year, and they are starting to get noticed by national analysts.
Do you agree with Podell? Is this an A offseason for the Dolphins early in 2023?
How do you grade the early part of the offseason for the Miami Dolphins?
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