The Miami Dolphins entered the new league year with roughly half the roster hitting free agency but general manager Chris Grier and the team’s front office wasted little time rebuilding the team.
The Dolphins made roughly 20 roster moves since trading a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey on March 12. According to Over The Cap, Miami has roughly $6 million in cap space. The Dolphins will free up $13.6 million when the contract for cornerback Byron Jones is officially off the books.
The team’s front office has just four draft picks to work with and right tackle, safety, and tight end are all positions on Miami’s radar. That said, here are three positions the Dolphins already solidified early in the offseason.
Tua Tagovailoa, after leading the league in yards per pass attempt, enters the 2023 season as the starting quarterback. Recently signed Mike White, former quarterback for the New York Jets, and Skylar Thompson, Miami’s starting quarterback against the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, will likely battle for the backup job in camp.
“I think when you look at the position from its entirety from a year ago; well a year ago, we had a one-man room that there was a lot of questions with regard to where Tua was at in his development of his game and we needed someone to come in that could really help him take a step in the right direction to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League at a high level,” Mike McDaniel said of the team’s quarterback group. “I think Teddy (Bridgewater) came in and did that. I think as it stands right now, I was happy with what Skylar was able to do under the pretense that he’s going to continue to get better, and I think Tua is in a different spot.
“I think the team is in a different spot. And I think there’s some competitive advantages that we can bring to the room through free agency and that’s what we’ll look to do, is at least have some – there will be competition regardless in the room, regardless of who we sign – but I think that’s something that we’re definitely interested in to make the quarterback room better.”
The team kept three quarterbacks on the roster last season and Tagovailoa, Thompson, and Bridgewater all played in at least five games in 2022.
Miami traded for Ramsey and quickly followed the move by re-signing Nik Needham to a one-year contract. Needham and Trill Williams are both on track to recover from season-ending injuries last year. Kader Kohou stepped in and played 15 games as an undrafted free agent.
#Dolphins CB Kader Kohou went undrafted last April and proved this season that was a mistake— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) January 10, 2023
- 895 defensive snaps
- 69.8 overall grade (37th out of 122 qualifying CBs)
- 1 touchdown allowed
- INT + 8 pass breakups
Great find by Miami #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/jZf1tDPiGZ
While Ramsey and Xavien Howard headline the group, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have an experienced group to work with. Rounding out the group, former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene is entering the final year of his contract. Cornerback depth seemed to be a priority after injuries derailed the position last year.
Wide receivers Alan Lazard, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Jakobi Meyers were some of the biggest free-agent names to watch — highlighting the shaky landscape for teams looking to bolster the receiving group.
The Dolphins took their biggest swings in past years by drafting Jaylen Waddle early in the 2021 NFL Draft and then trading with the Kansas City Chiefs for Tyreek Hill last offseason. That said, Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft were two experienced players with success in Mike Mcdaniel's offensive system.
The team recently re-signed Cracraft and while Sherfield is looking to get paid in free agency, the team brought in Freddie Swain, who spent part of last season on the team’s practice squad.
Miami also added Braxton Berrios, a former special-teams All-Pro, who will help in the return game. Additionally, he’s another weapon for McDaniel to get out in open space. With Hill and Waddle headlining the group and a supporting cast of Cedrick Wilson Jr., Cracraft, and Berrios, the team has more than enough firepower on the outside.
That said, the team also spent a fourth-round draft pick on Erik Ezukanma last year and undrafted rookie Braylon Sanders remains on the roster after seeing limited playing time in 2022.