Somehow, the first week of the NFL 2023 free agency period has passed, starting with the soft-opening “legal tampering” period and continuing into the current signing period. Throughout the past seven days, the Miami Dolphins have been busy, signing players, making a trade, and re-signing/re-structuring contracts for their own players.
As the negotiating period opened last week, we reset our thoughts on the the Dolphins’ 2023 depth chart. Now, a week into the free agency period, it is time to take an updated look. The Dolphins will continue to address needs on the rosters over the next couple of weeks, but the heart of the team seems to be in place
Projected Miami Dolphins depth chart
(as of 11 a.m. ET, 3/20/23)
Changes since previous projection highlighted in each position group.
Mike White (Free agent signing)
This should be fairly straight forward. The question could be what the Dolphins do with Thompson
Running backs (4)
Raheem Mostert (Re-signed)
Jeff Wilson, Jr. (Re-signed)
Salvon Ahmed (Re-signed)
Myles Gaskin (Re-signed)
Change: +2 (Wilson, Gaskin)
Mostert gets listed at the top of the depth chart, but you can probably flip a coin to decide if it is Mostert or Wilson who is slotted as the “starter” in the group. As of now, Miami is running it back with the same running backs from last year - unless a new player is signed as free agency continues or potentially someone is selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. The running backs were solid last year, but it was not a dominant running game. Miami was such a pass-first offense last year that the run game became an after-thought at times. The passing game with a healthy Tagovailoa is going to be the main focus, but getting the running game going - and a big part of that is on the offensive line - will be instrumental to getting some of the pressure off Tagovailoa, protecting him better, and opening up the quick passing game that worked so well early in the season last year.
John Lovett (Re-signed)
The Dolphins are bringing back Lovett after he was on injured reserve all last year. Ingold seems to be the most likely to head the position group, and it does not seem likely the team will keep two fullbacks on the active roster. This is probably a camp competition with the potential that Lovett could be a practice squad stash when the season opens.
Tight ends (3)
Eric Saubert (Free agent signing)
Change: +1 (Saubert)
Smythe is still slotted as the starter. Saubert is a depth option at the position with a role on special teams. Conner is a developmental player at the position. This is a spot where another signing or a draft pick makes a lot of sense.
Wide receivers (7)
Braxton Berrios (Free agent signing)
Freddie Swain (Waiver claim)
Change: +2 (Berrios, Swain)
Hill and Waddle are clearly the top two. Behind them, the Dolphins have depth, but they do not necessarily have the “slot” receiver yet. Berrios and Wilson are probably in a camp competition for that role and for the primary punt/kick returner roles. Ezukanma, Sanders, and Swain are added depth right now.
Offensive linemen (10)
LT: Terron Armstead
LG: Liam Eichenberg
C: Connor Williams
RG: Robert Hunt
RT: Austin Jackson
Dan Fenney (Free agent signing)
Geron Christian (Re-signed)
Kendall Lamm (Re-signed)
Change: +3 (Feeney, Christian, Lamm)
The Dolphins are supposed to be in the right tackle market, but for now, it looks like they are rocking the same starting offensive line they had last year. Miami is building depth for the line and they reportedly still like Jackson at right tackle, but another signing or a draft pick here makes sense as well.
Defensive linemen (6)
The defensive line depth is a question still, but the top of the list, with Wilkins, Ogbah, Davis, and Sieler is stout. The biggets question here is when Miami completes a contract extension for Wilkins.
David Long, Jr. (Free agent signing)
Duke Riley (Re-signed)
Malik Reed (Free agent signing)
Change: +1 (Reed)
The Dolphins addressed the inside linebacker with the addition of Long and the re-signing of Riley as the top depth option. Phillips, Chubb, and Reed will likely be the top edge rushers, but the team could still look to add to the group.
Jalen Ramsey (Trade)
Nik Needham (Re-signed)
Elijah Campbell (Tendered)
Change: Net 0 (Add Needham, Released Byron Jones)
Miami’s secondary should be scary this year. Howard and Ramsey on the outside should be dominant, and it should allow Needham to move back inside as the nickel cornerback, the role he was expected to play last year before injuries shook up everything. Having Kohou as the primary reserve behind Howard and Ramsey is good depth. Igbinoghene has to start showing up in camp this year, while Campbell, Crossen, Williams, and Ellis will be fighting for special teams/depth roles.
DeShon Elliott (Free agent signing)
Verone McKinley III
Change: +1 (Elliott)
The safeties might need a little depth - but the position group seems pretty well set. Holland and Jones as the starters with Elliott as a rotational player and McKinley on special teams.
Special Teams (32)
K: Jason Sanders
LS: Blake Ferguson
P: Jake Bailey (Free agent signing)
Bailey is added to replace Thomas Morstead who signed with the New York Jets. Bailey has kickoff specialist experience.