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Dolphins Free Agency 2023: Walk, tag, or re-sign safety Eric Rowe

The Miami Dolphins have two young safeties who appear set to man the defensive secondary for years to come, but does that mean the team no longer has room for Eric Rowe?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins appear to have a strong back end of their defense with the emergence of free safety Jevon Holland and strong safety Brandon Jones. Younger players who are hitting their prime, the Dolphins would appear to be set at the position for the next several years. The 2022 regular season showed Miami, and their fans, just how important secondary depth is, however, as Jones, along with several other safeties and cornerbacks, missed time due to injuries. That third safety option, especially if it is a player who can work as a cornerback in a big nickel type of formation, in the box as a strong safety, cover tight ends, and play in centerfield as a free safety, could be vital to a team’s defensive success.

And that might be what veteran Eric Rowe provides for the Dolphins in 2023. But, they have a decision to make. With the free agency period opening next week, Miami has to either re-sign Rowe for another season or allow him to hit the open market. Which will it be?

We continue our annual look at the Dolphins’ soon-to-be free agents with the next edition of the “Walk, tag, or re-sign” series. We have already taken a look at safety/special teams player Clayton Fejedelem, punter Thomas Morstead, running back Raheem Mostert, linebacker Elandon Roberts, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, defensive lineman John Jenkins, offensive lineman Michael Deiter, linebacker Trey Flowers, offensive tackle Eric Fisher, and tight end Mike Gesicki. Now we turn to Rowe.


Position: Safety

Age (at the start of the 2023 season): 30

College: Utah

NFL experience: 8 years

Expiring contract: 4 years, $14.8 million

2022 Review

Rowe played in a lot of roles for the Dolphins last season, working as a rotational player, as an injury replacement, as a tight-end coverage guy, and as a third safety in big sets. He can play just about any role asked of him, and he has been a solid option in the Dolphins secondary for the last four years. The 2022 season was not perfect for him, including landing on the game-day inactive player list during the season despite being healthy. He remains a veteran presence for the team and his play reflects exactly that.

2022 stats: 14 games played (5 starts), 31 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 interception

2023 Outlook

Rowe is probably headed toward exactly the same role as he had with the Dolphins in 2022. He could be a solid starter for a team that needs someone to come in and solidify a questionable unit, but his ability to be a plug-and-play type of guy on a team with an in-place pair of safeties could work perfectly with Rowe’s strengths.

Walk, Tag, Re-Sign?

The franchise tag deadline has passed, so that is no longer an option for this series.

Rowe provides the depth Miami proved it needed in 2022. He can fill either safety position, and he can be asked to work as a cornerback or as a tight-end coverage specialist. Assuming the contract is not overwhelming for a team that is already in a tight cap position for this season, bringing back Rowe makes sense.

Verdict: Re-sign


Should the Dolphins allow Eric Rowe to walk in free agency or re-sign him?

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