Miami Dolphins: 5 things we’ve learned in free agency
The Miami Dolphins have been busy since the league year started. The team is making moves as if they just finished 1-15. It’s hard to believe this team made the playoffs last year under these conditions. So how well has the team done?
Taking care of their own:
Miami has got long term deals done for Kenny Stills, Andre Branch, and Reshad Jones. One of the biggest messages sent out after the season ended was “we’re going to take care of our guys.” It wasn’t an empty promise. Stills got 4 years, Jones 5 years and Branch 3. The team also brought back their longest standing veteran John Denney. The 13-year long snapper has been with the team through all the ups and downs and is staying in town.
Not only has Miami done plenty to bring back their stars, they’ve also filled some gaps. The long rumored Julius Thomas trade was officially announced. The team also brought in blast-from-the-past tight end Anthony Fasano. Fasano has plenty of history with the Dolphins and has also been through the dark ages. Fasano knows all too well about disappointing seasons with Miami. Now that the team has turned around, he’s a welcome addition back to their blocking and red zone schemes.
The Dolphins have gone on record as saying they want all needs filled before they hit April’s draft. Rumors have Miami signing free agent Ted Larsen to a 3-year deal. Larsen has experience at center and guard and could give the Dolphins flexibility. If Miami addresses the other guard position before the draft, the still might select one in the first round. 2 free agent guards and one in the draft would give them the depth they need on the offensive line. Even with Larsen being projected at guard, it would give the rookie time to develop and slide in should Mike Pouncey be bitten by the injury bug. Larsen would slide to center and the rookie would take his place. From that point out the Dolphins would be able to select the best player available in later rounds.
Protecting the future:
Not every player has walked home with a deal on Thursday. The team hasn’t made long-term extensions for Kiko Alonso, Damien Williams or Michael Thomas. While nothing could be worked out, Alonso got a first round tender. Should Alonso work out a deal to go elsewhere, teams would have forfeited their first round pick to the Dolphins. Thomas and Williams received original round tenders as well. Miami might not have had it in the cards to give every one of their guys a long-term deal, but tendering them keeps them with the team. Should they decline to match any offer, the Dolphins wouldn’t be stuck empty handed.
Changed the culture:
It wasn’t too long ago that “nobody wants to play for the Dolphins” was uttered. Fast forward to 2017 and things seem to have changed. With Adam Gase leading the charge, players are singing a different tune. Kenny Stills was rumored to receive better offers elsewhere and took less money to stay in Miami. Anthony Fasano came back to a team that let him walk years ago. Maybe it was all business or maybe he saw something different in the team this time around. Go back as far as last season and Reshad Jones ended his hold out in good faith on a new deal. Players are buying into the winning culture in Miami.
One thing’s for sure, the Dolphins weren’t making promises they couldn’t keep. The team took care of the players who deserved it so far. Fans may not be thrilled with the lack of a deal long term for Jarvis Landry, but the team might be waiting until after the draft pieces are in place. There’s still time to make roster moves, restructure contracts, and free up money. With all that has been done this offseason, there’s no doubt Miami is committed to winning. The team has made plenty of moves so far, and it appears they’re not done dealing.