Thursday, March 23, 2017

Linebackers Are Still a Work In Progress

The weakest unit on the Dolphins roster last season was by far the linebacker position. So heading into this offseason it was an area that needed to be addressed and wholesale changes were a must. The Dolphins have done a lot to address this position thus far but much more work needs to be done.

The first move of adding Lawrence Timmons was in my opinion a great move to make. A 10 year vet who has only missed 2 games in his life Timmons is someone who brings instant credibility to the unit. Is he the same player he was 7 or 8 years ago, no of course not. Timmons is still an above average linebacker who can stop the run and will not kill you in the passing game. It is expected Miami will put him at the center of their defense at middle linebacker and he will be the leader of the unit.

The Dolphins then went out and signed Kiko Alonso to a 3 year contract extension to make sure his future is stable in Miami. Kiko was great last year and showed he was past his knee injuries. Kiko most likely will slide to outside linebacker which in my opinion is a more natural position for him and with his speed. To have Kiko blitz more I think will make Miami's defense more dynamic in many ways.

Just this week Miami restructured the contract of Koa Misi. When healthy Misi is a good run stopper the problem with Misi over the years is he is never healthy. Now he is coming off major neck surgery and to be honest I am not sure I would have kept Misi around. I know his contract is very low but to me that is a sign that Miami has little faith in him. If Misi is cut in late August do not be surprised people.

For depth this unit currently has very little to none. Neville Hewitt is a nice 4th linebacker who I like a lot but keeping it honest people he is not a starter in the NFL. He isn't that caliber of player at this time. Good special teams player, solid linebacker off the bench who can fill in when needed, but as a full time starter he isn't. Mike Hull in my opinion is someone who wouldn't make most NFL rosters but Miami's linebacker depth is so bad he is someone the Dolphins count on far too often.

So the question is what is next because this unit is far from fixed. Zach Brown is the big name out there and he recently visited with Miami but the Dolphins and Brown are far off on price. From reports it does sound like though Brown won't get the money he is looking for so he will have to bite the bullet and take the best offer out there. Oakland and Miami appears the only two teams left with an offer out there to Brown. IF (big IF here people) Miami were to land Zach Brown their linebackers would be one of the better units in the league and the weakness of the defense just became the strength overnight. With Timmons, Brown, Alonso as starters that is a nice unit right there behind Suh who will get his double teams freeing up space for the linebackers to make plays.

Whether Miami gets Zach Brown or not the Dolphins must be thinking linebacker in rounds 1 or 2 of the draft. With Alonso's injury history and with Brown IF he signs it will most likely only be a 1 year deal the Fins need to have depth on this unit. At pick #22 if Zach Cunningham is there Miami should jump all over him and race that index card up to the commissioner. If  Cunningham is gone at #22 then Miami should next look at Jarrad Davis out of Florida who is a do it all linebacker as well. Oh and there is this Hasson Reddick guy out of Temple who is a physical beast with size, speed, and ability. Honestly any of those three players at pick #22 would bolster this Dolphins defense in a big way and improve the linebackers greatly.

The Dolphins defense was terrible against the run last season and the main reason was the linebackers. The Dolphins front office has done a nice job overhauling this unit but the work is far from done.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New Miami? Reflecting on Free Agency so far


#TheNewMiami - a phrase that appears to be doing the rounds on social media, but might this catchy hashtag be more than just something to boost the amount of Retweets or likes on Instagram? From what the Miami Dolphins have done so far in Free Agency, it looks very much like the organisation and franchise is heading into new uncharted water. 
The sign that a franchise is in-decline or dysfunctional is an exodus of own talented in free agency. This is normally guys that have been drafted or traded for/ signed with a long-term view. In 2016, the Dolphins lost RB Lamar Miller, DE Olivier Vernon and WR Rishard Matthews - all starters and productive players for Miami. In 2015 it was TE Charles Clay and DE Jared Odrick. In 2013 it was OT Jake Long and CB Sean Smith. And so on.
A 3rd Round pick in 2012, Vernon stacked up 29.0 sacks in 46 starts. The Dolphins failed to snap Vernon up early before he eventually broke free-agency signing a 5-year deal with the New York Giants worth $85m with $52.5m guaranteed (Mike Dinovo/ USA TODAY Sports)
However, prior to the start of this offseason, the Dolphins front office made it clear that they were placing a priority on retaining their own guys and keeping talent inside the building, before looking to bring it in from elsewhere. So far Miami has been extremely successful in this regard and have also brought in quality pieces to help complement Miami's strengths and address their weaknesses.

The re-signing of Kenny Stills was important for the Miami Dolphins. Since bein taken 8th overall in 2012, QB Ryan Tannehill has struggled to build a connection and trust with his receivers.  Mike Wallace was brought in for big money to be a deep threat, however, he and Tannehill never hit off and the pair routinely struggled to connect on deep balls. This past season was arguably Tannehill's best in terms of down field passing. He often risked Safeties or Corners making a play on the ball, as he trusted his receivers to be in position and make plays. Stills thrived under Adam Gase's first season as Head Coach catching 42 passes for 726 yards and leading the team with 9 TDs. At 24 years old, the Dolphins will get Stills' best years and his skillset is a key component of any Offense - a speedster who forces Safeties to remain deep, thus opening up everything inside and outside the numbers. 4 years, $31.9m with $19.95m guaranteed makes him the 22nd highest paid WR in 2017 (per year). If Stills can develop in his second year under Gase, there is no reason why the Dolphins could not expect 50+ catches, 850+ yards and 7TDs+, while opening up the rest of the field for Miami's other receivers.
5th Round Draft pick by the Saints in 2013, Stills was traded to Miami before the 2015 season for LB Dannell Ellerbe and a 2015 3rd Round Pick (Jim Rogash/ Getty Images)
With Andre Branch, the Dolphins again paid a hefty price to keep their own players in the building. Branch signed a 3 year, $24m deal with $16.8m guaranteed. He had previously signed a 1 year prove it deal with Miami after spending 4 lack luster years in Jacksonville. Branch is the 17th highest paid DE - just behind Cam Wake and Everson Griffen; and ahead of Carlos Dunlap and Mario Addison. Branch struggled against the run in 2016 (which Miami addressed - see later), yet proved himself to be an able pass rusher. Branch was 30th in the NFL with 20 QB hurries (only 4 behind 15th placed Wake) and managed 5.5 sacks in just 11 starts. With better coverage in the back-end, it is easily foreseeable that Branch could put up double digit sack totals for each of the next 3 seasons. 
These first two re-signings are the Dolphins taking a gamble on young talented football players and hoping that they can develop into quality future starters. These next three re-signings represent the Dolphins locking up valuable veterans for the remainder of their careers and rewarding valuable members and leaders of the Miami Dolphins. John Denney is something of a cult hero in Miami, not missing a game in his 12 year career. Denney's brilliance is the fact that you don't notice his presence. Miami kicking late Field Goals with the time expiring late in the 2016 season to get into the Playoffs... All eyes on Kicker Andrew Franks... No-one even contemplated whether the snap would reach him or not... John Denney has been automatic for 12 years in Miami. 
Cameron Wake is one of the greatest Defensive Players in Miami Dolphins history. He defied age and science in 2016, bouncing back from an Achilles injury and forcing his way into the starting line up after initially being deployed as a situational pass rusher.  Wake clocked 11.5 sacks and his first career INT in 2016, and did not look a step slower despite turning 35 in January. Wake signed a 2 year, $16.125m contract with $10.875m guaranteed, keeping the veteran leader in South Beach.
Undrafted before excelling in Canada, Cam Wake's racked up 81.5 sacks in 96 career starts. He has the 2nd most sacks in franchise history - behind Jason Taylor's 131.0 (Tim Fuller/ USA TODAY Sports)
Reshad Jones is one of the best Safeties in football. He's been as productive as any at the position over the past three seasons. Jones was enjoying another Pro-Bowl worthy campaign before tearing his rotary cuff and being placed on IR. The Dolphins signed Jones to a 5 year, $60m contract extension with $35m guaranteed. Jones will be 34 by the time the deal runs out and like Wake and Denney - the Dolphins are rewarding faithful servants with contracts that should run late into their careers. Jones is the best Safety in football in the box and is one of the few existing Dolphins who excels in Run D.  
The Miami Dolphins have also looked to lock up value contributors and productive players through the tender process. Linebacker Kiko Alonso, Safety Michael Thomas and RB Damien Williams have all been tendered as restricted free agents.

New additions
The Dolphins have taken a balanced approach to free agency so far. No big splash signings like we are used to from Miami and from Mike Tannenbaum. Rather, the Dolphins have looked to improve the areas they were successful in, in 2016 - while addressing the apparent needs and concerns that were evident towards the tail end of the season. Like-for-like, this Dolphins roster has improved based on the players coming in, compared to those going out.
38 days after being hired as Executive VP of Football Operations, Mike Tannenbaum signed Ndamukong Suh to a 6-year $114m contract with $60m guaranteed (Patrick Farrell/ Miami Herald)
Julius Thomas enjoyed the best years of his career in Denver under Adam Gase. In Denver he was a reliable check down target over the middle and a Red Zone mismatch who put his 6 foot 5, 256lbs frame to good use. Thomas has struggled with injuries the past two seasons in Jacksonville and noticeably looked a step slower. If Miami can keep him healthy and scheme for him alongside Parker, Stills, Ajayi and Landry - Tannehill might finally get that check down TE the Dolphins have long been looking for. Miami managed to get Thomas in a trade for Albert, an aging veteran who struggling with injuries. Laremy Tunsil will slide to LT and the Dolphins got a playmaker at TE who agreed to take a pay cut to play for Head Coach Adam Gase.
The Dolphins also added another TE, re-signing Anthony Fasano who previously spent 5 seasons with Miami. Fasano signed a 1 year, $2.75m contract. Anthony Fasano was PFF's No.1 run-blocking TE and No.3 pass blocking TE in 2016. This signing gives Adam Gase another gadget on Offense to use and removes the need to bring in an additional OT on obvious running situations. This pick up will help Jay Ajayi and significantly improve Miami's rushing attack. 
Fasano was with the Dolphins from 2008 to 2012. He is an excellent blocking Tight End (Ed Wolfstein/ Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
The signing of Ted Larsen should be viewed as a short-term solution rather than a long-term fix for the problems Miami has at Guard. Larsen is a versatile Offensive Linemen who has experience playing Left Guard and Right Guard, while also taking snaps at Center during his career. He is competent in pass protection and run blocking, and brings a veteran presence on a Dolphins line that should look to get younger in the Draft with Larsen and Jermon Bushrod as stop gap solutions.
Miami's Achilles heel on Defense has repeatedly been its porous run Defense. In terms of rushing yards allowed, this is how the Dolphins have ranked the past four seasons (beginning with 2016): 30th, 19th, 24th, 24th. 2012 was the last time Miami was in the top half of the league in run Defense (13th). The last time Miami had a top-10 Run Defense was 2011 when they ranked 3rd, coincedently it was the last time Miami ran a 3-4...
The signing of ILB, Lawrence Timmons and the bargain pick up of DE, William Hayes should address this need. Timmons is a thumper and a great blitzer from the Inside Linebacker position. He is a force in the run game and should easily have over 100 tackles in 2017 playing behind Wake, Suh, Phillips, Branch and Hayes. Despite his age (will be 31 entering the season), Timmons is exactly what the Dolphins need in the short-term to fix their Defense and although he is a liability in coverage - at $12m over 2 years with $11m guaranteed, Timmons is exactly what this Dolphins Defense has needed the past few seafsons.
2007, 15th overall pick, Timmons has played 10 seasons - starting 126 games amassing 988 tackles and 35.5 sacks (Getty Images)
The trade for William Hayes was a steal by Mike Tannenbaum. In return for getting a proven veteran and run stuffing DE, the Miami Dolphins will move down 17 spots from the 6th to the 7th round in 2017. Hayes himself put on social media that he got traded for 'a stapler and a coffee machine'. The Dolphins inherited Hayes 2 year contract from the Rams, however, Tannenbaum and front office were not finished wheeling and dealing as they sliced the 2nd year off Hayes contract and brought his contract for 2017 down from $5.5m to $4.75m. Hayes was ranked 11th amongst Edge Rushers in Run Defense by PFF in 2016 and 17th overall. The acquisition of Hayes and Timmons beefs up Miami's run Defense.
Finally the Dolphins signed Safety Nate Allen. After the sad news that Miami was releasing Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, the Dolphins wasted little time in signing former Raiders and Eagles Safety Nate Allen to pair next to Reshad Jones. Allen was available on a cheap 1 year, $3.4m deal as he missed all but 5 games in 2015 for the Raiders due to injury and backed up rookie Karl Joseph in 2016. In his limited appearance towards the end of 2016, filling in for the injured Joseph, Allen impressed with 2 interceptions and 3 passes defended in just 4 starts. The Dolphins are hoping they can find a diamond in the rough in Allen, much like they did with Abdul-Quddus who played well in 2016 for Miami.

The Dolphins needed to improve their run Defense - check
The Dolphins needed to improve their options at Tight End - check
The Dolphins needed to retain talent, unlike prior to the 2016 off season - check
Miami needed to address its Linebacking corps - half-check, still the Draft to come
Miami needed to address the Guard position - half check

The Dolphins have done a great job so far addressing clear needs on this roster while retaining quality, productive starters. What is different this year to most is that Dolphins players appear to have left money on the table to remain in Miami. Players appear to be buying into Head Coach Adam Gase's message - an important step for this franchise. The Dolphins have not paid the moon for any one player so far and have left themselves with plenty of room to still be active as they look to continue to improve this promising roster. #TheNewMiami? Not quite yet... but we are getting there. #FinsUp!

Thursday, March 16, 2017 Mock Draft 1.0

Image result for miami dolphins nfl draft

Now that free agency frenzy is winding down, it's time to look at the draft.  We are 6 weeks out but now is the time to get some idea of who the Dolphins will be looking at with their picks.  Here we go!

Round 1 (22)- Hasson Reddick- OLB Temple- In this scenario, Taco Charlton and Zach Cunningham are off the board.  The Nate Allen signing helps at safety, which is why I don't have Peppers here.  Reddick is a do it all OLB.  His stock has risen based on his Senior Bowl performance and his workouts.  He brings a great ability to cover sideline to sideline against the run (huge need for the worst run D in the league).  He squares up well on tackles and is explosive when he hits.  His biggest asset is on 3rd down, where he can disrupt the QB on blitz and is great in zone coverage.  I love this pick if it happens on draft night, and the Dolphins will have their LB corp taken care of in round 1.

Round 2 (22)- Ryan Anderson DE/OLB Alabama- At 6'2, 253lbs, the Dolphins take Ryan Anderson here.  He solves the age problem on the edge and is capable of putting his hand in the ground or standing up and covering someone.  He has good instincts and decent athleticism.  Plays with a never ending motor and comes from a great system.  While he struggles at times against the run, he does well with good leverage and uses his hands well.  His ability to line up in multiple positions gives the Dolphins flexibility and the defense continues to mold with their first 2 picks.

Round 3 (33 Comp)- Nico Siragusa- OG San Diego State-  Miami influxes some youth in front of Ryan Tannehill with this pick.  The 6'4 320lb guard is very good in both run and pass blocking.  He blocks well on trap and pull plays and gets to the second level nicely.  He had a good combine and should be in line to start if drafted here.  Bushrod will also provide to be a great mentor to the young man and should line up year 1 on the left side next to Tunsil.

Round 5 (22)- Montae Nicholson- S Michigan State-  With not going with Peppers in round 1, the Dolphins grab a potential future starting safety in round 5.  Nicholson is a physical presence at 6'3 212lbs.  He is physical at the line of scrimmage at running plays and doesn't shy from contact.  He does need some work with coverage skills but did have 4 INT and 4 PBU in 20 starts.  If he can improve as a deep safety and continue to develop as a solid run defender, the Dolphins may have found someone nice to pair with Reshad Jones

Round 5 (34 Comp)- Nazair Jones- DT North Carolina- With striking out on Dontari Poe and not looking to spend a ton, the Dolphins add depth with Jones.  6'5, 305lbs, he is a great run defender.  He is quick for his size and able to get inside the gap to make tackles.  While he lacks the ability to rush the passer, Suh can give him all the tools he needs to succeed.  He is willing to get dirty and mix it up at times after the whistle.  He also can knock down passes at the line (10 in career at UNC).  A solid pick here.

Round 5 (40 Comp)- Josh Malone- WR Tennessee- With Carroo not being liked by coaches currently due to immaturity, Dolphins bring in Malone to compete.  He is a big bodies flyer, who averaged close to 20 yards per catch in 2016.  He basically has the ability of Kenny Stills and could be a good options as a 4th/5th WR if he makes the roster.  Gase will fall in love with his speed inside against nickel CB and Safeties.

Round 7 (5)- Zane Gonzalez K Arizona State- I am a firm believer you take a kicker in round 7 if one is available.  Gonzalez will provide competition for incumbent Andrew Franks.  He was a perfect 5 for 5 on 30-39 yard field goals (extra points), 6 for 6 on kicks from 40-49 and a whopping 7 for 9 on kicks beyond 50.  If he can make a good impression, Franks will be out and Gase won't be afraid to put Gonzalez on the field for kicks beyond 45 yards.

This could be a decent draft if the later prospects pan out and add depth to the roster.  I may be crucified for taking a kicker but round 7 is a flier pick anyways. 

Don't be afraid to let me know how I did on this first mock of 2017 Dolphins mock draft.  Follow us .  I will be back again next week with another mock. 


Dolphins Re-Sign OG Jermon Bushrod

In a move that was expected the Dolphins today re-signed last years starting right guard Jermon Bushrod. It is expected to be a one year deal but terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time. Bushrod did a serviceable job last season starting at right guard and played well at times. Bushrod will compete to be a starter again this year against the likes of Ted Larsen, Anthony Steen, and Kraig Urbik.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

AUDIO: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay FIRST DRAFT Podcast Cover Miami

This week's ESPN Podcast with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay they cover the Miami Dolphins needs and who they might be looking at with pick #22 at this time.

CLICK HERE to listen. (skip to 37 min mark for Miami Dolphins talk)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dontari Poe Traveling to Miami to Visit with Dolphins

Free Agent Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe visited with the Atlanta Falcons today and will be traveling tonight to Miami to visit with the Dolphins front office per a report by Josiana Anderson of ESPN. Most likely the official visit will take place tomorrow. Poe has already visited with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Atlanta and Miami is next. He also has the Raiders on his wish list of places he would like to visit. Poe is looking for a big money multi-year deal or a one year deal so he can then hit the open market again next year and hopefully cash in then.
In my opinion Miami can add all of the linebackers in the world to with help the Dolphins poor run defense but honestly the biggest fix in correcting the run defense is getting a legit defensive tackle to play next to Suh. Jordan Phillips can only go roughly 20-25 snaps a game for Miami so depth at defensive tackle is a must for the Dolphins. Poe is a pure 1st and 2nd down run stuffer who if playing next to Suh will most likely shine and would have an amazing season. There are some drawbacks with Poe besides a hefty price tag it may take to sign him. For one it is a bit of buyer beware as Poe does have a bad back. Second, if a team runs no-huddle against you with Poe on the field he will become gassed and getting him off the field in those situations are almost impossible. With that said Miami needs a player like Poe who can clog up the middle and prevent teams from running at will on the Dolphins defense. If the price is right Miami should look into giving Poe a solid 1 year deal in my opinion. He is the type of run stuffing defensive tackle that are very tough to find and even harder to find a quality one in the draft who can play right away.

The big thing working in Miami's favor is Poe's agent is Jimmy Sexton who represents Adam Gase, Andre Branch, Suh, Laremy Tunsil among others currently on the Dolphins roster. Also, Sexton is very close friends with Mike Tannenbaum as well so Miami does have a bit of an "in" here with Poe's agent. We should know in the coming days where Poe signs but the fact he is visiting Miami in the next 24 hours is a very good thing.

While we do not have exact numbers Miami is roughly $17-$19 million under the salary cap at this time. They would need $5 million for rookies and the team also wants to extend Jarvis Landry and Kiko Alonso. Oh, and don't forget they would like to carry over some of the cap savings into next year. So, what can they realistically offer Poe to make him sign?  That is the big question right now. One thing to remember, Miami can cut Koa Misi and Dion Jordan (which they are expected to do at some point this offseason) at any moment and create $7 million more in cap space. Cut those two, give Poe that $7 mill for one year and Miami stands pat at around $17-$19 million in cap space.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is the Guard Problem Really a Problem?

Ted Larsen
As Dolphins fans we have been shell shocked into thinking if we do not have elite guards then we have no chance to win or have a capable offense. Speaking to Dolphins fans, reading message boards, twitter, and listening to South Florida sports talk radio I hear you fans and I am here to tell you that the "guard problem" isn't as big a problem as you seem to think it is. In fact I'm not sure its a problem at all honestly.

Let's take a step back and look at our recent history shall we. Yes, Miami's offensive line struggled in recent years because the general manager(s) and head coach refused to give up on two players at our guard position; Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas when they showed time after time they just couldn't play well. Those two  were not NFL caliber players let alone starting guards in this league. Proof of this is that when Adam Gase cut them last year neither really caught on with another team or played for another team.

After Miami cut Dallas Thomas last October no team picked him up and it wasn't until this past January Philadelphia signed him to a futures contract. Meaning his odds of making the roster this season are slim and none. Billy Turner after being cut last October was picked up by the Ravens only to be cut three, yes THREE days later! He was then picked up by the Denver Broncos but never saw the field in significant games.

I get it folks, many of us have been scarred for life by these two lackluster players but I am here to tell you in the NFL you can win without having to break the bank for elite guards on the offensive line. Miami has an elite left tackle in Laremy Tunsil and yes I said elite because he is elite. Juwaun James is a very good to above average right tackle. Yes James got off to a slow start last year but once he became accustomed to the Fins new offense he shined from the middle of October on.  Mike Pouncey while has been injury prone when he does play is an Pro Bowl caliber linemen. Miami has three anchors on this line and it is about just filling in the two guard spots next to them with capable players.

Ted Larsen was the starting guard in Arizona in 2014 when they had an amazing season and went 11-5 and had a very high powered offense. In 2015 he was their starting guard when the Cardinals went all the way to the NFC Championship game. So this notion that Larsen is some how a liability if Miami has to start him is laughable. Larsen didn't derail those two teams with his play and those two teams also ran the ball very very well in those seasons. You plug Larsen next to Tunsil and Pouncey and I don't think there is an issue in fact that that is a solid left side of your offensive line. Could Miami do better than Larsen? Of course, but if Larsen ends up being a starter at guard step off the ledge people it isn't that bad.

I'm not here telling you that Ted Larsen is the second coming of Larry Little but he is a solid pick-up and players along the line of Larsen who are solid NFL veterans who have seen it all, played in big games, and weren't a liability to their former teams when they played are exactly the type of players Miami should be bringing in.

Also, I am hearing and reading a lot of Jermon Bushrod hate. Why? What did he do last year that was so bad? I know Bushrod is a little older and he wasn't perfect last year but he wasn't so bad that if Miami went to him again for a second year at right guard the whole offensive line would collapse. I would have no problem if Miami gave Bushrod another contract and brought him back. At worse he is a capable back-up who if he had to be thrown into the line-up you know won't hurt your team. At best he starts at right guard again and just like last year does a capable job. He wasn't a superstar, he wasn't great, but he was good enough and didn't cause the entire offense to fall apart.

As the 2017 NFL season is all of 4 days old Dolphins fans need to relax regarding the offensive line and specifically the guard position. Ted Larsen was a solid (not flashy) signing and I am sure Miami will have another signing at guard in the coming days or weeks along the lines of a player who is similar to Ted Larsen. Maybe they bring back Jermond Bushrod as well and when you throw in Anthony Steen who is already on the roster and showed some promise last year and can play guard, the Dolphins go into the draft having a capable offensive line already under contract. If they use one of their early picks on a guard then all the better.

Just remember people, not every non-big name offensive linemen is the next Billy Turner or Dallas Thomas. Miami doesn't need to break the bank to bring in big-named guards, they just need capable NFL guards and they will be fine in 2017.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dolphins Free Agency Frenzy DAY 2 Report

Day two of Free Agency was a very busy day in South Florida for the Dolphins. Lots of new players brought into the fold for the Fins so let's get into it and break it down.

-The Dolphins signed LB Lawrence Timmons to a 2 year deal worth $12 million with $11 million guaranteed. This is a no brainer move for the Dolphins as their linebackers were a dumpster fire last year. Timmons can play either MLB or OLB, he has only missed 2 games in 10 seasons, and he has a nasty streak to him and his game. He isn't the long-term answer for the Dolphins at this position but he is a nice addition and stop-gap player who upgrades this unit instantly. With Timmons and Kiko Alonso now as two of the three starting linebackers the Dolphins are well on their way to having a respectable linebacker unit. And I wouldn't be so sure the Fins are done in free agency with adding linebackers. Stay tuned...

-The Dolphins replaced Isa Abdul Quddus by signing Raiders safety Nate Allen as they signed Allen to a 1 year $3.4 million deal which is an absolute steal. Allen is a 7 year vet who has played for Philadelphia and Oakland. Allen is a solid player but not someone who is a game changer at this stage in his career. He can step in and start from Day 1 but if Miami uses an early round pick on a safety in the draft then Allen would probably be a better fit as the teams 3rd safety and coming off the bench. Miami may have found a starting safety at a very reasonable price and team friendly price.

-We reported last night that Ted Larsen signed with Miami, today they made it official and pen went to paper. Not much more to add than what I said last night; Larsen is a back-up center and someone who will compete to start at a guard position. A solid player at most likely a solid price. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but it was announced it was a 3 year contract.

-Miami is one of four teams that wants to visit with DT Dontari Poe. Poe is scheduled to visit with the Colts on Sunday. It is a buyer be ware situation with Poe as he has some back issues that has scared off some teams. Any team that signs Poe will have to do an extensive medical check on Poe.

-Dolphins Tight End Jordan Cameron announced his retirement today. With numerous concussions and injuries this was expected and we wish Jordan well.

What to expect next as Free Agency continues you ask? I think things will slow down some for the Dolphins. Here are some things to keep an eye on....

-The Dolphins look to add another Guard via free agency.

-Jarvis Landry to get a contract extension

-Do the Dolphins look to double down and get another possible starting linebacker? Zach Brown maybe who has been linked to Miami in a few places.

-If a solid Defensive Tackle is available at the right price I think Miami will make a play for them.

Keep coming back to for all the latest as we will be updating the site with news and hot takes as more Dolphins news breaks all day and night!

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Free Agency Day 1 Grades:

Image result for miami dolphins
Day 1 has come and gone and while there was a ton of activity from around the league, here is my look at each move the Dolphins have made from day 1. 
Reshad Jones- Extension 5yr/60M (35M guaranteed)- A+
Signing Jones to a long term extension was imperative.  He is, in my opinion, the #1 Strong Safety in the NFL.  He was on pace to exceed his ridiculous 2015 numbers with a great start in 2016.  This was important to get done for many reasons but the biggest:  The new Miami power structure will take care of their own players versus just letting them walk.  This was a big step towards that.  Having Jones locked up for the rest of his career has us set at SS.  Now, just build someone young behind him.  Great job here.
Julius Thomas traded for 2017 7th round draft choice (restructure 2yr/12M)- B
The first unofficial move for the Dolphins this offseason has come to fruition.  Julius Thomas has arrived in Miami with a new outlook after signing a lucrative deal with the Jaguars 2 years ago.  He was marred with injuries during his tenure and hopes to regain that magic that saw him collect 20+ TDs in his 2 years with Adam Gase.  This deal seems to be high risk, high reward, as the injury bug truly caught up to him recently, so I am cautiously optimistic that this deal will work out, which is why this grade is a B.  Solid move overall.
Kenny Stills- resigned 4yrs/32M (20M guaranteed)- A+
This deal got me out of my seat when finalized.  On twitter, I was saying his deal needed to be less than 10M per year.  Not only did Miami get him for 8M, Stills turned down money elsewhere to stay with the Dolphins.  This is eye opening in many areas, but this is all Adam Gase.  He establishes relationships with his players and Stills said that when interviewed.  This is a destination again folks, this is where players want to come play, for a coach like Gase.  Regarding the deal itself, the offense stays in tact and secures Stills for 2  years, with the unknown future of Devante Parker.
Andre Branch- resigned 3yrs/24M (12M guaranteed) - B-
Branch was vital to the turnaround once he was inserted into the line up.  There are mixed reports of what he signed for (24M from Salguero is what I bank on since he is always around team).  It is a lot of money but he proved his worth.  He is a good pass rusher and is very good at setting the edge against the run.  Another player that took less money to stay with the team.  That isn't factual as it hasn't been said officially yet, but rumors are he took less. 
Anthony Fasano- signed 1yr/3M- B+
The Dolphins pounced on Fasano once they found that Dion Sims was going to the Bears on a pretty lucrative deal.  Fasano returns for the first time since 2012 when he was a member of the team.  He is rated the #1 TE for blocking and #3 TE for pass blocking.  I don't see him much as a pass catcher in this system but he is essentially an extra tackle on most downs.  If he is primarily a blocker, this is a steal for this team.
Kiko Alonso tendered 1st round tender, Michael Thomas original round- C+
I have this grade a C+ based on the fact Miami may have been able to put a 2nd round tender on Kiko and save a little bit more money.  Not signing Michael Thomas to a longer term contract is frustrating, as he is the most versatile player on defense and special teams.  The tender helps but he needs to be locked down for longer than 1 year.  He becomes a UFA next season.
Overall I rate day 1 as an A-.  None of these moves were flashy, but the front office understood what last year meant as a franchise.  No need to start over, pay the guys who made a difference and add in behind those players to build depth.  I feel great about this off season thus far.  Stay tuned to for all the latest!

Dolphins Trade for DE William Hayes

Late Thursday night Miami and the LA Rams made a trade. The Dolphins gave up a 6th round pick for DE William Hayes and a 7th round pick. Hayes is a 31 year old DE who is a solid run stuffer. I have seen two stats, one had him ranked as the 11th best defensive end vs the run last season and another ranking had him the 17th best defensive end vs the run. Whichever stat you believe, Hayes is good against the run. He also has some pass rush ability as since 2012 he has never had a season with less than 4 sacks. Hayes can also slide inside and play defensive tackle in nickel package situations as well.

With Andre Branch returning (who is also solid at setting the edge and playing the run) and now Hayes Miami is building up their defensive end position with guys who can play the run as Miami's run defense last year was very poor. No word if the acquisition of Hayes means Miami is no longer interested in Jabaal Sherad who is the DE from New England who lives a few minutes away from Dolphins headquarters and drove himself to meet with the team on Thursday but left without a deal. I still expect Miami to sign a defensive tackle at some point this free agency period but I think the defensive line for the most part is set and I expect Miami to turn its attention to linebacker and safety in the coming days. Hayes made headlines last year when he said he didn't believe in Dinosaurs. Here is Hayes with Comedian Jimmy Kimmel

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dolphins Free Agency Frenzy

Free Agency has begun and the news is coming fast and furious so let's break everything down as of 7pm

Ted Larsen
-The Dolphins have signed Free Agent Guard Ted Larsen to a 3 year deal. Financials haven't been disclosed yet. Larsen can play both guard and center and is expected to come in and fight for a chance to start at guard for Miami this season. He was a starter in Arizona for 2 years and spent last year in Chicago where he started 8 games and played in 15. Larsen has 65 starts in 7 years in the league on various teams.  The Dolphins aren't even close to being done at the guard position but this is a vet who can start right away and someone who can fill in for Pouncey should he go down.  I would think with this signing the chance of Nick Mangold signing with the Fins won't be happening, but you never know.

-Tight End Dion Sims signed with the Bears and Miami wasted no time in bringing back Anthony Fasano. Fasano was in Miami not that far back and was a quality player for the Fins. Fasano is a solid #2 TE and will be great in the run blocking game essentially filling the role Sims had. Fasano signed a 1 year deal worth $3 million with incentives if he hits benchmarks.

-Reshad Jones got his contract extension he has been begging for. A five year deal with $35 mill guaranteed. Jones is the highest paid safety in the NFL now and it is a good deal for Miami as Jones is their best player in the secondary.

-Lawrence Timmons will be visiting the Dolphins facility on Friday. Reports were it would happen today. The fact it's not until Friday makes me think Timmons is using Miami to get more money out of Pittsburgh. If Timmons signs with Pitt tonight or tomorrow morning before stepping foot in Miami don't be shocked people.

-The safety market dried up real fast via free agency. All of the "legit starters" are gone and nobody is left on the market but back-up's and guys with little to no experience. Miami is going to have to address their safety problem in the draft. Probably will have to double down and take 2 in this draft.

-Jabaal Sherad is at the Dolphins facility right now! He lives a few minutes away and drove there on his own to meet with the team. Miami may have him locked up tonight so don't be surprised if that news breaks.

Keep coming back to for all the latest as we will be updating the site with news and hot takes as more Dolphins news breaks all day and night!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dolphins Re-Sign WR Kenny Stills

The NFL Network is reporting the Miami Dolphins have come to terms with WR Kenny Stills on a new contract. The deal is for 4 years/$32 mill with $20 mill guaranteed. That is a very good deal Miami got with Stills and no Dolphins Fan can complain about that contract. This is a big move that will keep Miami's WR Corp in tact for next year. The Dolphins passing game was very good last season and to have continuity there is a big positive.

March 8th News and Rumors on Dolphins Free Agency

Lawrence Timmons
Let's get right into the news and rumors and here is what is happening and what we are hearing.

-It has been confirmed Miami is going to re-sign DE Andre Branch to a 3 year deal worth in the ballpark of $27 million. No word on the amount that is going to be guaranteed and that is all that matters folks. It won't break down as $9 mill per year so how much is guaranteed is key as this most likely this is a 2 year deal where Miami can escape come year 3 if they want.

-Word is breaking tonight that Pittsburgh Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons will be visiting Miami once the league year begins tomorrow March 9th. Timmons is 30 years old and will be much cheaper than someone like a Dont'a Hightower. Timmons has only missed 2 games in his entire NFL career (both in 2009) and is coming off a very good season in Pittsburgh. I have said from the beginning Miami shouldn't be looking to break the bank and be chasing a big name player who will make a lot  of money but should look to add 2 or 3 guys at a lower price in positions. Quantity over Quality this year.  That is what Miami's interest in Simmons is showing me most likely is the Fins game plan. As always, Timmons could be using Miami to leverage a better deal from Pittsburgh and get more money out of them. So keep that in mind too.

-Kiko Alonso and Miami are working on a long-term deal and they hopefully can get something worked out. IF (big IF) Miami can land a Timmons and you put him next to a Alonso all of a sudden linebacker is looking a lot better. With someone like Neville Hewitt as a 4th LB coming off the bench this group would be improved greatly. Yes, they still need a 3rd starting type outside linebacker or middle linebacker and move Alonso to OLB, but with 3 draft picks in the first 100 picks next month that isn't impossible to find.

-Still not much on the Kenny Stills front. There are interesting tweets coming from teammates of Stills that are hinting that he re-signed in Miami but nothing confirmed at all. I expect some big news on Stills in the next 48 hours. UPDATE: Stills Re-Signed with Miami after this article was posted.

Keep coming back to for all the latest as we will be updating the site with news and hot takes as more Dolphins news breaks.

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

5 Defensive Players the Miami Dolphins Could Target in Free Agency


It's a good thing I waited till post-Franchise Tag deadline, to post my Top Defensive Free Agents for the Miami Dolphins. As the dust settles following a busy few days of business transactions around the NFL, a few of the Dolphins potential ‘big name’ targets were hit with the Franchise Tag. Yet the Dolphins still have plenty of options in free agency with big name commodities and relatively under the radar guys – for the Dolphins to explore in free agency.

The Dolphins need a complete overhaul of their Linebacking corps. If the Dolphins get Kiko Alonso back then I expect them to play him on the Weakside (Will). The Dolphins need two other Linebackers, including a ‘thumper’ inside as the Dolphins need to finally address their porous run Defence. The Dolphins could also do with adding a Defensive End – however, I believe the Dolphins will use the no.22 pick on either Derek Barnett, Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton or Charles Harris – depending on who is left on the board. Miami could also look at a run stuffing Defensive Tackle to plug in next to Suh. This would instantly elevate Miami’s run Defense, but also give teams problems as they look to limit Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh and another dominant Defensive Linemen on any given play.

Below are five Defensive Players I believe the Miami Dolphins could (and should) target in free agency. Tweet your thoughts @TomLikeNFL.

Brandon Williams, DT
I believe Brandon Williams should be, and will be, top of any potential shopping list the Miami Dolphins have for free agency this year. The former 3rd round pick has played at a high level since entering the league in 2013, and has started 46 games over the past three seasons. Williams is a large Nose Tackle who's strength and athleticism make him one of the NFL's best run stuffing interior Defensive Linemen. Williams is a massive interior Linemen who uses his strength and power at the point of attack to occupy blockers and clog lanes, wreaking havoc on opponents run games.

(Nick Wass/ AP)

While Williams would not add much personally to the Dolphins pass rush, his presence would elevate the level of play of those around him on the Front Seven. Williams' size and speed mean teams often use a Center to chip and support Guard's who have to try and match him blow-for-blow. The problem with doing this if Williams was with the Dolphins? Are you really going to leave Ndamukong Suh and Cam Wake matched one-on-one and expect your guy to win that individual battle?

The Dolphins Achilles heel on Defense the past few seasons has been trying to stop the run. In terms of rushing yards allowed, this is how the Dolphins have ranked the past four seasons (beginning with 2016): 30th, 19th, 24th, 24th. 2012 was the last time Miami was in the top half of the league in run Defense (13th).

*Interesting point - the Dolphins had the 3rd best run Defense in 2011, the last time they ran a 3-4.*

Williams would significantly upgrade this unit as an immovable object in run Defense occupying blockers, thus making it easier for Miami's other Defensive Linemen and Linebackers to get to the football. Williams will most likely be after Damon "Snacks" Harrison money - and the Dolphins have enough cap room to give him that sort of deal.

Johnathan Hankins, DT
A less well known name, but one the Dolphins should definitely be looking at this offseason. Hankins doesn't get the level of attention he deserves, due to playing next to Olivier Vernon, Damon "Snacks" Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul. After being selected in the 2nd round in 2013, Hankins had a breakout season in 2014 stepping in for the departing Linval Joseph. Hankins stacked up 51 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 7 sacks, 6 QB hits and 21 hurries. Joseph's surprising pass rush earned him a place on PFF's 1st Team All-Pro.

Hankins is known predominantly as a run stuffer, however, his 2014 season shows he can be a valuable asset in pass rush - if he has the right pieces around him. While Hankins is not as good as "snacks" in run stuffing; he could still be a valuable addition to the Dolphins Defensive Line - and a player who would warrant a more team friendly cap number. Few DTs crash the backfield as consistently as Hankins and he would be a valuable addition next to Wake and Suh on the Dolphins D-Line. This could be a name to watch over the coming weeks.

Dont'a Hightower, ILB
Now this would be a massive upset in the AFC East and could signal a potential passing of the baton between the Patriots and Dolphins (one can dream). Hightower would instantly upgrade Miami's awful Linebacking corps as he is an elite ILB with sideline-to-sideline range, who is a force against the run game. He will not come cheap but if Miami is comfortable shelling out north of $12-$15m for a LB, then there are few better options than Hightower.

(USA TODAY Sports)

Hightower took over Super Bowl 51 as he displayed he is one of the best blitzing Linebackers in the NFL. He is a leader and tone setter on Defense who is athletic enough and possesses the speed to go sideline-to-sideline shutting down opponents run game. With one expensive signing, Miami might finally shore up their Linebacking unit if they bring back Kiko Alonso to play next to Hightower.

However, Hightower brings with him a large opportunity cost. If the Dolphins sign him on a Jamie Collins type deal, then Miami will have to scrimp and scrape elsewhere. This means the Dolphins would be unable to address the Guard position or bring in another game changing talent in free agency. Hightower also struggles in coverage, particularly when playing man. He might end up being limited to a 2 down LB as teams would exploit him using RBs and TEs who could burn Hightower and run right past him in coverage. While Hightower possesses game changing talent and would instantly elevate this Dolphins roster... I believe Miami should pass on this one and instead target one of the great Guards in this free agency class and opt for one of the below options at Linebacker.

Zach Brown, ILB
Zach Brown's current value according to Spotrac is $4.5m with a contract projection of four years, $18m. At that price, Zach Brown would be a steal. Brown had a breakout year in Buffalo - playing on a one year prove it deal. Brown has earned himself a big pay day due to his impressive level of play in 2016. The Bills Linebacker filled in for injured Reggie Ragland and was excellent, not missing a beat. Brown's best game of the season came in Buffalo's shut out of New England in Foxborough in Week 4. Brown had 12 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and a sack in a dominant performance against a Jacoby Brisset led Patriots.

Brown is an athletic Linebacker who's 4.5 second 40 time shot him up big boards, eventually landing with the Tennessee Titans in the 2nd round in 2012. In addition to being an excellent run stuffer, Brown is comfortable dropping back into coverage and has the lateral quickness to hang with Tight Ends and Running Backs. If the Dolphins look at what Brown achieved with the Bills 2016 Defense, the Dolphins could easily get a similar level of production, if not higher due to the game changers Miami have on their Defensive Line. Brown tallied up 97 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended, and 1 interception in 16 starts. I think Brown makes a lot of sense for the Dolphins, a run stuffing ILB who can play all 3 downs - and who won't break the bank, leaving enough change to pursue one of the premier Guards in this free agency class.

A. J. Klein, ILB
A. J. Klein could be a budget option at ILB who could work out better than expected for the Dolphins. Klein has only started 23 games in his 4 NFL seasons, however, it is difficult to see action when your team has Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson (2015 1st round pick). Klein started 7 games this season and played well, stepping in for All-Pro Kuechly who battled with concussions. Klein is a player, who though not exceptional, is good at what he does.

Klein is good against the run and in a league that is increasingly nickel and diming, could be a great two down Linebacker to help improve Miami's porous run Defense. His pass coverage skills are questionable and he could do with improving in this area. However, with this signing the Dolphins could get a day 1 starter who's speed and recognition make him an excellent run stuffer. Klein also brings tremendous Special Teams value. 

Other Targets: Calais Campbell DE; Jared Odrick DE; Alan Branch DT; Lawrence Timmons LB; Nick Perry LB; Kevin Minter, LB Podcast w/Special Guest Tim Robbie

Tim Robbie
We have a very special edition of the Podcast as we are joined for an in-depth 40 minute interview with Tim Robbie. Tim is the son of the late Dolphins owner Joe Robbie and Tim was the Miami Dolphins president from 1990-1993 and was around the organization as a child when his father Founded the organization. Tim shares many great stories about his father and the early days of the Miami Dolphins organization, the Perfect Season which he saw up close, and gives his thoughts on the current group of Miami Dolphins players.

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