Sure, the Miami Dolphins on the surface seem like they may be a bit boxed in regards to their ability to make some big free agent moves in 2023.
After the trades for Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb, that both led to some lucrative contract extensions, and their own signings during free agency in 2022, the Dolphins may have seemed like they would have to play some financial juggling to be able to make more big moves in the future.
In fact, the Dolphins should be in quite a favorable position come the offseason, and given how they may be a few pieces away from Super Bowl contention, they can certainly make some big moves.
The Dolphins could be over $55 million in cap space with the following moves (h/t The Draft Network)
- Restructuring the contracts of Hill and Chubb
- Finding trades for Cedric Wilson and Emanuel Ogbah (not a fan of this)
- Cutting Jason Sanders (which should definitely happen)
- Cutting Dylan Smythe
- Cutting Cethan Carter
- Extending Christian Wilkins
But wait, there's more.
Miami could create even more cap space by designated cornerback Byron Jones, who hasn't played this season, as a post-June 1st cut, clearing an additional $14 million.
The Dolphins may decide to do the same with linebacker Jerome Baker, clearing another $9 million in space, but given their dire need for linebacker help, Baker may remain, or could be restructured.
Cornerback Keion Crossen would clear another $3.17 million as a pre-June 1st cut, according to Over the Cap.
Keep in mind that this is before factoring in void year contract opportunities, which could result in even more cap space.
The Dolphins could be armed for a big push in free agency, with some of the following potential free agents as potential targets:
- Lamar Jackson, QB (Baltimore Ravens)
- Roquan Smith, LB (Baltimore Ravens)
- Javon Hargrave, DT (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Orlando Brown, OT (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Tom Brady, QB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)
- Daron Payne, DT (Washington Commanders)
- Jessie Bates, S (Cincinnati Bengals)
- Mike McGlinchey, OT (San Francisco 49ers)
- Dre'Mont Jones, DT (Denver Broncos)
- Jamel Dean, CB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Tony Pollard, RB (Dallas Cowboys)
- Josh Jacobs, RB (Las Vegas Raiders)
- Byron Murphy, CB (Arizona Cardinals)
- Tremaine Edmunds, LB (Buffalo Bills)
- Ben Powers, OG (Baltimore Ravens)
- David Long, LB (Tennessee Titans)
- Vonn Bell, S (Cincinnati Bengals)
My Personal Top 5 Targets
If the Dolphins continue with Chris Grier as general manager, you can scratch of any faith in the draft, as Grier has been wildly inconsistent with his talent evaluation, including some horrible duds in the early rounds.
In an ideal world, and assuming the aforementioned cap situation comes to fruition, here is whom I would target.
Let's face it, Lamar Jackson will likely get franchise tagged. So, an exit from Baltimore is highly unlikely, at least this season.
Circling back to the Dolphins tampering fines, which were excessive, I think it makes zero sense to give all of that up and just walk away, especially with Brady being available.
The Dolphins bring in Brady, and make a run at Sean Payton at head coach. Brady has already flirted with joining the Dolphins, and the opportunity to face the New England Patriots twice a year is very appealing.
Add it the weapons Brady will have, such as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Wow
A two-year deal works, and if Miami can keep Tua Tagovailoa as a backup, that gives them some really solid depth at the most important position.
Miami needs to land one of the available running backs this offseason, and while I really like the idea of Saquon Barkley in Miami, injuries have me going with Jacobs, who also excels in the passing game.
Some may question if Jacobs' 2022 breakout year was a fluke, and may be concerned by his heavy usage, but he has been durable throughout his career.
The Dolphins need to admit that Austin Jackson was a big miss in the first round. While Jackson can still provide value inside, right tackle has been an issue.
Brown has played left tackle in Kansas City, and it doesn't seem like his best position, so moving him back to right tackle, where he played in Baltimore, is a win-win.
Brown has the size and strength to instantly boost the Miami offense, and has operated in a similar system.
The Bengals have a pair of safeties set to hit the market in Jessie Bates and Bell, but should Bell become available he would fit perfectly alongside Jevon Holland in the Dolphins secondary.
Bell is a tight end stopper, an are where the Dolphins have historically suffered, but adding Bell into the mix allows Miami to let Holland freelance more, and Eric Rowe to slot back into a more comfortable role at corner.
Long has enjoyed a breakout year in Tennessee, and is one of the most dynamic off-ball linebackers in the league. If the Titans don't end up re-signing him, or franchising him, he is a great fit for the Dolphins and can stay on the field for three downs.
Honorable Mention: Ben Powers
Powers won out a training camp position battle to become one of the league's most consistent interior lineman.
I'm assuming the Ravens will sign Jackson, and thus making Powers available. Given the lack of any over-whelming offensive line talent in the draft, and Grier's utter flops drafting the position, Powers is a great fit, and a must have.
Assuming Miami takes my approach, they now have an offensive line of Terron Armstead, Austin Jackson/Robert Hunt, Connor Williams, Ben Powers, Orlando Brown with solid depth behind them.
Other Strong Considerations: Daron Payne, Dre'Mont Jones, Byron Murphy
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