Take a look at the moves the Miami Dolphins have made during the first week of NFL free agency:
OG Connor Williams — Agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal, which guarantees him $7.5M.
The player: Williams, who is 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, started 51 of 57 games during his four seasons with the Cowboys, most of which was at left guard. He’s viewed as one of the NFL’s best pass protectors, only allowing one sack last season. But at one point last season was leading the NFL in penalties with 17 called, and 14 enforced. Eleven of those penalties were false starts.
What it means: Unless Miami adds an offensive tackle in free agency or early in the 2022 NFL draft the signing of Williams, who has played offensive guard his entire NFL career, indicates that Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson or Robert Hunt will be manning both the tackle spots. If Williams plays left guard that means Jackson, who was moved from left tackle to left guard early last season because of his struggles, would get displaced as a starter.
QB Teddy Bridgewater — Signing a one-year deal with a max value of $10M ($6.5M guaranteed money).
The player: Bridgewater, a South Florida native, will be joining his fifth NFL team in his ninth season. He holds a 33-30 record as an NFL starter and has a cumulative passer rating of 90.7.
He started 14 games for the Denver Broncos last season, going 7-7, completing 66.9 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,052 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
What it means: Bridgewater is a perfect fit for the Mike Shanahan-inspired offense new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel intends to install. He’s a play-action based quarterback who has movement skills and throws with accuracy and precision. While 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa viewed as Miami’s starting quarterback we could be looking at a Ryan Tannehill-Marcus Mariota-like situation if the 2020 first-round pick falters. Bridgewater has shined in every quarterback battle he’s been in during his career.
WR Cedric Wilson Jr. — Agreed to a three-year deal worth $22.8M, with $12.75M guaranteed.
The player: Wilson is an athletic, 6-foot-3 deep threat, who had a coming out party season last year in Dallas, setting career highs with 45 receptions, which he turned into 602 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
What it means: Wilson has the versatility to run every route needed in Miami’s offense, which should make him an ideal complement for Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker, if the Dolphins decide to keep the eighth-year veteran. While depth remains an issue at receiver, Miami now has three NFL starters and four potential playmakers, if Lynn Bowden Jr. is factored in.
RB Chase Edmonds — Agreed to two-year, $12M deal with $6.1M of it guaranteed.
The player: Edmonds has started 15 of the 57 games he’s played in his first four seasons, rushing for 1,551 yards and scoring nine rushing touchdowns on the 333 carries he had in regular-season games. He’s also caught 128 passes for 921 yards and scored five touchdowns on receptions. Throughout his career, he’s caught 78 percent of the passes thrown his way and averaged 7.2 yards per reception.
What it means: McDaniel has added a Deebo Samuel-like playmaker to Miami’s offense, giving the team a versatile athlete who can seamlessly go from tailback to receiver on any given snap. Most importantly, Edmonds has the speed to get to the edge on wide-zone runs, which is the scheme this offense intends to run. He’ll compete with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Gerrid Doak for playing time and the starting spot.
RB Raheem Mostert — Signed a one-year deal worth $3.1M
The player: Mostert, who is joining his seventh team in eight seasons, was San Francisco’s starting tailback before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the 2021 season. In his 49ers career, which spans six seasons, Mostert averaged 5.7 yards per carry, rushing for 1,610 yards on 284 attempts.
What it means: The Dolphins will provide Mostert safe refuse while he rehabs his torn ACL, making his way back to the football field. When healthy he should be able to compete with Edmonds, Gaskins, Ahmed and Doak for playing time, if not the starting spot, especially since he already knows the offense.
FB Alec Ingold — Signed a two-year deal that could be worth $7.5M.
The player: In three NFL seasons with the Raiders, Ingold caught 28 passes for 239 yards and had a receiving touchdown in each season. He also gained 22 career rushing yards on 15 carries, most of which was done in short-yardage work.
What it means: It’s difficult to run a run-centric West Coast offense without a physical, battering-ram-style fullback. That’s who Ingold is, and has been for the bulk of his 575 offensive snaps the past three seasons. He’s potentially competing with Cethan Carter for that tight end/H-back role in this offense.
CB Keion Crossen — Agreed to a three-year, $10.5M deal.
The player: Crossen, a former Western Carolina standout, has contributed 86 tackles, one sack, forced one fumble and recovered one during his first four seasons in the NFL. He’s played 501 snaps on defense, and 938 snaps on special teams the past three seasons.
What it means: Crossen is respected as a tough, physical cornerback who has excelled on special teams throughout his career. He’s been traded twice in his four seasons for a pair of sixth-round picks, so he has ability that NFL teams covet. Where he fits into this secondary likely depends on how well he can man the nickel spot.
WR Trent Sherfield — One year deal, terms unknown
The player: Sherfield produced nine receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown last season, which was his first with the 49ers. He spent his first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and had his most productive year as a rookie in 2018, recording 19 receptions for 210 yards and a touchdown.
What it means: Sherfield and return specialist River Cracraft, who spent the past two seasons in San Francisco and was signed by Miami last month, will complete with Lynn Bowden Jr., Allen Hurns and Preston Williams for the two or three backup spots behind Waddle, Parker and Wilson.
DE Emmanuel Ogbah — Signed a four-year, $65M ($32M in guaranteed money) deal.
The player: Ogbah has recorded 83 tackles, 45 quarterback hits, 18 sacks, four forced fumbles and 17 pass deflections in his two seasons in Miami.
What it means: Ogbah is the most important player in the Dolphins’ defensive front because he has the versatility to play in any scheme, which is critical to make the hybrid system work.
By re-signing the 28-year-old, anything Miami does to enhance its defensive line from here on out is a luxury because the unit now has five capable NFL starters in Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Jaelan Phillips and Zach Sieler.
TE Mike Gesicki — Signed franchise tag, which is valued at $10.93M for a tight end to $18.42M for a receiver.
The player: Gesicki posted career highs in receptions (73) and receiving yards (780) in 2021. He’s caught 199 passes for 2,255 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in the first four years of his career.
What it means: The rangy 6-foot-6 and 249-pound athlete is an exceptional receiver, but his pass and run blocking has been troublesome since his college days. Maybe his third coaching staff can fix his issues, but it’s more realistic that he’ll be used as a glorified slot receiver.
Signing his tender simply means Gesicki can be traded now, and it’s possible he could be strong-arming the Dolphins to move him to a team willing to sign him to a multi-year deal. Because he’s played more snaps as a receiver the past three seasons, Gesicki will likely file a grievance to be designated a receiver and not a tight end, because there’s a $7,490,000 difference when it comes to the tag. An arbitrator will likely encourage the two sides to meet somewhere in the middle if it gets to that point.
TE Durham Smythe — Signed a two-year deal reportedly worth $8M.
The player: The former Notre Dame standout has started 41 games for the Dolphins the past four seasons, and logged a career-high in receptions (32) and receiving yards (325) last season.
What it means: Smythe was re-signed to served as Miami’s in-line tight end, where he’ll be responsible for handling most of the Dolphins’ run- and pass-game blocking. It’s possible that Adam Shaheen or Hunter Long could challenge him for playing time, or the starting role.
CB Nik Needham — The Dolphins placed second-round tender on Needham worth $3,986,000.
The player: Needham has started 22 of 45 games he’s played the past three seasons and contributed 59 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup last season.
What it means: The Dolphins have signed a player to replace Needham as the team’s nickel cornerback the past two offseasons, but he continued to shine and rise to the top of the depth chart. Maybe with the team’s full support and investment his game can reach another level.
However, his return isn’t guaranteed because another team could offer Needham a multi-year contract the Dolphins might decide against matching, which would secure a second-round pick for Miami in exchange for his departure.
LB Elandon Roberts — Signing a one-year deal worth $3.25M.
The player: Roberts worked his way back from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2020 and contributed a career-high 83 tackles in 17 games. The hard-hitting inside linebacker also contributed a sack, two forced fumbles and a pick-six interception in Miami’s overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
What it means: The Dolphins have retained their hard-hitting inside linebacker, and two time team captain for one more season. But Roberts struggled with pass coverage, and if Jerome Baker is going to remain an outside linebacker, the Dolphins need to add a three-down linebacker who doesn’t leave the field.
LB Duke Riley — Signed a one-year, $3M deal.
The player: Riley contributed 26 tackles in the 16 games he played for Miami in 2021, and has started 27 of the 73 games he’s played in the NFL. But he’s most respected for his special teams contributions.
What it means: Riley started three games when the Dolphins moved Baker to outside linebacker, and he was used primarily as a coverage specialist last season. Could more be in store for this former LSU standout now that he has a better grasp of Miami’s defense? Only time, and the competition level, will determine that. But Riley has proven he’s a reliable NFL player.
LB Sam Eguavoen — Signed a one-year deal worth $2M ($800,000 guaranteed).
The player: Eguavoen has played just about every role in Miami’s linebacking corp that he possibly can, but is best utilized as a special teams contributor. In 2021, he had 16 tackles and half a sack.
What it means: Miami retained the versatile linebacker, who has transformed himself from former CFL standout to a core special teams contributor. But in three seasons Eguavoen hasn’t proven he’s capable of being a reliable starter in this scheme.
LB Brennan Scarlett — One-year deal, terms undisclosed.
The player: Scarlett played in 13 games with four starts in 2021, his first season with the Dolphins. He began the season as a starter, contributing 16 tackles and had a pass deflection last season. He also contributed on special teams, logging three assisted tackles.
What it means: Scarlett is a smart, versatile linebacker who will likely complete for roles in Miami’s hybrid defense if he can stay healthy. He’s started 26 games throughout his six year career because of his versatility and ability to master assignments, and he’ll likely continue to do so in Miami.
WR Preston Williams — Signed a one-year deal that could be worth up to $1.99M.
The player: Williams was buried on the depth chart in 2021 and only finished with six catches for 71 yards in the eight games he played, which included three starts. But Williams was viewed as the most talented receiver on the roster his first two seasons, so it’s possible that a new coaching staff and a new offense can pull the best out of him.
What it means: Williams returns as a camp body, and he will have to stay healthy and perform like a top-five receiver to remain with the Dolphins. Considering mastering the playbook has been the biggest challenge in his first three seasons, this will come down to whether he can live up to his potential and talent level.
FS Sheldrick Redwine — Signed a one-year deal for $1.15M.
The player: In three NFL seasons, mostly as a backup safety, Redwine has made 61 tackles, pulled down one interception, and contributed three pass deflections. He has made nine career starts, including one in the playoffs with the Browns, in the 35 career games this former Hurricanes standout has played.
What it means: Redwine, who the Dolphins claimed off the waiver wire last year, has the skill set to be a reliable starting safety in time. But it will be an uphill battle to displace Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones and Eric Rowe on the depth chart. So as long as Miami hasn’t removed any of those starting safeties, expect Redwine to serve as a core special teamer until an injury or demotion elevates him into a more prominent role.
Source: Berkshire mont