The Miami Dolphins Had Their Best FA Period In The Last 20 Years

I’ve been a fan of the Miami Dolphins since 2002, when I was six years old. Throughout my life as a fan, the word “competent” could never have been associated with my favorite football team. The Dolphins have been the “winners” of free agency before. If they weren’t bringing in new players on bloated deals, they were signing their own players to bad ones (Rashaad Jones, Xavien Howard, Jerome Baker) or, more recently, making splashy trades.

Previous Large Contracts

Mike Wallace in 2013 signed for five-years, $60 million. He played two seasons in Miami and never cracked 1,000 yards. Two years later they gave Ndamukong Suh the largest contact for a defensive player in NFL history to the tune of $114 million dollars over six years. He played on the team for three seasons, made one Pro Bowl, and won no playoff games. Jump forward to 2022, and the Dolphins sign free agent Left Tackle Terron Armstead to a five-year, $75,000,000. He has been the best signing of the three mentioned, since his production on the field has measured up to his deal. However, he also has trouble staying on the field, an issue he had with the Saints, missing 11 games in two years.

I won’t go into the weeds with the Bradley Chubb, Tyreek Hill, or Jalen Ramsey trades. I would consider those all successful, even if two out of three of them cost the Dolphins premium draft picks; and considering they had a Pro Bowl QB on a rookie deal, I understand the teams decision to go all-in before they had to pay the piper.

Nevertheless, these moves have all been on-brand for the franchise that (thanks to the Lions) now holds the longest streak of seasons without a playoff win at 23. They also have not won the division since 2008. Long story short, the way Miami has been team building has not been working. Going into this offseason, I feared they would continue on the treadmill of mediocrity, but in a twist of events, I believe the Miami Dolphins have found a touch of competence to their approach to this free agency period.

Christian Wilkins

The Dolphins did something I never thought they would be capable of doing. They let two of their own players walk in free agency. They let their former first round pick, Christian Wilkins, leave to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders for a monster contract of 4-years, $84.75 million guaranteed, with a maximum value of $110 million. Christian Wilkins is an outstanding player. He’s also going to be 29 years old this upcoming December, and has never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team. Miami being unwilling to overpay to this degree and having the courage and restraint to let him go showed me this team is willing to go in another direction this year. 

Robert Hunt 

They also allowed former second round pick Robert Hunt to leave for the Carolina Panthers for 5-years, $100 million, $44 million of which is fully guaranteed in the first two years of the deal. This solidified to me that Miami is ready to become a competent organization. Robert Hunt is a good, starting caliber guard in this league…he also will be 28 years old when the season starts and has never made a Pro Bowl or been an All-Pro.

Both Hunt and Wilkins are prime examples of homegrown talents who Miami would have overpaid for fear of losing them, or fear of being mediocre, yet they didn’t. 

2024 Offseason

Miami was then able to sign: TE Jonnu Smith, LB Jordyn Brooks, C Aaron Brewer, DE Shaq Barrett, FS Jordan Poyer, and CB Kendall Fuller (all projected starters), for less annual money than they would have spent on just Rob Hunt and Christian Wilkins. Not to mention, Miami is now lined up to have the maximum amount of compensation picks in next years draft.

This offseason has been overwhelmingly competent thus far. If they treat this years NFL draft with the same diligence they’ve treated this free agency period with, we may finally be able to call the Miami Dolphins a competent organization.


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