Expert Analysis


4 min read

Miami Dolphins Free Agency Outlook

Miami Dolphins Free Agency Preview.pdf

The Miami Dolphins' 2021 was a tale of two drastically different halves, as a team that looked utterly inept eight weeks into the season rallied to finish just a half-game short of a playoff appearance. Following an opening week victory against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins lost seven games in a row as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured in Week 2 and missed the next three games.

After entering Week 9 with a moribund 1-7 record, the Dolphins recovered in spectacular fashion as they won eight of nine games to close 2021 and finished with a winning record at 9-8. Rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle put up 104 receptions for 1,015 yards as he broke the rookie reception record while cornerback Xavien Howard had five interceptions and made his third career Pro Bowl. Miami entered the offseason with the most cap space in the league and now has the third-most at nearly $53 million after their first major move this offseason – plenty of space to augment the 13th youngest roster entering 2021.

Update: The Dolphins now have $51,317,989 available in cap space.

Miami’s Impending Free Agents:

  • EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah
  • TE Durham Smythe
  • LB Elandon Roberts
  • CB Justin Coleman
  • QB Jacoby Brissett
  • P Michael Palardy
  • WR Albert Wilson
  • WR Mack Hollins
  • S Jason McCourty
  • LB Duke Riley
  • DT John Jenkins
  • C Greg Mancz
  • LB Brennan Scarlett
  • RB Phillip Lindsay
  • RB Duke Johnson
  • WR Isaiah Ford
  • RB Malcolm Brown
  • WR Will Fuller V
  • LB Vince Biegel
  • WR Tommylee Lewis
  • DT Durval Queiroz
  • RB Jordan Scarlett
  • C Spencer Pulley
  • LB Sam Eguavoen (RFA)
  • RB Patrick Laird (RFA)
  • CB Nik Needham (RFA)
  • CB Jamal Perry (RFA)
  • S Sheldrick Redwine (RFA)
  • WR Preston Williams (RFA)

Miami’s most important free agent left is edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, who has recorded 18 sacks over the past two seasons while playing in every game. He proved to be a great signing for the Dolphins prior to 2020 and at just 28 years old is due for a substantial raise in free agency. Ogbah projects as one of the top free agent edge rushers on the market and the Dolphins are sure to have plenty of competition for him.

On offense, the Dolphins franchise-tagged their most important free agent (read below for more) and have four receivers scheduled to be free agents – most notably Will Fuller V who they signed to a one-year, $10 million contract last offseason. He suffered a broken thumb and played in just three games and has now missed 42 regular-season games in six seasons thanks to a mix of injuries and suspension. Other notable offensive free agents for Miami include tight end Durham Smythe, who played over 62% of snaps for the Dolphins in 2021, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett who started five games for Miami last season.

Franchise Tag:

The Miami Dolphins franchise-tagged tight end Mike Gesicki, the 42nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Gesicki has increased his reception and yardage totals each of the last seasons and projects to once again be one of Tagovailoa’s top weapons in 2022. The franchise tag for tight ends is $10,931,000 which ties Gesicki for the seventh-highest AAV at the position (with fellow franchise-tagged tight ends David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns and Dalton Schultz of the Dallas Cowboys).

Team Needs:

  1. Offensive Tackle
  2. Edge
  3. Running Back
  4. Wide Receiver
  5. Linebacker
  6. Safety

Three of Miami’s four biggest needs come on offense as they have clearly indicated their commitment to Tagovailoa. After investing significant resources into their offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft, Miami gave up the 11th most sacks in the league despite ranking 25th in passing attempts. Rookie tackle Liam Eichenberg was responsible for nine sacks last season and reinforcements at both tackle spots are necessary.

The Dolphins also need to upgrade their skill positions, as they have very little depth in their backfield behind an uninspiring Myles Gaskin while the free agency of four receivers leaves the room lacking behind DeVante Parker. If the Dolphins lose Ogbah in free agency they will need to find another edge rusher they can trust and pair with Jaelan Phillips, while the linebacker spot is bare outside of Jerome Baker. Safety remains a position of need even with Jevon Holland set to take over at free safety as Miami could use an upgrade from Eric Rowe.