This has been a pretty crazy start to a free agency, as you’d no doubt expect.
But we’ve seen some big names and some big money move around that we didn’t expect before Monday.
Regardless of the noise made by the Broncos and the clearing of the Bears, some teams have decided to get on with it very quietly and kept to themselves as much as possible.
One such team is the Miami Dolphins. They’re making trades and picking up new options for their roster, but they’ve been doing it in a very low-key way. No noise, if you will.
They’ve just been getting on with the business of football. Of course, if you know where to look then you can find out what they’ve been doing, and the biggest thing that’s happened is Jonathan Martin being traded to the 49ers.
It was a trade that needed to happen. It was best for everyone and, despite not getting anywhere near where they picked him up in the draft, they did the right thing at least and came out of it with something that could be useful: a seventh round 2015 draft pick.
But what else have they been doing, apart from changing their uniform and updating their logo? Well, quite a bit.
A lot of Miami’s problems haven’t been on the offensive side of the ball too much. But the aging defensive side desperately needs some reinvigoration, and as of time of writing, they’ve tried to address that.
So far they have brought in a defensive tackle and a safety along with some offensive linemen. The hope with former Texan Earl Mitchell is that his youth and experience under J.J. Watt will pay off and he’ll link up with Cam Wake.
The other positive thing is that the Dolphins have managed to retain some players in a time where a lot of people are cut for salary. This has been shown with Randy Starks and Brent Grimes re-signing.
Cortland Finnegan has been brought in from the Rams too. This one is signing based on potential. He’s a very decent cornerback, in the right hands. It’s a hard thing to evaluate a player when the entire team have suffered but he’ll test more inexperienced and out of form QBs. The same can be said of safety Louis Delmas, who’s come in from Detroit.
The best acquisition so far though has to be Branden Albert. Last year was a time where Tannehill was finding his feet and earning plaudits. With more time in the pocket and better protection, we should see more of his potential and Albert can bring that much needed time.
Miami are really just shoring up the depth chart in a team that started very well last year, but flagged with injuries, fatigue and off-the-field headlines. They are picking and choosing the spots of the best players they can get without destroying their salary cap.
It’s pretty obvious where the cap money is going for the next couple of years and it isn’t free agency. Miami’s plan appears to be more long term. Year one: build a team. Year two: plug the holes. Year three-five: make a run.
Hole plugging is going to be key for Miami and the offensive line still has a couple of holes. A lot of people will be looking at them to draft Zack Martin from Norte Dame in the first round. Another offensive lineman to build on Tannehill’s strengths.
Should people be expecting bigger things from the Dolphins this season then? Well there’s certainly something to worry about when a team is confident enough to go about their business without drawing attention.
The Dolphins went 8-8 last season and most of that was due to their impressive start. If they kept up even 50% of their early season form then they could easily have gone 11-5. Fact is they didn’t and they may well have just figured out what they need to do so.