One is an accident, two is a trend. That is how the old saying goes. During the 2022 offseason, the Buffalo Bills made a big push in an effort to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship. This offseason, some other AFC East teams are following suit. Since the Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets deal has still not been finalized, the team in that division that has most modeled the Bills’ approach is the Miami Dolphins.
Free agency hadn’t even opened, and the Dolphins made one of the splashiest moves of the entire offseason. For only a 2023 third-round draft pick the Dolphins acquired Jalen Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams can’t kick that credit card bill down the road any further. The interest has become too crippling for the team even with the salary cap taking a $16.6 million jump from last season. They didn’t want to pay the remaining three years on Ramsey’s record-breaking cornerback contract, so they got him off the books and added another second-day draft pick in the process.
In acquiring Ramsey, the Dolphins have also agreed to fully guarantee the next two years on his contract. Per Spotrac, the total is just north of $35 million. Ramsey doesn’t turn 30 years old until the fall of 2024, and the only season in which he wasn’t named a Pro Bowler was his rookie season.
The Dolphins weren’t done
A humongous move for the Dolphins, but they still weren’t done. On Monday they brought in two free agents. The Dolphins have reportedly signed David Long to improve the interior of their defense as a linebacker. The reported deal is a reasonable two-year, $11 million deal. If the Dolphins can keep him healthy they can make a massive improvement to their defense for a bargain price.
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The Dolphins also made a move for a backup quarterback. A clipboard holder for many NFL teams, the Dolphins need someone who has proven to be effective in the league. On Monday, Miami reportedly signed Jets third-string darling Mike White to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million. A quarterback who has proven that he is talented enough to be effective in an NFL game; a talent that the Dolphins most certainly need. Tua Tagovailoa was well on his way to a highly impressive statistical 2022 season, but injuries yanked that year off of the tracks. He was in concussion protocol twice technically— make your own judgments about his first 2022 injury.
Injuries have hampered Tagovailoa for many years going back to his final season at Alabama. He is one of the slighter NFL quarterbacks, and has missed many games for the Dolphins. They brought in Teddy Bridgewater in 2022 but injuries sidelined him as well. The Dolphins were forced to play a rookie seventh-round draft pick in a playoff game.
It is clear that the Dolphins don’t want a repeat of last season. A season in which they were already making a push to reach the top of the AFC. Miami brought in Tyreek Hill prior to Week 1, and Bradley Chubb during the 2022 season. Both players have agreed to restructure their contracts.
The Dolphins want it all. A team that hasn’t won a Super Bowl since the 1970s is trying to load up enough talent to make a push for the Lombardi Trophy. They wanted it last season, and the desire has not dissipated. The Dolphins believe that their talent is at the same level as the Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, or any of the other top NFL teams. They just ended up having to start a third-string rookie in their first playoff game since the season in which Antonio Brown’s only widely-known objectionable decision was the locker room Facebook Live video.
Get ready NFL. The Dolphins are looking to shore up every weakness to create a championship-caliber team.
The front office is making competent decisions, but is that enough to take this team to the top of its division and possibly further?