Should the Dolphins trade for QB Deshaun Watson?

Should Brian Flores trade for QB Deshaun Watson?

By: Cody Molla (@cmolla1)

The rumors have been swirling for months now and every NFL fan has heard about it. Deshaun Watson to the Miami Dolphins. It has been reported the Dolphins do have an interest in Deshaun Watson. Most teams should have an interest in Watson. Watson was recently ranked the 18th overall player in the NFL Top 100. Landing him behind five other quarterbacks only. Watsons rank is not a fluke. His skillset places him amongst the best at the position across the NFL. He led the NFL in passing yards last year with 4823 yards. Nearly 100 more yards than Patrick Mahomes. Watson also added over 400 rushing yards and threw for 33 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He single handily won the Texans four games it seemed like. For all the greatness on the field, the major issue right now is his pending allegations with 22 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct.

The Miami Dolphins current quarterback Tua Tagovailoa just left last week with a rib injury. Surely the Watson talks have picked up steam again. Hence this exact article. The biggest reason the Dolphins haven’t traded for him yet is the asking price. Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross does not involve himself in football operations however he has been reported saying the price is too much, but he does want Grier (Dolphins GM) to find a way to get Watson. Ross has for years wanted to find a franchise quarterback in Miami.

What if they paid the price of three first round and two second round picks? The obvious plus is you have Deshaun Watson. Watson is 26 years old, has four years of starting under his belt, nearly 15,000 passing yards, over 100 touchdowns, and three games of playoff experience. Those three games of playoff experience match the Dolphins total playoff games since 2001. Watson is a great player! The cons of doing this trade are you lose five premium draft picks. The Dolphins have recently been able to acquire those premium picks in recent trades with the Texans. The current football management of the Dolphins cherishes those picks and believes in rebuilding through the draft. The jury is out so far on the result.

Can a team be built that way? There is one current NFL team that is using this model. The LA Rams. With the recent acquisition of Matthew Stafford, the Rams are set to go seven consecutive years without a first round pick. They drafted Goff first overall in 2016 and tentatively have no first round pick till 2024. Goffs rookie year the Rams went 4-12. Made a coaching change in 2017, and have gone 45-22 including this year since. That includes three playoff appearances and a super bowl loss. It is possible to have success even with a player like Jared Goff at quarterback. Watson is way better than Goff. It is not solely based on quarterback however as the Rams have had one of if not the best defensive player in Aaron Donald as an anchor, a good offensive line, and strong defensive play. How would the Dolphins compare? An atrocious offensive line, with key defensive players like Xavien Howard and a strong defense all around.

The Dolphins recently had three first-round picks in the 2020 draft. They drafted Tua, Austin Jackson (OL), and Noah Igbenoghene (DB). As a Dolphins fan, I would trade these three players for Watson right now if Watson was guaranteed to suit up and play right away with no penalty. That’s not the case. Still, giving up these three players and getting Watson could be a great deal. The key here is the three picks are a lot of draft capital, high draft picks do not translate to a great player. Tua has had success so far as the Miami Dolphins quarterback. Austin Jackson is still learning a tough position to play at offensive tackle and has flashed but struggled, Igbenoghene hasn’t really done much of anything in-game and has been inactive for two games starting 2021 as a coach decision. Yes, the Dolphins DBs are deep and loaded but you would want a first round pick to be active on game day in some capacity.

It’s tough to say whether the pros outweigh the cons in this situation. Just because the Dolphins acquire Watson doesn’t make them super bowl bound or even playoff bound. With the given situation at the offensive line, Watson would be doing more running for his life and making insane plays on the run multiple times a drive. The Dolphins have brought in coaches and players specifically for Tua this year. The current build would fit Watson as he is a great player however it would seem a little odd to sell a player you put many chips in the pot for. What message does it send to the team as well? Yes the NFL is a cutthroat business and it’s a what have you done for me now league. However, after making such a big deal about Tua and doing all they have it would send mixed signals to others. It may as well fire up the rest of the locker room too knowing the organization is looking to win and improve.

Ultimately I don’t see a trade in season for Watson happening. The Dolphins will likely wait till the off season to do anything. They will once again have the most cap room of all NFL teams. They can see how this year plays out with Tua and his broken ribs. They also will get to see how the lawsuit develops and if and what punishment the NFL imposes on Watson as well. The legal dilemma adds a wrench to this case and will hold the key to Watsons NFL future. Any team with Watson at quarterback will be at an advantage.

Why the Dolphins can really win the AFC East

Tua Tagovailoa can bring the Dolphins to an AFC East title

By: Cody Molla (@Cmolla1)

Far removed from dominating the division in the 70s and early 80s the Dolphins have won 4 division titles since 1985, and only two since 2000. The franchise and fans have their eyes focused on winning a division title and making a splash in the postseason. There is hype and expectations for the Miami Dolphins coming off a 10-6 season last year. Improvement is expected all around, and with that improvement do they win the AFC East?

The hype for this year comes off a strong 2020 season and strong offseason. However, the Dolphins aren’t the only team improved within the division. The Buffalo Bills return their core from last season that played in the AFC Championship game. The New England Patriots return players on defense that opted out of last season and have returned their quarterback for a second straight year who is more comfortable in his position within the offense. The New York Jets are completely turned over and though they don’t pose a threat to win the division in anyone’s eyes, they do have a chance to spoil someone’s season.

The biggest factor in winning the AFC East for the Miami Dolphins is to win their divisional games. Last year the Dolphins went 3-3 in the six division games. They swept the Jets, split with New England, and were swept by Buffalo. The Bills in perspective went 6-0. Winning division games is like winning two games in the standings, not only does it directly give you a game up on your rivals but it gives you tie-breakers which may play a role in deciding a competitive division winner. Yes! The AFC East is now a competitive division. The Patriots are no longer a juggernaut and three teams have playoff expectations placed on them.

To be division winners the Miami Dolphins will need to be 4-2 minimum in the six division games. More likely than not a record of 3-1 in games versus the Bills and Patriots would be necessary as well. This will be tested early in the season as their first two games are with New England and Buffalo.

These rivalry games will be competitive and a handful of key plays need to be made to seal the wins. Last year in a tight opener vs the Patriots the defense failed to stop Cam Newton and the Patriots run game. The Dolphins have the tools to do so this time around and score points to put New England away. As they did in the second meeting last year.

The first Bills game was completive but the Dolphins failed to contain the big pass plays from Josh Allen to his receivers. Part of this was an injured secondary that improved as the season went on. A slow start to the season this year will likely lead to the Dolphins failing to win the division again. A fast start and improved play is expected and will be key to winning the 2021 division crown.

After one game of 2021 preseason, the national narrative on Tua has piggybacked on their 2020 takes. In the preseason opener, Tagovailoa finished with a stat line of 8-11, 99 yards, and one interception. Tua played in three possessions in the first quarter and got the Dolphins inside the red zone twice on his final two drives. After having a full offseason knowledge of the playbook I saw an improved Tua in limited action. For those who didn’t watch the game and only saw the highlights you likely saw the big reception to Gesicki for 50 yards and the interception that drew large criticism. Yes, the interception was a poor decision. Whenever you throw a bit off rhythm late over the middle in the NFL bad things happen. What would the narrative be if that pass was completed for a touchdown?

What you didn’t see shown in all those highlights was a three and out to start the game, due to a dropped first down on a good corner route ball thrown by Tua that should’ve extended the drive. On the next two drives, Tua showed confidence, aggressive throws, and a handle on the playbook. These are all things he lacked in his rookie season. Tua has now had a full offseason, shown health from the hip injury, and an improved arsenal of weapons.

The Dolphins focused on making improvements around Tua and giving him weapons. Another reason I think Tua’s game is improved enough to win the division is that not all the offensive starters played in the preseason game. Tua defendants will tell you about the lack of weapons last year and how he was throwing to fringe NFL receivers. He did a lot of that in this preseason game and his improvements were noticeable.

Tua is a Drew Brees prototype of quarterback more than the playmaking strong-arm type like Mahomes, Rodgers, and Watson to some effect. Tua’s strengths are being accurate, on rhythm, and hitting receivers in stride allowing them to make the plays with their athleticism. He is not going to throw passes that travel 60 plus yards in the air downfield and cross body. The offense is built around Tua and it has the ability to score points as well as move down the field efficiently and often. Tua is the focus and key for the Dolphins offensive success and a division title.

On the other side of the ball, a huge part of the defense has officially been returned. After requesting a trade last month, All-Pro CB Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins came to an agreement on a restructured contract. Howard is coming off the best season in his career thus far and although 10 interceptions is hard to replicate I expect another strong season from X-man. The key will be health. Since coming into the league in 2016 he has 22 interceptions, the second-most in that span. He trails Marcus Peters by one despite playing 19 fewer games in that span. He has missed many games due to knee and ankle injuries.

With Howard, the Dolphins secondary is set up to be one of the best across the NFL. Playing opposite Howard is Byron Jones, who is a top 15 corner in his own right and could be a top 10 layer at his position. Along with the two highly regarded outside corners is a talented slot corner in Justin Coleman who is making his dolphin debut this year, upcoming player Noah Igbinoghene, rookie Jevon Holland, veterans Eric Rowe, Jason McCourty, and fellow youngsters in Nik Needham and Brandon Jones. The backend of the Dolphins defense is solid.

The third focus for the Dolphins winning the division is line play on both sides of the ball. The offensive line is the bigger focus. The preseason game versus the Bears didn’t show improvement on the offensive line. In fact, it prompted a trade for another offensive lineman. The Dolphins traded for Greg Little to seek another quality player. The offensive line struggled to protect Tua and open up running lanes consistently last year. Without an offensive line, it doesn’t matter what skill players you have. Look at the Chiefs superbowl performance. I don’t expect the offensive line to be one of the worst in the league but a slight improvement in all the young players will be a huge dividend. How much they’ve learned and improved needs to be seen.  

On defense, the line needs to create pressure and get to the quarterback more consistently. With the good coverage if the pressure gets home early and often the Dolphins defense will have a lot of turnovers and spend limited time on the field. First-round pick Jaelen Phillips was brought in to help with this area of concern.

The Dolphins return to a division title is in sight. A lot of the load falls on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. I believe Tua’s improvement from year one will surprise a lot of people and the addition of playmakers will help this offense a lot. With a strong defense and potent offense, the Dolphins have the capability of winning 12 games. The first two will be the tone setters and the pivotal ones to earn the title of AFC East Champ.

Predicting the Dolphins Record for 2021

What will be the Miami Dolphins record next season?

By: Cody Molla

Believe it or not, the NFL season is under two months away from the kickoff of its “Biggest Season Ever”. This is the motto the NFL is marketing as we approach the 2021 season that is newly expanded to 17 games this year. This expansion follows the NFL expanding the playoff field last season to seven teams per conference. As a result of the playoff expansion for the first time in the Wild Card era a team finished with 10 wins and was in eighth place in their conference. That team was the Miami Dolphins.

Surprising the league and fans all around the Miami Dolphins under then second-year head coach, Brian Flores and a two-quarterback system fell a game short of the playoffs last season. 2020 was a major bright spot for the Miami Dolphins who have been in a rebuild. They found something with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa despite his benchings down the stretch. Myles Gaskin emerged as a serviceable back for the offense along with emerging pass catchers in Mike Gesicki and the continued improvement of DeVante Parker. The strength of the team last season was the defense. Performing as a top defense all year really kept the Dolphins in games and won games with big turnovers and scores.

Heading into 2021 the Miami Dolphins needed to improve the offense. The Dolphins off-season was focused on building around Tua. They added a speedy deep threat in Will Fuller via free agency. Fuller bolsters the receiving core and adds a playmaker which they lacked last year. The Dolphins added some veterans to their offensive line in free agency as well. Adding Matt Skura who has played guard and center for the Ravens, as well as tackle DJ Fluker who played for Baltimore in 2020. Other offensive free agents include running back Malcolm Brown for depth and Jacoby Brissett who is a seasoned veteran backup quarterback. Losing Fitzpatrick Brissett is a solid addition. He has shown the ability to win games when given the opportunity. He also will have familiarity with the coaching staff from his early days in New England.

The offensive additions continued in the NFL Draft. With the sixth overall pick, Miami reunited former Crimson Tide teammate of Tua with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Waddle missed most of his last season at Bama after suffering an ankle injury. Over his college career, he caught 106 passes for 1999 yards and 17 touchdowns. Waddle is an explosive impact player. He has sub 4.4 40 speed. He can play inside and outside, his hands and physicality allow him to win 50-50 balls even at 5’10 180 pounds.

The Dolphins also used one of their early-round picks on a tackle. Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame is better in the run game than pass protection but will likely see reps throughout his rookie season. The Dolphins also drafted a tackle in the seventh round in Larnel Coleman. Coleman is going to need to be coached up but will likely spend a majority of his rookie year developing.

Other skill players drafted include TE Hunter Long. Mike Gesicki broke out last year but the Dolphins added another offensive threat at the tight end position. The Dolphins also addressed the running back position with Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Doaks is a big back, bruiser running style from Cincinnati. Doaks also showed some good things in pass protection last year as Cincinnati was one of the better group of five schools last year.

The changes in offensive coaching will help this offense improve as well. Chan Gailey is no longer the OC and instead, there will be a tandem at OC between George Godsey and Eric Studesville. Both have much NFL coaching experience and will look to excel in new roles. Dolphins also have a new QB coach in Charlie Frye. Frye has a good connection with Tua and was his coach and mentor back when Tua attended the Elite 11 Quarterback camp. These moves will help Tua and the Dolphins offensive development as a whole.

It’s no secret the offensive success hinges on the quarterback. There are big expectations for Tua this year going into his second year. He won his first three starts in the NFL and finished his first year 6-3 overall. As a Dolphins fan, it was clear the play calls were basic when he was in the game last year. Tua explains why here, in this piece from Adam Beasley, Podcast: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s candid comments | Miami Herald. Tua has been healthy throughout this offseason and will be able to fully develop his game and knowledge of the offense. This work is already showing as he has been excellent throughout the first week of training camp.

For all the improvement the Dolphins made on offense the defense needs to match their production last year. It may look gloomy on the outside right now for that as the Dolphins star CB Xavien Howard has publically expressed demanding a trade. Howard pulled down 10 interceptions last year, covered the best receiver on opposing offenses, and was named a First Team All Pro last season. That is a massive piece to the Dolphins defense. If Howard is no longer a Dolphin Miami will have Byron Jones and Noah Igbinoghene as the starting CBs.

Igbinoghene struggled as a rookie last season in limited action. However, he has elite speed and size. He has developed well going into his second year and will be needed with or without Howard this season. Noah will have a key role in returning the Dolphins to a top defense. Still, in transition from a receiver and good athlete to a true corner, this year is a big step in his development. He is potentially playing behind one of the top corner duos in the league and will need to play the slot. The Slot corner position was also addressed in free agency with former Seahawk Justin Coleman.

The Dolphins identity in 2020 was on defense. They finished as the sixth best scoring defense despite giving up 56 in the final week of the season. The Dolphins standout defensive play started in the secondary. Howard, new addition Byron Jones played CB 2, and veterans Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, and rookie Brandon Jones contributed with playmaking in the secondary. The linebackers played the run very well with Elandon Roberts playing inside with Jerome Baker. Baker struggled at times in coverage and covering gaps in the run but it was passable play. The edge rushers didn’t get home at an elite rate but when they did convert their pressures into sacks turnovers were created. The combination of Van Ginkel, Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson forced nine fumbles on 25 sacks. The other key defensive stat was Miami was the best third-down team on defense allowing just over 31% conversions.

Miami spent two top picks on the defense. They used their own first round pick on edge rusher Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is a disruptive, explosive player from the University of Miami. Phillips gave up football in 2018 but he returned to “The U” and rebuilt himself. He has a high motor and the Dolphins need his pass rush and disruptiveness to succeed again.

The other high pick on the defensive side of the ball is safety Jevon Holland from the University of Oregon. Holland will replace McCain likely who was released. Holland plays aggressive and attacks. His versatility is also a plus and something Flores likes in his defense. Holland can play in the box and play the run as well as contest catches and cover.

The Dolphins also traded Shaq Lawson and in return received Bernardrick McKinney. McKinney missed a lot of last season with a shoulder injury but has proven his ability to play inside linebacker as a pro bowler in 2018. McKinney shores up the inside linebacker position and his versatility will replace the loss of Van Noy and Lawson.

If Miami can keep up the solid third-down defense, limit the big plays which they were among the league’s worst in 2020, and increase the pressure on quarterbacks the league’s best defense is attainable. This all starts with creating pressure. Wilkins and Davis on the interior line played well. Davis played the run well but didn’t create many pressures. Wilkins was the opposite, creating pressure but lacking in-run defense. A better balance and consistency from these two will anchor the defense.

Another key defender will be rookie Jaelen Phillips. The pass rush is the key to keeping this defense strong. They can cover! The coverage will get even better as the pass rush improves and the secondary can get more turnovers on rushed passes and attack the ball if they are covering for three to four seconds rather than five to six per play.

One of the most improved defenses in 2020 offers a lot of room for improvement in 2021 and will play a monster role in getting the Dolphins to the post season in 2021.

Dolphin’s fans are ready to get over the hump and end the playoff win drought that’s currently existed since the 2000 NFL season. Since the 2000 Wildcard round win the Dolphins have lost four straight playoff games. The next round in 2000, and loses in wildcard weekend in 2001, 2008, and 2016. With some bias, the drought ends this year.

Taking a look at the schedule the Dolphins opponents have a combined record of 128-144 in 2020. This .471 winning percentage is tied for the fifth lowest. This schedule is based on playing a second place schedule and having matchups with the NFC South. I am not a big fan of predicting records solely on last year’s opponent’s records as a lot of things change in the NFL. Players return from injury and new injuries arrive, Players move teams, coaches, and schemes also change.

Looking at the schedule, 2021 Miami Dolphins Schedule | FBSchedules.com the Dolphins will face a few playoff contenders early and the schedule eases up as we approach December. For the second straight year the Dolphins first two games are identical.

Opening at New England versus division rival Patriots and following that with a home game vs another division rival in the Buffalo Bills. These two games will be very critical. The Patriots are going to be improved from a down year last season. Cam Newton returns at quarterback and the Patriots return players on defense who missed last year via opt-out. The Buffalo Bills swept the Dolphins last season and established themselves as Super Bowl contenders with Josh Allen’s development. The Bills are also favored to win the AFC East. A 0-2 start would not be ideal but that is what happened last year. The loss to the Patriots is one that left them short of the playoffs. There is no need to add motivation to a week one game vs a division rival but that may be an added point by Coach Flores. I see the Dolphins starting 1-0. The next game vs Buffalo will be a tough game. The Dolphins failed to play competitively last year vs the Bills but fall short in a competitive Week 2 game.

The next stretch of games starts at the Las Vegas Raiders the teams matched up for a league-best game last season in which Miami won miraculously. Followed by the Colts, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Falcons. At this point, the Dolphins will be 4-3. As a fan, I’d like to say 5-2 but I think a loss to the Bucs and Colts is possible.

The next game will close out the series with the Bills. This one will be in Buffalo on Halloween. The Bills Mafia will be rocking and I think another pivotal game here which the Bills win.

From Buffalo, the next five games leading to the bye are home vs Houston, home on TNF vs the Ravens, at the Jets, and two home games vs Carolina and the Giants. A 5-0 stretch here fuels the playoff push and puts the Dolphins at 9-4 heading into the bye.

Following the bye, the Dolphins win at home vs the Jets, lose a Monday night game in New Orleans, losing a tough game vs the Titans, and close out the season with a win at home against New England. This puts the Dolphins at 11-6 and good enough for a wildcard spot in the AFC.

As mentioned before Tua and company end the playoff win drought with a first weekend win and then lose in the divisional round.

This would be bitter-sweet as a fan. I feel the Dolphins do have the potential and capability to make it to a conference championship. I believe Tua can spread the ball around to playmakers, hit the deep pass consistently, and take care of the ball exceptionally well. The defense with or without Howard is good enough to create turnovers, generate more pressure than last season, and can improve on their marks from last year. The NFL season is as unpredictable as any sport. I think the Dolphins window of wins ranges between 9-12. Only time will tell. But I feel confident the Dolphins improve on their 2020 record and win 11 games and a playoff game this season! FinsUP!

Best Trade Destinations for Dolphins CB Xavien Howard

Where will Dolphins CB Xavien Howard be traded?

By: Reese Nasser

Cornerback Xavien Howard’s time with the Miami Dolphins is coming to an end. The former second-round pick is looking for a restructured contract and the Dolphins don’t seem willing to make it happen. 

Howard has proven to be one of the most elite cornerbacks in the NFL. His 2020 season was one of the best seasons for a corner in recent years. 

Howard’s presence would help improve any secondary in the NFL. He is a proven lockdown corner that teams are forced to avoid. In 2020, he was targeted 90 times. On those 90 targets, he came away with 10 interceptions and 20 passes defended. 

After signing a new deal in May of 2019, Howard became one of the league’s highest-paid corners. He is just now entering the second year of that extension. While Howard’s contract overall is one of the largest at his position, his annual pay falls right near the middle of the pack. Howard is due $12.1 million in 2021, which would make him the 11th highest paid corner this upcoming season. Howard believes he is worth more than that and wants a new deal. After also locking up cornerback Byron Jones, the Dolphins will have a hard time doing this. 

This is where the possibility of trade comes into play. If the Dolphins can’t figures out a way to make Howard happy, he won’t report to the team. Both sides seem intent on not budging. There are a few teams that could make the play to go after Howard if the Dolphins and he do seem to part ways. Let’s take a look at the possible landing spots for one of the league’s best corners. 

New Orleans Saints

A cornerback group of Xavien Howard, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson, and CJ Gardner-Johnson could be too much for the Saints to pass on. The secondary group has had its struggles and Howard would add much-needed depth. 

With both him and Lattimore on each side of the field, they could keep up with nearly any receiving duo in the NFL. Offenses would be forced to go after one of them, and that would be a tough task to deal with. 

A player of Howard’s level could be exactly what this defense needs. If this team hopes to stay competitive, especially in a division with a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have one of the league’s best receiving groups.  

The Saints future is very much in the air. They have questions on the offensive side of the ball and there is still no sign on who will be the QB1. But an elite defense can take a team far, even if they have an offense that struggles. New Orleans could create something special if they add a player like Howard.

Arizona Cardinals 

The Arizona Cardinals could be a much more intriguing landing spot for Howard. After losing Patrick Peterson to free agency, Arizona is missing a true lockdown corner. Howard could be that CB1 that every team looks for. 

Arizona added Malcolm Butler in free agency but outside of Butler, the group is somewhat unproven. Another proven veteran could be necessary to keep this group in games.

2019 second-round pick is currently the corner opposite of Butler. He struggled throughout last season, allowing 57 receptions on 82 targets.

Howard in this secondary would help handle the issue of secondary play. It would also allow Murphy to fall back into more of a relief role where he can step in when necessary. 

The Cardinals have put together a strong defense, with playmakers all over that side of the ball. Howard could prove to be the last piece needed to put it all together for Arizona. 

Los Angeles Chargers 

The Los Angeles Chargers could be a dark horse candidate to sign Howard. The Chargers biggest defensive weakness could arguably be their secondary group. Neither starter from last season performed at a high level. 

Howard would come to this team and be an instant upgrade. His ability to hold down an entire portion of the field is something that the Chargers have not had in their secondary. 

After a strong performance last year from the team as a whole, the Chargers could be putting together something special. But without an elite secondary, this team could not live up to their true potential. Howard could be what puts them over the edge.  

A secondary consisting of both Howard and safety Derwin James would be something that opposing offenses would have to be on the lookout for. 

Early Expectations For The Miami Dolphins WRs in 2021

By: Cody Molla (Twitter: @Cmolla1)

The Miami Dolphins are set to be competitive in 2021 after a 10-6 season last year, an offseason focused on setting up young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for success and retaining the core of a top defense in the NFL last year. The success of the Dolphins really will depend on the growth in Tua from his rookie year to now. A big reason that a giant step for the Dolphins can be made is the weapons are in place for Tua. Even though Tua had a 6-3 record last year his numbers were not great and the personnel on the field was sub-par by NFL standards. With the addition of Fuller and Waddle to the receiving corps and Hunter Long as a threat, the weapons at Tuas disposal are no longer an excuse.

Who are these weapons? As it is early in the offseason process the Dolphins receiving room is very crowded at the moment. DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V, and Jaylen Waddle are the only true guarantees to be on the final 53 man roster. NFL teams normally carry six wide receivers on the final 53. This leaves Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr., Jakeem Grant, Malcolm Perry, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Robert Foster, and Mack Hollins as the top candidates for the final three wide receiver spots. There is a likelihood more than three make it due to special teams roles and the versatility of Bowden and Perry to play all offensive skill positions.

The Dolphins have a depth at the position and will wait as long as possible to make cuts trades and decisions with this group. Of course, injuries will happen and this will make decisions a bit easier but these aren’t just camp bodies and these veterans know what it takes and means to be on the roster come opening day.

Given perfect health, my picks for the six guys that will be on the active roster for the majority of the season are Parker, Fuller V, Waddle, Williams, Bowden Jr., and Foster.

Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson were both part of the 2019 Dolphins and opted out in 2020. Wilson made plays in 2019 before injuring his hip. Early reports say Wilson is back in good health and looking like a speedy guy who can make guys miss in space. However, the Dolphins save $2.9 million if he is cut and $3.9 million if traded. Hurns enjoyed a hometown return in 2019 however the Dolphins have better options moving into 2021 and will also save just over a million with his departure. Jakeem Grant has been a pro bowl returner and brings excellent speed however his unreliable hands and inconsistent offensive play make him a cut candidate. Dolphins save $4 million trading or cutting Jakeem. Speed needy teams will surely be in the market for Grant. Hollins is also a causality of the talented receiver room after keeping the Fins season alive late in 2020 with heroic catches.

Malcolm Perry’s versatility allows him to make the roster but I believe he will split his time with the running back group. He surely will play both spots and if not on the 53 man roster is a practice squad candidate.

Tuas sophomore season is poised for a breakout. I believe Tua will throw for just over 4000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns. 12 quarterbacks threw for over 4000 yards in the NFL last year. Tua was drafted to be a top quarterback and being amongst the top in passing yards is not out of reality. Tua racked up 1800 yards in nine starts last year. As we know he wasn’t in the entire game for those starts. With 17 games on the NFL schedule, we will see Tua eclipse the 4000-yard mark.

The leading receiver for the Miami Dolphins will be DeVante Parker. Parker is entering his seventh NFL season. He broke out in 2019 with 72 catches, 1202 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Last year he caught 63 passes for 793 yards and four touchdowns. “Unc” as he is known, has the ability to be the main option in an offense. At 6’3 Parker can jump and win contested 50/50 passes. He is a crafty route runner who can use his frame to get inside on slants and excel on the mid-level routes. Parkers biggest issue in his career has been health. A plethora of lower-body injuries have forced him to play hurt and significantly hurt his production and miss games entirely. When Parker is fully healthy, he is tough to cover and can put up big numbers!

As a Dolphins fan when watching the game it’s easy to tell when he’s healthy and when he is hurt. A prime example of what healthy Parker can do is the final regular season game of 2019. A matchup versus the New England Patriots pit Parker with 2019 Defensive Player of the year Stephon Gilmore. Parker torched Gilmore that game and posted eight catches for 137 yards on 11 targets.

With Tua last year the chemistry wasn’t quite there. A whole offseason of work and preparation will help this connection. More weapons in the offense takes less focus off Parker and will give him more one on one matchups in which he excels. I think Parker will eclipse the 1000 yard mark for the second time in his career and finish with 7 touchdowns.

An entirely healthy season for Parker is unlikely. He played through injuries for the first time last year and I expect he will play in 15 games this year. Parker will catch 83 passes for 1,100 and 7 touchdowns.

In terms of fantasy football, Parker will be a solid number two receiver who can be had at a decent value. Many people will likely pass on him thinking Fuller V and Waddle will be the flashier picks. Parker also somewhat burned fantasy players last year after his big year so recency bias will be a factor as well.

The new free agent splash for the Miami Dolphins is Will Fuller V. The Dolphins signed Fuller to a one year $10.6 million contract. Fuller was a first round pick back in 2016. Spent his first five NFL seasons with the Houston Texans.

Fuller is coming off a career year in 2020. Before being suspended for PEDs Fuller totaled 53 catches, 879 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Playing only in 11 games Fuller tallied career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns. Fuller was handed a six game suspension. It will carry over into 2021 for the opening week.

Fuller is a big play threat with big time speed. The knock on Fuller is injuries. Never having played a full seasons schedule in his career he signed this contract looking to prove 2020 wasn’t a fluke. He wants to prove his health and production to the rest of the NFL.

Fuller can truly stretch the field as he had the sixth-best yards per reception last year at 16.6. Until last year Fuller played alongside one of the NFL’s best receivers in De’Andre Hopkins. Sans Hopkins, Fuller proved he can be a lead option in the passing game and produce. Combined with Parker, Fuller will see one on one options and be open for homerun plays.

Many people have questioned Tua’s ability to throw the deep ball. This article by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald breaks down some of those questions. Some things to highlight are that Tua was hurt by the highest percentage of deep ball drops across the league. I always think of the Jakeem Grant drop of a 90 yard touchdown vs the Bengals.

Barry also points out the Dolphins inability to create separation which was the worst in the NFL as well. The addition of speed with Fuller and Waddle will allow Tua to hit on more deep throws, which he was successful with at Alabama. The success on throws at Alabama can be credited to the skill of players being among the best in the country but Tua was able to be accurate which he was also in his NFL rookie year.

With Fullers one game suspension he is set to play 16 games. I don’t think he will be fully healthy for all of them. I think Fuller will improve his career numbers but by a slim margin. Fuller playing 14-15 games will catch 80 passes for 900 yards and 6 touchdowns. Fuller and Parker will be a solid duo and complementary to one another. Fuller stretches the field while Parker takes up the intermediate.

The other big addition to this Dolphins offense is top pick in 2021, Jaylen Waddle. Waddle is another playmaker with elite speed. Scouts have given the Tyreek Hill comp. Others have linked him to Tyler Lockett. Both productive speedy playmakers in the NFL.

Waddle is set to see lots of snaps as a rookie. He can play inside and outside. Despite missing a lot of his final collegiate season due to injury Waddle was selected sixth overall. Waddle showed his elite speed and playmaking ability over his career at Alabama.

Waddle will have familiarity with his quarterback as both were Crimson Tide contributors in 2019. This familiarity is sure to allow for success and has expectations for Waddle immediately in his NFL career. In a trio with Fuller and Parker, Waddle if left as an afterthought will cause problems for defenses.

Waddle’s ability is legit. He could ultimately be the most talented receiver on the roster with his ability to score from anywhere on the field, outrun the defense, play physical and play make. Waddle comes from a group of receivers including Jeudy, Ruggs, and Smith from Alabama. Some think he is the fastest out of all of them. The point is the talent is true and the upside is very intriguing.

I think Waddle will be used in a variety of roles his rookie year including receiver, return man, and wildcat option. In terms of receiving numbers, I see 700 yards on 60 catches and four touchdowns for Waddle in his rookie year. With health a concern for Parker and Fuller Waddle could see a lot more playing time and feature as the main pass catcher. I think Waddle will have a slow start to the season but be a valuable option from the midseason point on.

In terms of fantasy football, Waddle is a flex and wide receiver three until proven otherwise for redraft leagues. If Waddle does have the slow start don’t panic if you drafted him. If you didn’t draft him and someone is antsy to move him, acquire him if you need help and he could be a difference maker. In dynasty leagues, if you have Waddle you are holding all the way through this rookie season and hoping he turns into a Tyreek Hill.

The fourth receiver for the Dolphins will be Preston Williams. I love Preston Williams as a fan. The third year receiver stands at 6’5 218 lbs. He hasn’t played past week 8 in his short career due to injuries. Theme for Dolphins receivers. But, Preston has the ability to make plays and produce in his role. Williams biggest concern outside of health is consistency catching the ball. Williams easily could have a handful more touchdowns to his career numbers but has just dropped passes. His athleticism coming into 2021 following his injuries has yet to be seen but Williams is a Brandon Marshall type of player.

Getting injured on a touchdown grab versus the Cardinals last year ended Williams season. 2020 saw Preston average 16 yards per catch with totals of 18 catches, 288 yards, and four touchdowns. The lack of ability at the receiver position put Williams as the wide receiver two heading into 2020. Before getting hurt he showed the most chemistry with Tua. He will likely serve as a reserve to an outside receiver position moving forward.

This means a season high in snap count Week 1 if healthy due to Fullers suspension. As a primary substitute for the outside Williams should catch 40 balls for 450 yards and 3 touchdowns. Preston could see a few goal line fades given his size. But he needs to show he can catch the ball much more consistently to earn snaps in this offense. The depth of the position is greater and moving into his third year will need to bring that chemistry he had with Tua from 2020 to a higher level to see a starter’s role.

The fifth receiver that will contribute to the offense is Lynn Bowden Jr. Bowden a former college quarterback out of necessity at the University of Kentucky showed some juice in his rookie year with the Miami Dolphins. Drafted 80th overall in 2020 by the Raiders, Bowden was traded to Miami where he led the team in receiving for a few games down the stretch.

Bowden can make guys miss and can play all over the field. He had 28 catches for 211 yards in 2020. He caught over five passes in three of the final four games last season including a team high 82 yards versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14, where the Dolphins lost by six.

Bowden is likely to be a gadget player who is used in the slot and wildcat on offense. His production will be limited but it will be slightly greater than his rookie year. Not sure if it all comes in the receiving game but he should catch 25 passes for 250 yards or so. I expect more touches to come via reverses and sweeps. Maybe he converts some touch passes for big gains or even scores. Bowden shouldn’t be a fantasy option unless injuries pile up and he is needed like last season.

The final receiver on the roster is a sleeper pick to make the roster. Robert Foster will be more of a special teams player than an offensive choice. Foster has produced as a receiver in the NFL though. In his rookie season in 2018, he caught 27 passes for 541 yards and three touchdowns. With a yards per catch of 20 yards, Foster was able to use his 4.1 speed to cash in on big plays. Since then Foster has just five catches for over 100 yards.

The reason he makes the team is his speed and his Alabama connection. Foster was a senior at Alabama during Tuas freshman year. Foster was not a feature receiver at ‘Bama and often worked with the second team offense. Do you know who else worked with the second team offense? Tua! Splitting time with Hurts, Tua threw balls to Foster and that connection will pay off as Foster gets the final receiver spot for 2021. Minimal production from Foster but he could catch a handful of passes and see some deep ball targets with his speed.

The Dolphins have significantly improved the receiving options. We didn’t include the tight ends in this piece but it should be noted Gesicki will see a lot of targets and yards along with Hunter Long. Both are big pass catchers who can mismatch with linebackers and win underneath as the speed takes the top off the defense.

Expect Parker, Fuller V, and Waddle to see the bulk of passes and have very good seasons as Tua eclipses 4000 yards and completes over 350 passes. These three guys should be fantasy football options every week when healthy. If these guys have injuries the secondary receivers could be in line for spot starts as flex players and produce. We’ve seen Tua have success with Bowden and Williams in limited options.  

A full off season, a greater understanding of the playbook, and momentum from 2020 with no question of relief from Fitzpatrick sets Tua and the Dolphins offense up to become a successful passing attack and one to watch heading into 2021.

How the Dolphins can get the Top Seed in the AFC

By: Cody Molla (Twitter: @cmolla1)

Believe it or not, the NFL regular season is 15 weeks away. There is still a lot of roster movement to be expected but the key players are likely on their 2021 teams. With the draft behind us and the schedule released many have tossed their hat into the ring on upcoming predictions. As we all know “Any Given Sunday” is real and predicting the NFL season is chaos. Look back at the 2020 season when the Jaguars won the opening week of the season vs the Colts as proof.

One of the 2020 breakout teams was the Miami Dolphins. Could they emerge as a top AFC contender this year? Under Brian Flores in his second year, the Dolphins improved greatly from 5-11 to 10-6 and barely missing the playoffs. Many will remember the season for the QB swapping in game of then rookie Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ryan Fitzpatrick would close out games late in the season and bring the Dolphins back in deficits and or close games out offensively. The game that sticks out the most is Week 16, 26-25 win against the Raiders where Fitzpatrick threw up a prayer to Mack Hollins while getting his facemask pulled. Patrick Mahomes called it “the greatest no look pass of all time”.

The Dolphins started the season 1-3 and brought Tua in to start after six games where he was a year removed of a career threatening hip injury and saw limited work in OTAs and the offseason due to injury and Covid. Flores showed he can lead the team and behind solid defensive play and the Dolphins found themselves on the door of the playoffs. The Dolphins made improvements to the offense this offseason and kept a strong core on defense.

This is a strong foundation moving into 2021. The Miami Dolphins will look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and be a contender in the AFC. Could they even earn a one seed heading into the NFL playoffs? Most sportsbooks currently have the Dolphins from +1400 to +1600 to win the AFC. Which is currently tied with the Patriots for the fifth best odds. For comparison, the AFC favorites are the Chiefs around +250 and the AFC East rival Bills at +600. The oddsmakers do see the Fins as potential dark horse candidates to top the AFC.

Why should you bet the Dolphins to do so? They have a leader in Brian Flores. Flores won four super bowls in his time with New England. Combined with Chris Grier, the GM the Dolphins have built a roster in a “Patriots style”. Meaning players that can play multiple positions defensively. Guys that play their role. Not too flashy and guys that play football.

The changes in offensive coaching will help this offense improve as well. Chan Gailey is no longer the OC and instead, there will be a tandem at OC between George Godsey and Eric Studesville. Both have much NFL coaching experience and will look to excel in new roles. Dolphins also have a new QB coach in Charlie Frye. Frye has a good connection with Tua and was his coach and mentor back when Tua attended the Elite 11 Quarterback camp. These moves will help Tua and the Dolphins offensive development as a whole.

It’s no secret the offensive success hinges on the quarterback. There are expectations for Tua this year going into his second year. He won his first three starts in the NFL and finished his first year 6-3 overall. As mentioned before that was with little prep preseason and a lack of knowledge of the playbook. Last week in OTAs, Tua mentioned the play calling last year and the situation from the huddle to the line of scrimmage pre play last year. As a Dolphins fan, it was clear the play calls were basic when he was in the game. Tua explains why here, in this piece from Adam Beasley.

The Dolphins off season was focused on building around Tua. The added a speedy deep threat in Will Fuller via free agency. Fuller bolsters the receiving core and adds a playmaker which they lacked last year. The Dolphins added some veterans to their offensive line in free agency as well. Adding Matt Skura who has played guard and center for the Ravens, as well as tackle DJ Fluker who played for Baltimore in 2020. Other offensive free agents include running back Malcolm Brown for depth and Jacoby Brissett who is a seasoned veteran backup quarterback. Losing Fitzpatrick Brissett is a solid addition. He has shown the ability to win games when given the opportunity. He also will have familiarity with the coaching staff from his early days in New England.

The offensive additions continued in the NFL Draft. With the sixth overall pick, Miami reunited former Crimson Tide teammate of Tua with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Waddle missed most of his last season at Bama after suffering an ankle injury. Over his college career, he caught 106 passes for 1999 yards and 17 touchdowns. Waddle is an explosive impact player. He has sub 4.4 40 speed. He can play inside and outside, his hands and physicality allow him to win 50-50 balls even at 5’10 180 pounds.

The Dolphins also used one of their early round picks on a tackle. Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame is better in the run game than pass protection but will likely see reps throughout his rookie season. The Dolphins also drafted a tackle in the seventh round in Larnel Coleman. Coleman is going to need to be coached up but will likely spend a majority of his rookie year developing.

Other skill players drafted include TE Hunter Long. Mike Gesicki brokeout last year but the Dolphins added another offensive threat at the tight end position. I told you “Patriots like roster” We all know the dominance of Gronkowski and Hernandez together could we see a new TE duo run the AFC? The Dolphins finally addressed the running back position with Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Doaks is a big back, bruiser running style from Cincinnati. Doaks also showed some good things in pass protection last year as Cincinnati was one of the better group of five schools last year.

What is returning offensively for the Dolphins? The offensive line returns its young core which played average at best in their best games and below average in a lot of spots. They were inconsistent but that is expected from a lot of rookies who got valuable experience with Fitzpatrick and from a double digit win season. The three rookies in 2020 Hunt, Jackson, and Kindley all flashed. They will be counted upon this year in combination with Skura as the main core upfront. The line play should improve from last season and needs to be average at worst to win the top seed in the AFC.

We know Tua is playing quarterback when healthy. Tua will protect the ball and deliver it with accuracy. To be the best in the AFC that’s going to require Tua to connect on deep passes, continue to use his mobility to extend plays and convert third downs and just bring confidence to the offense each play.

2020 finished with Myles Gaskin as the lead back in the Dolphins offense. That role is still his as we move into 2021. Gaskin beat out veterans early last year and earned his role. In 10 games last year Gaskin averaged 97 yards from scrimmage. He missed time with a knee issue and Covid. When Gaskin was out Salvon Ahmed stepped up in his role. Ahmed was efficient in his first two games and earned touches throughout the close of the season. Ahmed even eclipsed the 100-yard rush mark to be the first Dolphin to do so in two years in a win versus the Patriots last year.  

The bottom line is the Dolphins see the running back position by committee. Again taking a Patriots approach in using guys in the best role. The additions of Doaks and Brown will likely see the goal line work as bigger backs. The duo of Gaskin and Ahmed will move the ball between the 20s and they can each catch the ball and make guys miss in space. Gaskin will lead the committee and should see the bulk of the work overall. These guys don’t stand out as stars but they are capable of getting the job done. They proved it in 2020.

DeVante Parker broke out in 2019. 2020 was a bit disappointing for Parker who struggled with injuries in the lower extremities as always. Parker has the potential to be a game changer when healthy. Over his career, he’s produced greatly when healthy. He beat 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Gilmore consistently when healthy. He finished 2020 with 63 catches and nearly 800 yards. His dip in production is also attributed to Tua. Tua didn’t give him the 50-50 balls Fitzpatrick did. Tua also wasn’t aggressive in targeting down the field where Parker ran many of his routes. The familiarity with the playbook and one another will improve Parkers production this year. Paired with Fuller, Waddle, and Gesicki the defense can’t solely focus on DVP. Parker is primed for his best year as a pro if healthy.

Mike Gesicki will be the other focus player as a pass catcher this season. He’s coming off a career year in which he caught 53 passes for 703 yards and six touchdowns. Gesicki is a miss match for Linebackers and safeties with his size. He’s able to box out and win the jump balls and has a massive catch radius. He consistently caught many bad passes and kept drives going. He would have much better touchdown numbers but the Dolphins used a multiple TE look in the red zone and as a unit between Gesicki, Smythe, and Shaheen they caught 11 touchdowns.

The Dolphins offense is set to produce and be better then 2020. The highlighted guys in combination with Malcolm Perry, Jakeem Grant, Lynn Bowden, and Preston Williams can be tough to defend. Perry and Bowden can play any position on offense including quarterback! They will surely get gadget plays that can strike for homeruns at any time. Grant is a speed threat who can get into space and outrun everyone as we’ve seen on special teams. Preston Williams is a sneaky fourth or fifth option on offense. Williams built up chemistry with Tua until he was injured and out for the year. If healthy Preston has the size and speed to be a Brandon Marshall type of player unfortunately inconsistent hands and injuries have plagued him.

To cap of the offense, the Dolphins have an all pro caliber kicker in Jason Sanders. Sanders was truly one of the best kickers in the league last season and it wasn’t a fluke. “$anders” was 8/9 from 50 yards or more last year and didn’t miss an extra point all year.

Moving to the defensive side of the ball the Dolphins had a top 10 defense all around last year. The Dolphins had a Defensive Player of the Year candidate at CB in Xavien Howard. The Dolphins were successful in limiting opponents scoring. They were the sixth-best scoring defense last year averaging 21.1 points allowed. This includes giving up 56 to the Bills in Week 17. The Dolphins standout defensive play started in the secondary. Howard grabbed 10 interceptions, new addition Byron Jones played CB 2, and veterans Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain and rookie Brandon Jones contributed with playmaking in the secondary. The linebackers played the run very well with Elandon Roberts playing inside with Jerome Baker.

Baker struggled at times in coverage and covering gaps in the run but it was passable play. The edge rushers didn’t get home at an elite rate but when they did convert their pressures into sacks turnovers where created. The combination of Van Ginkel, Ogbah, Van Noy, and Lawson forced nine fumbles on 25 sacks. The other key defensive stat was Miami was the best third-down team on defense allowing just over 31% conversions.

Miami spent two top picks on the defense. They used their own first round pick on edge rusher Jaelan Phillips. Phillips is a disruptive, explosive player from the University of Miami. Phillips gave up football in 2018 but he returned to “The U” and rebuilt himself. He has a high motor and the Dolphins need his pass rush and disruptiveness to succeed again.

The other high pick on the defensive side of the ball is safety Jevon Holland from the University of Oregon. Holland will replace McCain likely who was released. Holland plays aggressive and attacks. His versatility is also a plus and something Flores likes in his defense. Holland can play in the box and play the run as well as contest catches and cover.

The Dolphins also traded Shaq Lawson and in return received Bernardrick McKinney. McKinney missed a lot of last season with a shoulder injury but has proven his ability to play inside linebacker as a pro bowler in 2018. McKinney shores up the inside linebacker position and his versatility will replace the loss of Van Noy and Lawson.

If Miami can keep up the solid third down defense, limit the big plays which they were among the leagues worst in in 2020, and increase the pressure on quarterbacks the league’s best defense is attainable. This all starts with creating pressure. Wilkins and Davis on the interior line played well. Davis played the run well but didn’t create many pressures. Wilkins was the opposite, creating pressure but lacking in run defense. A better balance and consistency from these two will anchor the defense.

A player that will play a key role in returning the Dolphins to a top defense will be second year corner Noah Igbinoghene. He saw limited play as the third corner last year. He has elite speed and can play a physical in your face style of coverage but just lacked a feel for corner last year. Still, in transition from a receiver and good athlete to a true corner, this year is a big step in his development. He is playing behind one of the top corner duos in the league and will need to play the slot. The Slot corner position was also addressed in free agency with former Seahawk Justin Coleman.

Another key defender will be rookie Jaelen Phillips. The pass rush is the key to keeping this defense strong. They can cover! The coverage will get even better as the pass rush improves and the secondary can get more turnovers on rushed passes and attack the ball if they are covering for three to four seconds rather than five to six per play.

It takes more than a talented roster to win the AFC. You have to win your games. The schedule currently for the Dolphins doesn’t look greatly difficult by 2020 results. The schedule features the NFC South including defending super bowl champs and the Saints sans Drew Brees. The tough nondivision games inside the AFC will be the Ravens and Colts. For the Dolphins to get the top seed in the AFC they will have to win all those games including a 4-2 at minimum record within the division. I predict the top seed in the AFC will have to win 14 games minimum.

With good health first and foremost the top seed is achievable. A repeat performance from the defense in terms of scoring and efficiency is needed and is achievable with the additions. The key to it all is Tua and the offense. If Tua develops into the superstar quarterback we all thought pre hip injury the weapons are there to put up big numbers and rival the Bills and Chiefs success.

Realistically I don’t see the Dolphins winning the AFCs top seed. However, they will be good and they should improve on their 10 wins from last year and make the playoffs. I’m a lifelong Dolphins fan of 25 years and willing to bet I’ve watched more Dolphins football than 99.5% of the people my age. The Dolphins are close to being the best team in the AFC. If it is this year that will surprise me but not be out of reality. Betting on them is not the Ludacris bet it was barely a year ago. Flores and Grier have the team headed in the right direction. Staying healthy and “Any Given Sunday” you never know. Nonetheless, the Dolphins are poised to be a sleeper to earn the top seed heading into the 2021 playoffs.

Should the Dolphins seek out a stronger QB2?

Who will be the Dolphins QB2?

By: Reese Nasser

The Miami Dolphins have decided to go all in with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After a rocky first season with the Dolphins, which included being benched on more than one occasion, Tua is officially QB1 in Miami.  

Tua led Miami to a 6-3 record in games where he started. While much of this success came from both defense and special teams, Tua still showed flashes of potential. Tua accounted for 14 touchdowns with 6 turnovers. It is also being said that he’s also looking a little different than he did last season.

With the Dolphins going all in on Tua, there has been conversation about the backup spot. Last season Tua was replaced by longtime quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick  on more than one occasion. With Fitzpatrick no longer on the team, is there still a risk of Tua being pulled in high-pressure situations, much like he was during his rookie year? Let’s take a look at the QB2 spot for the Dolphins and if a change should be made. 

Who is the Current QB2?

The current QB2 for the Dolphins is five-year vet Jacoby Brisset. Brisset has played well during his time in the NFL. After being drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft by the New England Patriots, Brisset was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. This off-season, Brisset came to an agreement with the Miami Dolphins on a one-year deal. 

During his time in the NFL, Brisset has a mediocre record of 12-20 but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He has played well in the league and has earned a spot on an NFL roster. He has thrown 31 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions and has proven that he can play when called upon. 

Potential Other Options?

With free agency dwindling down and most high-profile quarterbacks being off the board, are there better options than Jacoby Brisset available? In short, no. 

Robert Griffin III is still available and would arguably be the only free agent that could fight for that QB2 spot. RG3 has appeared in only 14 games since the 2018 season. In those 14 games, he has accounted for only one touchdown. While still showing to be a capable player, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to try and replace Brisset with someone such as RG3 who hasn’t played as much. 

Other free agent quarterbacks such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens or former Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkley are also available. 

Mulles started eight games for the 49ers in 2020 where he had a record of 2-6. He played decently given the circumstances he was in but was not a game changer for the team.

Matt Barkley has seen far less playing time than any other quarterback mentioned to this point but has still managed to stay in the NFL since being drafted in 2013. He has a record of 2-5 and has only appeared in 19 career games.

Jacoby Brisset should be the Dolphins QB2 heading into the season. The available options aren’t on par with what Brisset can do. There would also be no point in using a draft pick to trade for someone else. As long as Tua performs to the level that he should and Brisset is ready to go if needed, there should be no issues at the QB2 spot. Plus, he already has a solid handshake game locked down. Every great team needs a great handshake guy, and its’ a plus when he’s also a quality quarterback.

Tua Tagovailoa has the most to prove in 2021

QB Tua Tagovailoa has high expectations in Dolphins offense

By: Pat Pitts

The NFL offseason brings me so much joy. It is a time where any player could be the break-out star of the season. Anyone can make the leap into that higher tier. 

In 2021, Tua Tagvalioa needs to be that player. 

Tua walked into a dream situation in Miami. He sat behind journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, learning as much as he could from the veteran. Flores names him the starter in Week 8 and almost leads the Dolphins to a playoff birth. However, even being replaced by Fitzmagic in crucial situations was not enough for a spot in the postseason. 

Tua had a decent first year as the starting QB. The stats are not glamorous, but rewatching his starts helped me realize he performed extremely well for someone coming off a serious injury and little time to prepare as a top ten draft pick. 

With that being said, there are zero excuses in 2021. 

I believe that Tua can make a significant step in the right direction. He will finally have a normal-ish offseason to fully prepare for his role. The franchise has put him in a very good position to succeed. Here is how. 

The college reunion

The Miami Dolphins drafted Tua’s former teammate, Jaylen Waddle, with the sixth pick in the NFL draft. The reconnection of the duo gives Tua the confidence the QB1 needs. He becomes more comfortable in the pocket with the established chemistry with a rookie, along with a superstar wide receiver named Devante Parker. 

Mike Gesicki is sick, too. Pun intended. 

Tua played his best season at Alabama in 2018. Waddle was a freshman. History repeats itself. 

Patience is a virtue. 

Tua sat out the first seven weeks of 2020, aside from a few late-game possessions. This time gave him more time to take note and properly prepare to be put into such an important role. 

2021 brings the tradition of mini and training camps, unlike last season. Tua has been given an ample amount of time to train physically and mentally to make that next step in his career. 

It’s time for Tua to be a sponge until September. 

You have to fail in order to succeed.

The Miami Dolphins were one game away from making their first postseason appearance since 2016. The Fitzmagic ran out at the worst possible time. 

Analysts and the social media peanut gallery criticized Tua for not living up to expectations in 2020 by missing the playoffs. His stats may not wow fans, but it is how he played that manifests hope. He made the expected rookie mistakes; however, he completed some incredible throws and scrambled for critical first downs when the game was on the line. 

2021 is a fresh start for not only the NFL, but for everyone. Tua can put last season in the rear view and keep moving forward. It is time to take the leap into superstardom. 

It’s your time, Tua. 

Could the Dolphins make a Tua Tagovailoa-Aaron Rodgers trade?

Should the Dolphins trade Tua Tagovailoa for Aaron Rodgers?

In the 2020 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers drafted quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. Flash forward to the 2021 off-season, reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers wants to be traded from the Pack. Two questions loom large for the Packers QB situation: Where will Rodgers be traded to (assuming he is)? Is Jordan Love the future signal-caller for the Packers?

I believe a team in the AFC East could answer both of those imminent questions: Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have been on the fence with the second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa as the future of the franchise. Dolphins were strongly interested in trading for the likes of Deshaun Watson and they also expressed interest in drafting a QB. The Dolphins have loaded up on firepower for the former Alabama QB, but there’s lots of hope and risk in the situation.

The Dolphins could utilize the weaponry on offense and Top 3 defense to a veteran QB’s services this time around. The AFC squad may want to consider trading for the Packers future Hall of Fame QB, who’s fed up with having musical chairs at the WR2 and WR3 spots. Rodgers would have an elite WR in DeVante Parker, one of the top deep threats in Will Fuller, and rookie Jaylen Waddle — who’s drawn comparisons to Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins also have the 14th highest cap space (approximately $13 million). If A-Rod is inclined to being a Dolphin, could the Dolphins make it happen? 

The Dolphins would need to give up A LOT for acquiring Rodgers, as any team would. Yet, if the Packers are interested in Tua on a sizable level, the Dolphins would have significantly less compensation of other non-QB means to cough up. The reported asking price in terms of draft picks is “two first-round picks and a second-round pick”. 

The Packers may not see Tua as a player worthy of his draft selection last year, nor a future Hall of Famer. Nonetheless, Tua undoubtedly has more potential than Jordan Love and the 23-year-old has very similar traits (arm strength, throwing on the arm) to Jordan Love/Aaron Rodgers, which means a smoother scheme transition. By stating the facts above, the Dolphins may likely only have to offer Tua and a first-round pick to Green Bay — assuming the interest from each QB’s talent is high. 


If the Packers were in demand for Tua, a first-round pick, AND a “second or third-round pick”, it may still be worth it from the Dolphins perspective to pull the trade-off. Rodgers will likely not play until he’s 45 like Tom Brady, but the Dolphins are heavily invested in the pieces around the QB right now. Rodgers would inevitably utilize the pieces to maximal production and label the Dolphins as Super Bowl contenders early on.

Defending the Eagles and Dolphins Trade

Who won the trade between the Eagles and Dolphins?

Jacob Keppen

No football fans, today wasn’t a scene from the great movie Draft Day. 

The Philadelphia Eagles delivered a shockwave just about a month away from the draft, completing a trade with the Miami Dolphins. While the football world was already reeling from a massive trade between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dolphins, a deal that saw the Niners give up three first round picks for third overall, the Eagles decided to get in on the fun. Philadelphia moved down six spots to 12, swapping mid round picks and gaining a first rounder next year in the process.

The football world was abuzz as a result, and a large portion of the fanbase enraged. For months the Philadelphia faithful had their hearts and minds set on getting LSU standout receiver Ja’Marr Chase or Florida weapon Kyle Pitts. It was too easy of a pick to make. The Eagles offense struggled mightily this past year. The receivers as a whole are not great, and a standout true #1 would help everyone involved. Last year’s second round pick Jalen Hurts would be able to state his claim as the franchise quarterback easier with a top target, and last year’s first round pick wide receiver Jalen Reagor would benefit greatly from another target to take the pressure off of him.

Many were puzzled and angered by the transaction, but I implore all Birds fans out there to take a deep breath. The trade while shocking at first, has a ton of ways of working out even better than just sitting at six.

First, the Eagles got a pretty good haul for just moving back six spots. They received a first round pick from the Dolphins next year, and received a 4th round pick this year in exchange for a 5th. After the Carson Wentz trade and now the Miami Dolphins trade, the Eagles have the potential for three first round picks in 2022. The 2022 NFL draft will most likely be a lot easier to get verifiable numbers with an actual combine than this year’s heavily Covid-19 impacted draft. In this year’s draft as well, the Eagles currently have the most selections with 11. If Jalen Hurts proves to be the guy, the Eagles have a plethora of picks to build around him moving forward.

Looking at this year’s draft, there’s this idea that the Eagles are out of the race for a top receiving weapon, and I don’t think that’s the case at all. It’s extremely unlikely that the top three receivers in this draft class: Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, as well as tight end/wide receiver hybrid Kyle Pitts are all off the board by pick 12.

Looking back at last year, it was considered a pretty loaded wide receiver class. The top four of the draft were insanely good. After months of fans saying “there’s no way he falls” regarding the top receivers, they all fell. Henry Ruggs was the first off the board, going 12th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders. Ceedee Lamb was near universally seen as the top wide receiver in the draft, and he fell all the way to 17.

The last time three wide receivers went in the top 11 was in 2017. The only other time in the decade that feat was nearly replicated was in 2014, when Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Eric Ebron all went in the top ten. The 12th overall pick that year? A wide receiver named Odell Beckham Jr. out of LSU, you might’ve heard of him. Great wide receivers year after year slide.

The idea that one of: Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Devonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle won’t be there for the Eagles at 12 is nearly impossible. On the off chance that history is made and all four are gone by the time Goodell names the newest Eagle, some top level talent in another position will fall and be sitting in the Eagles lap.

Wide receiver was not the Eagles only problem last year, not by a long shot. You don’t go 4-11-1, in a season so bad that the entire coaching staff was shaken up as a result, just off of bad receiver play alone. There are as many holes in this roster as a sunken battleship, and cornerback is one of the biggest. 

Please name, without googling it, who the Eagles 2nd outside cornerback is? The answer: you can’t. The cornerbacks currently on roster that aren’t named Darius Slay or Avonte Maddox are: Grayland Arnold, Michael Jacquett, Craig James, and Lavert Hill. Would you feel comfortable with one of those guys starting? 

The Giants have Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard at wide receiver. Dak Prescott has Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Ceedee Lamb to throw to. Washington has Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, and possibly could draft another receiver in a loaded class. Do you feel comfortable with any of these Eagles CB2s guarding any of those wide receivers? 

South Carolina’s lockdown corner Jaycee Horn just demolished his pro day after putting on a cornerback clinic this past year. Patrick Surtain out of Alabama is as technical of a corner as you’ll find entering the draft and tested really well. If somehow there isn’t a top level receiver, the Eagles could have a great lockdown corner in Horn or Surtain at 12. They’ll fill a massive hole at cornerback, while taking advantage of the great depth at wide receiver taking one later on.

Is this a good trade? No one knows for sure. It’s near impossible to judge a trade involving just draft picks before the players have been selected. Philadelphia is in an uproar right now with no clue what the outcome of this trade will be. Maybe the Eagles should’ve just stayed put and taken Chase or Pitts at six, but there is a very good possibility that Howie Roseman made a good move for this franchise’s future. So put down your pitchforks Philadelphia and extinguish your torches, just at least until the end of the draft. Let the process play out before passing judgement.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑