Grading the Miami Dolphins Free Agency

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Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones plays against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Miami Dolphins made a lot of major free agency signings this offseason. I based each player off of stats, achievements, salary, age, film, and injury history.  

Byron Jones 

Byron Jones signed with the Miami Dolphins on a five year $82.5 million deal with $46 million guaranteed. Jones is currently 27 years old, but he will be 28 years old on September 26th. He had the lowest number of tackles in his whole career in 2019. Jones had 46 tackles, 37 solo tackles, and nine assisted tackles.

On the positive side, he had his best season with miss tackles and coverage. In 2018 Jones missed 5.6% of his tackles, and in 2019 he missed 2.1% of his tackles. When Jones is in coverage, there is a 53% chance of a completion, which is a good percentage for a lockdown corner. Jones allowed two touchdowns in 2018 and three touchdowns in 2019. Opposing receivers average 6.2 yards per completion on Jones. He has one pro bowl in his career, which was in 2018, so he does not have many accolades, but he is on the younger side of the NFL.

Throughout most of his career, he has been injury-free, but the last offseason, he got hip surgery, which took him out for training camp and preseason. He also missed his first regular-season game last year because of an ankle injury he had been fighting off. Overall I think this is not a problem because it was his first injury and regular-season game ever missed. In the end, this was a fantastic pick up for the Dolphins. 

Grade: A-

Kyle Van Noy

Kyle Van Noy signed with the Miami Dolphins on a four year $51 million deal with $12 million guaranteed. Van Noy is currently 29 years old and in the prime of his career. He had a bit of a drop off for all of his stats, but it was because the Patriots defense was dominant last season. Van Noy had 56 combined tackles, 41 solo tackles, and 15 assisted tackles. He was a monster at getting to the quarterback last season and helped the Patriots all season as one of their top edge rushers. 

Van Noy had 6.5 sacks, and 15 quarterback hits last season. He was also a hard hitter last season, forcing three fumbles for the Patriots. In 2019 he got better at not missing tackles with only six missed tackles for 9.7% of his overall attempted tackles. Van Noy has never been to a pro bowl, but he has a lot of playoff experience since he won two Superbowls with the Patriots. 

He is going to be a leader on the Dolphins and help lead the team. He has also been very healthy the past two seasons except for an illness that forced him to miss week 13 last season. Overall, I think the Dolphins got him for a reasonable price, and he will help the defense become the dominant powerhouse they are on track to become. 

Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins Free Agency
Dec 4, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) celebrates after making a tackle during the second half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Howard

Jordan Howard had a bit of a down season after suffering a shoulder stinger against the Chicago Bears, which cost him a couple of weeks. His stats are all all-time lows for him only because of the injuries. Howard had six touchdowns, 525 rushing yards, and 52.5 yards per game. Miles Sanders started most of the season, which limited Howard when he returned to the field. The Miami Dolphins signed Howard on a two year, $9.75 million deal, and $4.74 million guaranteed. They were able to pay low money for a running back who can become a top ten back once again. 

He has had one pro bowl in his rookie season but never reached the big stage again. Howard will be the starter for the Dolphins this season and will be able to run the show. He is only 25 years old, which gives the dolphins enough time to offer him a long term deal if he does play to his potential. 

Grade: A 

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Nov 3, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (24) runs with the football against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Ogbah

The Miami Dolphins signed Emmanuel Ogbah on a two year, $15 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed. Ogbah is currently 26 years old but will be 27 years old by midseason. Ogbah is an above-average edge rusher and will be a significant help to the edge-rushing on the Dolphins. All of Ogbah’s numbers could have been higher, but he was hurt for the last six games of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. 

Despite being injured, Ogbah still had some of his best pass-rushing numbers this season with 5.5 sacks, eleven quarterback hits, and six tackles for loss. Ogbah only played ten games for the Chiefs last season and only started four. His missed tackles could use some work since he missed 13.5%, but overall he is a solid tackler. 

His main achievement is winning the Super Bowl with the Chiefs last season, which gives him some playoff experience. Overall I think they overpaid a bit for Ogbah, but he will help the Dolphins with getting to the quarterback. 

Grade: B

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KANSAS CITY, MO – OCTOBER 06: Emmanuel Ogbah #90 of the Kansas City Chiefs tackles Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Shaq Lawson

The Miami Dolphins signed Shaq Lawson on a three year, $30 million deal with a $4 million signing bonus and $20.8 million guaranteed. Lawson is currently 25 years old but will be 26 once the season begins. He is a skilled pass rusher who is good at getting to the quarterback. 

Lawson had 6.5 sacks, 18 quarterback hits, and 13 tackles for loss last season. He does not have the most tackles, but his foremost talent is pass rushing. Lawson only had 32 combined tackles, 21 solo tackles, and 11 assisted tackles last season. He fought through some hamstring and ankle injuries last season, but he is doing better now. His missed tackles percentage went from 9.1% in 2018 to 17.9% in 2019. 

He will likely start next season, but he is better off as a situational pass rusher for the Dolphins. Overall, they overpaid him because he did not start a game last season, but he is another solid pass rusher to boost the defensive line. 

Grade: C+

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Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) on the field against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Ereck Flowers

The Miami Dolphins signed Ereck Flowers to a three year, $30 million deal with a nine million dollars signing bonus and $19.95 million guaranteed. Flowers is going to be 26 years old at the start of the 2020 season. He used to play tackle until the Redskins moved him to guard, and he flourished as a guard. He only allowed two sacks and had six penalties last season. Flowers has some past injuries, with his groin, knee, and ankle that could crop up again. He was healthy last season playing 16 games for the Redskins. Overall, it was a good pick up, but a bit overpaid for his caliber of lineman. 

Grade: B

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Aug 15, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (77) prepares to block against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Fejedelem

Clayton Fejedelem signed a three year, $8.55 million, with $3 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins. Fejedelem did not have many chances last season to prove himself, so his stats do not explain the whole story. He had 15 combined tackles, 13 solo tackles, and two assisted tackles. The flip side of his tackling stats is that he had zero missed tackles last season. 

He did not start a single game last season but has never been injured. He’s 27 years old, so he is going to be around the prime of his career. He will be a back up for the Dolphins, and if he works hard, he will be a reliable rotational safety for the defense. 

Grade: C+

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Ted Karras

Ted Karras signed a one year, $4 million deal with the Miami Dolphins. He signed to a one year contract to see if he can prove himself as a valuable player to extend. Karras started his first full season with the Patriots last season. He only had two penalties and only gave up two sacks the whole season. He played 15 out of 15 games last season, missing one because of a minor knee injury in December. Karras is on the younger side of the league at 27 years old and could be a long term option at the center position. Overall he is an upgrade at center for this season and has playoff experience with the two Super Bowl wins. 

Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins Free Agency
Oct 6, 2019; Landover, MD, USA; New England Patriots center Ted Karras (75) participates in warm ups prior to the Patriots’ game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kamu Grugier-Hill

Kamu Grugier-Hill signed a one year, $3 million deal with a $2 million signing bonus with the Miami Dolphins. Grugier-Hill is one of the most underrated signings the Dolphins made this offseason. 

Before his injury, which took him out for the rest of the 2019 season, Grugier Hill was a vital part of the Eagles defense. He has a nose for the ball and can shed blocks quickly. Grugier-Hill was a significant part of the Eagles winning their Super Bowl a couple of years ago. He is only 25 years old and has more dominant years to come. Grugier-Hill ran a 4.5-second forty-yard dash and is an amazing athlete. 

He is also one of the best special teamers in the NFL. The only reason the Dolphins got him cheap was because of his injury last season. He was a captain for the Eagles, and I believe he could be a captain for the Dolphins someday as well. Overall this was a fantastic pick up for the Dolphins and a significant steal as well. 

Grade: A

Miami Dolphins Free Agency
Aug 9, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (54) in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Elandon Roberts

Elandon Roberts signed a one year, $2 million contract with Miami. Roberts will have to prove himself this season if he wants to earn another extension. Brian Flores used to be the defensive coordinator for Roberts, which explains him signing Roberts this offseason. 

Roberts is a versatile linebacker who will do whatever he can to make it onto the field. He played fullback and linebacker for the Patriots last season and even scored a touchdown on offense. Last season Roberts had 29 combined tackles, 18 solo tackles, and only had a missed tackle percentage of 3.3%. He will bring some needed linebacker depth to the Dolphins this season. Overall it was a good signing for the Dolphins and some more depth at linebacker this season.

Grade: B


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