NFL Offseason Outlook: Miami Looking To Build Off A Promising 2020

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It’s been a process for the Miami Dolphins to get back to respectability in the National Football League, but of all teams in 2020, they might have taken the biggest steps forward in terms of growth and maturity.

Their head coach Brian Flores, the former New England linebacker coach, has quickly earned the respect of the fan base, the players and the front office. Many look at him as the next great mind in the NFL, though he’s just 39 years old.

The team went through ups and downs with first-round QB Tua Tagovailoa. Tua and 39-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick navigated the team to 10 regular season wins.

This team has the look of an impending winner. They just need a couple more pieces and parts, and they need to figure out the long-term quarterback situation.

Do they go for broke and make a major push for unhappy Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson? If they do, there is no doubt they will be right there with the 2020 AFC East Champion Buffalo Bills as the odds-on favorite to win the division in 2021.

If they don’t get in a bidding war for Watson, is Tagovailoa the long-term answer? Do they re-sign Fitzpatrick?

The team will have nine picks in the upcoming NFL draft, with four of the nine picks coming in the first two rounds. So they have the opportunity to add impact players, which is critical for a young team.

The Fins have never been shy about going out and paying for free agents, but that has been their downfall at times. Over the years, they have overpaid for players who have not come close to the potential the team thought they had paid for.

Miami has 13 free agents as they enter the offseason, a fairly low number compared to most teams around the league. They are also in a very good spot with their cap as they get ready for the offseason. They have a projected $25.726 million in cap space, ninth-most in the NFL.

Here’s the list of free agents for the Fins as the offseason gets rolling:

RB Matt Breida, 26
T Julie’n Davenport, 26
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 39
WR Isaiah Ford, 25
WR Mack Hollins, 28
C Ted Karras, 28
T Adam Pankey, 27
RB DeAndre Washington, 27
LB Vince Biegel, 28
S Kavon Frazier, 27
DT Davon Godchaux, 27
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, 27
P Matt Haack, 27
LB Calvin Munson, 27
CB Nik Needham, 25
CB Jamal Perry, 27
LB Elandon Roberts, 27

Offseason Outlook: While figuring out the long-term answer at quarterback is important, the team also needs to add a running back as well as another wide out or two.

Myles Gaskin started seven games last year and led the team with 584 rushing yards. However, the Dolphins could use a high impact running back who also could catch the ball out of the backfield.

As far as the receiver spot, DeVante Parker had close to 800 yards receiving, and Mike Gesicki was second on the team with 703 receiving yards. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Dolphins linked with some free agent receivers who can come in and even be the No. 1 receiver on the team. Think Allen Robinson, who had 1250 yards and six scores for the Chicago Bears a year ago and is a free agent this offseason.

Other than running back and wide out, the team will explore adding linemen on offense. On defense, they will look at adding defensive tackles, linebackers, and an edge rusher.

Inside linebacker Jerome Baker led the team with seven sacks, and outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy added six sacks.

Another good offseason for Miami should put them in position to challenge in the AFC East and the conference as a whole.

Things could take a drastic change if the club makes a move to try and get Watson out of Houston, but even if they don’t, they have the foundation in place to be a good team for a long time to come.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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