Contrary to the strategy of the past, the Miami Dolphins have done a great job on day one of free agency by not overpaying for players. Instead, the team has gone about signing some of their own to well-deserved contracts.
At this point the Dolphins have brought back Andre Branch, John Denney and Kenny Stills while also extending the contract of Reshad Jones. All of these players have proven their worth with the Dolphins and they were able to lock these guys up with very reasonable contracts.
Stills seems like one of the best bargains so far – signing a four-year, $32 million ($20 million guaranteed) – as several thought he’d command a larger contact, similar to what DeSean Jackson received from Tampa Bay (three-years, $35 million with $20 million guaranteed).
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It’s a new day in Miami as the team’s focus on day one of free agency was to reward those who have produced as Dolphins. This is a very welcome change in theory as the team was starting to become famous for winning free agency and underperforming once the season starts.
In past seasons the team made headlines by signing big-name free agents such as Ndamukong Suh and Mike Wallace. While Wallace had a couple of decent seasons with the team and while Suh is still one of the most dominate defensive tackles in the NFL, it’s clear that the team needs to spread the spending around a little more in order to surround their main playmakers with quality talent.
Along with re-signing their own guys, the team also brought tight end Anthony Fasano back to Miami for his second stint with the Dolphins. Fasano will be a quality signing after losing Dion Sims to Chicago as Fasano is one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league and should pair nicely with recently acquired, Julius Thomas.
There were several opportunities for Miami to turn to its previous way of operating when it comes to spending on free agents. Those who were signed to massive deals that fit Miami’s team needs include Kevin Zeitler (5-year, $60M w/ Cleveland), Ronald Leary (4-year, $35M w/ Denver), and Nick Perry (5-year, $59M w/ Green Bay) to name a few.
It’s very refreshing to see a change in philosophy from the front office as the team seems to no longer be setting the market for players, but rather sticking to their price points and not overpaying for splash free agents.
It’s still early in free agency, and there will continue to be opportunities for Miami to land both big-name free agents and quality second- and third-tier guys, but not winning day one of free agency will hopefully lead to more meaningful wins when it actually matters during the 2017 season.