Free agency has a major impact on fantasy football. And this upcoming year in particular (no matter how far away it may seem) has the opportunity to significantly change up several teams. Though it may seem too early to be discussing the 2018 NFL season, for dynasty owners — especially those who’ve missed the playoffs — it’s never too soon to start analyzing how player values can change, especially if they move on to new teams.
In this piece, I’m taking a look at the Miami Dolphins fantasy-relevant free agents, especially as it relates to the team’s salary cap. I’ll also look at where their most urgent needs lie, which they may look to supplement through the 2018 NFL draft.
Free Agents information and cap numbers are courtesy of OverTheCap.
As it stands, Miami currently has $9,742,046 in projected cap space heading into the new year, assuming a team salary cap figure of $178 million.
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For what he’s provided to the Dolphins in the last two years, Julius Thomas has much too high a price tag. In order to pay Jarvis Landry, releasing Thomas is a no-brainer. It’s a very similar situation for both Ju’Wuan James and Lawrence Timmons. Timmons in particular was underwhelming this season, with 58 tackles and three passes defended across 14 games, that is, unless you count his chaotic media coverage.
LB, OL, QB, DT, TE
As of right now, Miami has had zero offensive players invited to the Pro Bowl. If that is true after the replacements for injured and Super Bowl players are announced, it will be the first time since 2007 that they haven’t had an offensive Pro Bowl representative, clearly indicating some needs for the Dolphins entering the offseason. The biggest question mark going into free agency is what will take to keep Jarvis Landry?
Landry’s dynasty value should stay the same or even rise with Ryan Tannehill back under center. Tannehill has viewed Landry as a security blanket and the one offensive player currently able to ignite this offense. The Dolphins have one of the worst cap situations, and if Ndamukong Suh would be willing to take a pay cut, that makes re-signing him easier. Regardless, the Dolphins need to keep Landy at all costs. He became the fastest Dolphins player to reach 100 catches and this past season surpassed the NFL record for most receptions in the first four seasons of an NFL career. Landry is what keeps seats in the stadium and is a crucial piece of the Dolphins future success. Landry has claimed Miami is currently being “disrespectful” with contract negotiations, but hopefully [for them] they get their act together.
Michael Thomas should also be re-signed, as should Damien Williams in order to maintain the competition for Kenyan Drake.
The Dolphins currently have one first-round pick, one second-round pick, one third-round, two fourth, one sixth, and two seventh-round picks. This gives them significant opportunity to add some depth and playmakers. No matter what position it comes from from, the Dolphins desperately need a playmaker.
Additionally, they need to address their offensive line. Even after years of drafting linemen in the first two rounds,1 drafting a center and moving Mike Pouncey to his college position (left guard) could be a strength for the Dolphins. Finding a pass catching tight-end that can complement the receivers and serve as Tannehill’s security blanket is a must, especially if the Dolphins decide to let Landry walk.
While I suspect the Dolphins will want to add a veteran running back through free agency, drafting a back to compete with Drake and even Williams (if he returns) is possible. Perhaps the most important move the Dolphins should make is drafting a quarterback. Whether or not he learns under Tannehill or takes over the position,2 this team needs to prepare for a future with and without their current signal caller.
The Dolphins like to generate some hype during the offseason (whether it works out or not), as we witnessed with the Arian Foster pick-up in 2016. Bold prediction would be for Miami to take Demarco Murray or Dion Lewis, which would be sure to create some buzz, shake up the dynasty rankings, and help the Dolphins’ young RBs find some mentorship.
Feeding off that wishful thinking, another free agent that could fill a need would be Jimmy Graham. Graham returning to his college hometown would be a game changer for the Dolphins, one they had hoped to get from Julius Thomas, though it may not change where he falls in dynasty rankings.