Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Breaking down Miami Dolphins’ moves in free agency (Day 1)

Take a look at the moves the Miami Dolphins have made during the first day of the legal tampering period of free agency.

TE Mike Gesicki — Signed franchise tag, which is valued at $10.93 million for a tight end to $18.42 for a receiver.

The player: Gesicki posted career highs in receptions (73) and receiving yards (780) in 2021. He’s caught 199 passes for 2,255 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in the first four years of his career.

What it means: The rangy 6-foot-6 and 249-pound athlete is an exceptional receiver, but blocking his pass and run has been troublesome since his college days. Maybe his third coaching staff can fix his issues, but it’s more realistic that he’ll be used as a glorified slot receiver.

Signing his tender simply means Gesicki can be traded now, and it’s possible he could be strong-arming the Dolphins to move him to a team willing to sign him to a multi-year deal. Because he’s played more snaps as a receiver the past three seasons, Gesicki will likely file a grievance to be designated a receiver and not a tight end because there’s a $7,490,000 difference when it comes to the tag. An arbitrator will likely encourage the two sides to meet somewhere in the middle if it gets to that point.

CB Nik Needham — The Dolphins placed second-round tender on Needham worth $3,986,000.

The player: Needham has started 22 of 45 games he’s played the past three seasons, and contributed 59 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup last season.

What it means: The Dolphins have signed a player to replace Needham as the team’s nickel cornerback the past two offseasons, but he continued to shine and rise to the top of the depth chart. Maybe with the team’s full support, and investment his game can reach another level.

However, his return is not guaranteed because another team could offer Needham a multi-year contract the Dolphins might decide against matching, which would secure a second-round pick for Miami in exchange for his departure.

DE Emmanuel Ogbah — Signed a four-year, $65M ($32M in guaranteed money) deal.

The player: Ogbah has recorded 83 tackles, 45 quarterback hits, 18 sacks, four forced fumbles and 17 pass deflections in his two seasons in Miami.

What it means: Ogbah is the most important player in the Dolphins’ defensive front because he has the versatility to play in any scheme, which is critical to make the hybrid system work.

By re-signing the 28-year-old, anything Miami does to enhance its defensive line from here on out is a luxury because the unit now has five capable NFL starters in Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, Jaelan Phillips and Zach Sieler.

QB Teddy Bridgewater — Signing a one-year deal with a max value of $10M ($6.5M guaranteed money).

The player: Bridgewater, a South Florida native, will be joining his fifth NFL team in his ninth season. He holds a 33-30 record as an NFL starter, and has a cumulative passer rating of 90.7.

He started 14 games for the Denver Broncos last season, going 7-7, completing 66.9 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,052 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

What it means: Bridgewater is a perfect fit for the Mike Shanahan-inspired offense new Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel intends on installing. He’s a play-action based quarterback who has movement skills, and throws with accuracy and precision. While 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa viewed as Miami’s starting quarterback we could be looking at a Ryan Tannehill-Marcus Mariota-like situation if the 2020 first-round pick falters. Bridgewater has shined in every quarterback battle he’s been in during his career.

WR Cedric Wilson Jr. — Agreed to a three-year deal worth $22.8M, with $12.75M guaranteed.

The player: Wilson is an athletic, 6-foot-3 deep threat, who had a coming out party season last year in Dallas, setting career highs with 45 receptions, which he turned into 602 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

What it means: Wilson has the versatility to run every route needed in Miami’s offense, which should make him an ideal complement for Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker, if the Dolphins decide to keep the eighth-year veteran. While depth remains an issue at receiver, Miami now possesses three NFL starters, and four potential playmakers if Lynn Bowden Jr. is factored in.

RB Chase Edmonds — Agreed to two-year, $12M deal with $6.1M of it guaranteed.

The player: Edmonds has started 15 of the 57 games he’s played in his first four seasons, rushing for 1,551 yards and scoring nine rushing touchdowns on the 333 carries he had in regular-season games. He’s also caught 128 passes for 921 yards and scored five touchdowns on receptions. Entire his career, he’s caught 78 percent of the passes thrown his way and averaged 7.2 yards per reception.

What it means: McDaniel has added a Deebo Samuels-like playmaker to Miami’s offense, giving the team a versatile athlete who can seamlessly go from tailback to receiver on any given snap. Most importantly, Edmonds has the speed to get to the edge on wide-zone runs, which is the scheme this offense intends to run. He’ll compete with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Gerrid Doak for playing time and the starting spot.

CB Keion Crossen — Agreed to a three-year, $10.5M deal.

The player: Crossen, a former Western Carolina standout, has contributed 86 tackles, one sack, forced one fumble and recovered one during his first four seasons in the NFL. He’s played 501 snaps on defense, and 938 snaps on special teams the past three seasons.

What it means: Crossen is respected as a tough, and physical cornerback who has excelled on special teams throughout his career. He’s been traded twice in his four seasons for a pair of sixth-round picks, so he has the ability that NFL teams covet. Where he fits into this secondary likely depends on how well he can man the nickel spot.

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Nation World News Desk
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