The Miami Dolphins are making moves to start the off-season. It began by cutting DE Mario Williams to save over 12 million on the cap hit. Williams had another terrible season after signing with the Phins to try an jump start his career at age 32. He played sparingly at the end of the season after being a vital lineman in the early half of the season. He was easily outplayed by everyone at DE and apparently had no interest in moving inside to DT, despite looking respectable at the position. This was an obvious move that many saw coming. The Dolphins can look to the draft or FA to find a young DE to pair with Wake. Andre Branch had a solid season and should be re-upped with the team. The Dion Jordan situation still looms and who knows what the Phins have planned with him.
More important new on a busy day, the Dolphins will part ways with LT Brandon Albert. Albert joined the Phins in 2014 and was a valuable addition. He became a part of what many deemed the “unicorns.” A group of O-linemen that consist of Albert, Mike Pouncey, and Ja’Waun James. The group was 9-1 in games when healthy together. Albert is also 32 years of age and was due around 9 million this year. Having missed almost half the season the past two years, it was time to move on. It was thought the Dolphins would flat out release him this morning, but it turned out that his trade value was high enough for the Dolphins to garner some interest around the league. Miami can possibly get a late draft pick for him or a prospect and cash.
As a fan, it was a pleasure having Albert on the team. He brought a nice veteran leadership to the team and he is a great tackle when healthy. Tannehill will miss him on his blindside. Last year’s rookie guard Laremy Tunsil will most likely take over at LT and it will probably be a easy transaction for the 2nd year player who played LT at Ole Miss and sparingly this year when Albert was out. Tunsil was the Dolphins team rookie of the year and he will no definitely improve on that. The big question will be at the guard spots now, who takes over at LG? Will the Phins bring back Jermon Bushrod for RG? There is a good chance Miami will draft a few Guards and look for some on FA.
Speaking of the Draft, more and more mock drafts are coming out and the Dolphins are getting a consistent pick in each one at 22; David Njoku. Njoku is a TE from right here in Miami. It is encouraging that everyone is so high on him and that the Phins would continue to improve the offense. While TE is a need, I would really prefer a LB or DT. Miami went offense with the majority of last years picks and they need to re-stack the defense with some young talent or they will be in the same mess they faced in the playoffs. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both seem to see Njoku as the guy right now.
“The Dolphins have weapons at wide receiver, but they don’t have a player like Njoku…this is a 6-foot-4 guy who can run in the 4.5 range and set up and run past defenders. He also has the size to go up and get the ball over smaller players..” -Mel Kiper Jr. ESPN (Kiper’s mock draft 2.0 here)
The combine is a couple weeks away and the Phins should get a better idea of who is who. Remember that no one could have foreseen Miami getting Tunsil in round one last year, so regardless of how the mock drafts pan out, keep an eye on all the first round prospects.
Thanks for reading and I hope you are all enjoying the off-season, maybe watching some NBA or getting ready for March Madness? Follow me on twitter for more news on the Phins and complaints about tanking.