For the first time in at least a few years, optimism for the future of the Miami Dolphins’ franchise is high. Last season, Miami won 10 games and made the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Now, they look to take the next step.
One way to do that is to develop the young talent that is there. Another is to draft well. Another is to adequately address needs in free agency.
After running down the list of offseason transactions so far for the Dolphins, we now take a look at each and grade each one.
Acquired defensive end William Hayes
Details: On March 9, the Dolphins acquired Hayes and a seventh-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams for a sixth-round pick.
Overview: For very little in return, the Dolphins acquired a player who could serve as a starter at defensive end opposite Cameron Wake. Hayes has averaged better than five sacks per season over the last five years while missing just a total of four games. Hayes is also an adequate run-stopper. At 31 years old, Hayes is a short-term solution, but potentially a good one.
Acquired tight end Julius Thomas
Details: On March 9, the Dolphins acquired Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a seventh-round pick. The Dolphins also dealt tackle Branden Albert to the Jaguars for a seventh-round pick in 2018.
Overview: The addition of Thomas fills a huge void for Miami at tight end and reunites him with Adam Gase, who as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2013-14, helped Thomas make two Pro Bowls. Thomas’ production did dip over the last couple years, thanks partially to injuries, but he was still more productive than any Miami tight end over that same stretch.
Signed guard Ted Larsen
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins signed Larsen to a three-year contract.
Overview: The Dolphins didn’t hit the jackpot by signing Larsen, but they did pick up a guy who can play either of the two guard spots or center. He could be an immediate candidate to start at left guard while Laremy Tunsil moves from that position to tackle to replace the recently-traded Branden Albert.
Re-signed wide receiver Kenny Stills
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins re-signed Stills to a four-year, $32 million contract.
Overview: The re-signing of Stills was the most talked about move heading into the offseason and the Dolphins got Stills for less than what his projected market value was going to be. Stills scored nine touchdowns last season to lead a talented, but not deep receiving corps.
Signed tight end Anthony Fasano
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins signed Fasano to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Overview: Fasano, who played with Miami from 2008-12, will serve as the No. 2 tight end and potentially perfect compliment to Thomas. Fasano caught 23 touchdowns over his five years in Miami and though his production has dropped as a receiver, he remains a good blocking tight end.
Terminated safety Isa Abdul-Quddus
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins terminated the contract of Abdul-Quddus after he failed a physical.
Overview: Abdul-Quddus performed admirably for the Dolphins last season before succumbing to a season-ending neck injury. Moving forward, there are questions about whether or not or how effectively he can play.
Re-signed defensive end Andre Branch
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins re-signed Branch to a three-year, $27 million deal.
Overview: The same could be said for re-signing Branch as acquiring Hayes. It’s a short-term solution that provides the Dolphins with depth and a body capable of helping stop the run and rush the passer.
Re-signed long snapper John Denney
Details: On March 10, the Dolphins re-signed Denney.
Overview: Most view long snappers as a dime a dozen until one goes over the punter’s head or it affects the game-winning field goal. Denney, a two-time Pro Bowler, has rarely had issues. This is also a nice show of loyalty by the Dolphins, who retained their longest tenured player.
Signed safety Nate Allen
Details: The Dolphins signed Allen on March 11.
Overview: This move seems to be of the low-risk, high-reward variety. Over the last two years with the Oakland Raiders, Allen has seen his productive dip dramatically after a solid career in Philadelphia. The worst case scenario seems to be that Allen will provide depth. At best, he’ll start at safety alongside Reshad Jones.
Signed linebacker Lawrence Timmons
Details: On March 11, the Dolphins signed Timmons to a two-year, $12 million contract.
Overview: Linebacker was an area that Miami had to address and the Dolphins did that with a former Pro Bowler in Timmons. Timmons is 30 years old, but hasn’t slowed down much with at least 100 tackles in each of the last five seasons. Timmons gives Miami an immediate starter inside and will likely move Kiko Alonso to the outside.
Mike Ferguson is a sports writer and reporter for several publications and the Pro Football Spot lead writer for the Miami Dolphins. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson