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Will the Dolphins’ Offseason Splash Lead to Postseason Success?

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
A year after acquiring one of the best WRs in the NFL, the Dolphins made another big move in trading for Jalen Ramsey. What does it mean for Miami moving forward? Boardroom explores.

The Miami Dolphins went into the 2022 season with little reluctance toward Super Bowl aspirations. During last year’s offseason, Miami spent $512.2 million on offseason acquisitions after trading for Tyreek Hill among a flurry of moves that bolstered its case in becoming one of the best teams in the NFL.

Offensively, they were one of the best teams when Tua Tagovailoa was under center.

Keyword: When.

In those 13 starts, the Fins averaged 273 passing yards per game, which would’ve ranked second behind the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. The problem is that Tua suffered three concussions in the span of the regular season and missed the first round of the playoffs when Miami lost 34-31 to the Bills. Sure, they had no business winning that game with third-stringer Skylar Thompson starting, but it further exposed their inconsistent defense, which allowed the sixth-most passing yards (234.8) and eighth-most points (23.5).

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In February, Miami hired coveted defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on the most expensive deal for any coordinator in all of football, reportedly worth $4.5 million per year. Fangio, 64, has been around for 22 years as DC and head coach, with his teams ranking in the top 10 in points allowed 10 times. In his last stint as Broncos head coach in 2021, Denver ranked third in scoring defense and allowed the eighth-fewest yards.

On Sunday, the Dolphins doubled down and traded for six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey in exchange for a 2023 third-round draft pick and tight end Hunter Long. For the Rams, it was a salary dump. Miami, on the other hand, becomes one of the toughest teams to throw against with Ramsey and Xavien Howard checking oppositions No. 1 and No. 2.

Ramsey signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension in 2020, which will pay him $17 million in 2023, $18.5 million in 2024, and $19.5 million in 2025. At least $37 million is guaranteed over two years. The Dolphins made a couple of moves within to clear the way for the star CB.

Clearing Space For Jalen

As of this writing, the Dolphins have allocated $121,402,901 to the defense (53% of the cap) β€” the most in the NFL.

  • Converted $18.32 million of Bradley Chubb‘s 2023 salary into a signing bonus, clearing $14.6 million from the cap.
  • Converted $7.8 million of Terron Armstead’s 2023 salary, and transformed an $8 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, clearing $11.87 million from the cap.
  • Converted $14.8 million of Tyreek Hill‘s 2023 salary, and transferred a $10 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, clearing $18.6 million from the cap.

What’s Up With Tua?

The Dolphins elected to exercise Tua’s fifth-year rookie option, meaning he’s on the books for the next two seasons. He’ll earn $4.7 million in 2023 and $23.17 million in 2024 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025. This means the Fins created all this space to build a legitimate defense while stalling any long-term commitment to Tua. Basically, he has two more chances to prove that he can stay healthy for a full season.

That’s not to say he’s incapable β€” he was one of the best QBs in the NFL when he actually played. But Tua’s stellar play has been completely overshadowed by the injury stigma he picked up over the past three years, thus Miami was in zero rush to hand him a potential record-breaking contract.

Instead, they brought more insurance in on Monday and signed former Jets backup Mike White to a two-year, $16 million deal.

Wrapping It All Up

The Dolphins established themselves in 2022 and showed they can compete with anyone. Now, it’s about filling in the blanks. They don’t need any more receivers β€” Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are elite. They don’t need a backup QB (Teddy Bridgewater is a free agent). The team hired one of the most respected defensive minds in football to lead a pack that added Bradley Chubb at the deadline and doubled down by adding Ramsey.

Next, they ideally need a running back to hold things down in the backfield. Still, the foundation is growing and only getting stronger. Let Robert Griffin III explain…

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.