Miami Dolphins Brian Flores
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

With the Miami Dolphins in a full-blown rebuild, fans in South Beach will need to find some patience.

When talking about the Miami Dolphins these days, many throw around the word “tank” or “tanking.” At the NFL Owner Meeting last week, head coach Brian Flores dismissed claims that the team would try to lose games on purpose.

“I think the term tanking, I think it’s disrespectful to the game,” Flores said. “I really do. I don’t like that term. I don’t like when people use it. This game has done a lot for me, personally. I’ve said this before, football really leveled the playing field for me as a person. It’s really the one thing that leveled the playing field. To disrespect the game and use that term, it stirs something up inside of me, to put it nicely. Those are my feelings on it. I’ve never … I’m going to go into every game trying to win. That’s always going to be my objective. I’m going to go into anything I do trying to win. I’m going to try to instill that into everybody I come across. No, there’s no tanking. You can write that over and over and over again.”

it’s rebuilding for the Miami Dolphins, not tanking.

While the Dolphins aren’t in tank mode, they’re indeed rebuilding. Gone are veterans Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake, and Ja’Wuan James. Now along with general manager Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross, Flores will try to help reconstruct the roster. The goal will be to maintain long-term success.

This offseason, the Dolphins cleaned up their roster from salary cap mistakes of the past by releasing such as Andre Branch and Josh Sitton. In previous years, the Dolphins would have spent money during the first wave of free agency. But now the team, much like the New England Patriots, who have been the gold standard in sports, did refuse to overpay for talent.

Instead, the Dolphins will use the 2019 and 2020 drafts to build their roster. Also look for Miami to sign some low-cost free agent. Of course, one of those signings was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been a journeyman and is on his seventh team in 14 seasons.

Although Fitzpatrick isn’t the long-term solution at quarterback for the Dolphins, he will be a great stop gap option until they find their quarterback of the future.

Looking to the 2020 NFL Draft

Speaking of the future, the Dolphins will have 17 picks in the next two years. With the departure of James and Wake, those compensatory picks could move that number to 19. Many expect the Dolphins to target Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. The Dolphins could also draft Justin Herbert from Oregon, Jake Fromm from Georgia or Jordan Love from Utah State.

If the Dolphins can grab one of the quarterbacks mentioned above, they could come out of the 2019 and 2020 with an excellent group of contributors. That would set them up for sustained success.

What could also help the Dolphins in the future is they currently have an estimated $37.2 million in salary cap space this year, according to OverTheCap.com. In 2020, with an estimated $200 million cap, the Dolphins, could have around $100 million in space. Not only could the Dolphins use that money to re-sign Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, but they could address holes not filled during the draft.

Tanking? Rebuilding? Whatever fans want to call it, the Dolphins have reset their roster. If fans are patient with Flores and the Dolphins organization, it could ultimately pay off with playoff appearances down the line.