Curses probably aren’t real, but the Miami Dolphins could make us believers. Basically everything that could go wrong in Mike McDaniel’s first season did, and their late-season swoon was historic. So, what’s next for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in more than two decades? Here’s our Miami Dolphins offseason preview, with a look at free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.
Miami Dolphins Offseason Preview: Big Decisions
Even after reaching the playoffs, changes are coming to South Florida. McDaniel is going to fire some coaches, most specifically on defense and special teams.
But to simply blame the coaches for Miami’s second-half slump would be disingenuous. This was a top-heavy roster, and the stars faded as the season went on. Some didn’t play to their potential.
Others didn’t play at all.
Tua Tagovailoa was an MVP candidate as of Week 12. But after road struggles and a second concussion in three months, the Dolphins have a decision to make.
Do they extend him? If so, how much guaranteed money are they willing to pledge? A more immediate concern: Do they pick up his fifth-year option, which will be guaranteed even in the case of injury?
Or do they look elsewhere for a more reliable quarterback? With little cap space and no first-round pick, upgrading would be difficult.
Dolphins’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Dolphins were over the 2023 salary cap by $7 million as of December, giving them the eighth-worst situation in the NFL.
That figure includes $1 million in dead cap and $4.2 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Dolphins Free Agents 2023
The following Dolphins players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA, exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- RB Salvon Ahmed (RFA)
- CB Justin Bethel
- QB Teddy Bridgewater
- S Elijah Campbell (RFA)
- WR River Cracraft
- G Michael Deiter
- LB Sam Eguavoen
- S Clayton Fejedelem
- OT Eric Fisher
- DE Trey Flowers
- RB Myles Gaskin
- TE Mike Gesicki
- OLB Melvin Ingram
- DT John Jenkins
- OT Greg Little
- FB John Lovett (RFA)
- P Thomas Morstead
- RB Raheem Mostert
- CB Nik Needham
- OLB Duke Riley
- OLB Elandon Roberts
- S Eric Rowe
- TE Adam Shaheen
- OT Brandon Shell
- WR Trent Sherfield
- LB Andrew Van Ginkel
- RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
Tight End Mike Gesicki
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Four years, $32.9 million ($8.2 million AAV)
Overview: Free Mike! The Dolphins would have likely never tagged Gesicki had they known they would have signed Tyreek Hill. There simply wasn’t a role for him after they did — particularly since Gesicki has never been the strongest blocker. But a team who needs a rangy slot receiver will be happy to give Gesicki a fresh start.
Running Back Jeff Wilson Jr.
Spotrac’s calculated market value: One year, $2.9 million ($2.9 million AAV)
Overview: When the 49ers’ running back room simply got too crowded, Wilson was eager to go somewhere where his role would be bigger. He found the perfect landing spot with McDaniel in Miami. The two-headed monster of Wilson and Raheem Mostert is worth bringing back for an encore performance.
Potential Cut Candidates
- CB Byron Jones ($4.1 million in cap savings)
- K Jason Sanders ($3.8 million)
- TE Durham Smythe ($3.5 million)
Dolphins’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive Tackle