In 2021, the Miami Dolphins were expected to fight for a playoff berth if not the division, but a poor free agency streak led to disappointment.
As we stand on the cusp of the start of the NFL league’s new year in 2022 and free agency, it’s worth reminding ourselves, or at the very least, reminding Chris Grier of the horrible out- season he had in 2021.
Whether or not the decisions are those of Brian Flores or Grier himself, it’s not Grier’s job not to make the same mistakes twice.
Like last year, the Dolphins enter the 2022 offseason with similar needs. Wide receiver, offensive lineman, depth at linebacker and defensive end to round out one already on the roster. Last year we saw Miami address the DE position in the draft, but Miami could potentially create its own hole this year if Emmanuel Ogbah leaves for more money.
At WR, injuries have once again plagued the roster, and the Dolphins don’t recognize that a player with frequent injuries is likely to be injured again.
The Dolphins haven’t touched the offensive line either. After free will for all intents and purposes ended, many believed the draft would provide the answers. He does not have. Now, a year later, we’re here again and if we look at last year’s mistakes, we can easily watch Grier and wait to see if he makes them again.
It’s hard to believe the Dolphins won more games than they lost last year, but it’s also easy to see why they went on a seven-game losing streak after beating the Patriots in Week 1.
Fluker was a late free agent, but many thought he would challenge for a starting role on the Dolphins’ poor offensive line. Instead, he never made it past boot camp and was released. Fluker only made just over a million last year and after his release he signed with another team but did not play in the NFL last season.
Fuller was supposed to be a high-risk/high-reward player, but the Dolphins’ bet left them shelling out $10 million on a fully guaranteed contract while Fuller spent the season nursing a broken finger. The fracture was apparently in multiple places and required surgery, but Fuller’s start to Miami’s career was not good. Fuller missed Game 1 under an NFL suspension from the previous year, then missed Week 10 because he didn’t want to play for the Dolphins. Brian Flores wouldn’t comment on the situation, but Fuller returned in Week 3, caught four assists, and didn’t return for the rest of the year.
The Dolphins wanted a safety net for Tua Tagovailoa in case he got injured. Of course, he was going to get hurt behind their offensive line. Brissett made sense given his starting experience, but in the four games he needed, he couldn’t lead the Dolphins to victory. His two credited wins came against the Texans and Ravens, a game where he was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa who led the team to victory.
Carter hasn’t had much of an impact in 2021. Primarily used as a blocking TE, Carter has only seen 52 snaps all season and played in 16 games. He was the Dolphins’ highest-paid tight end last year and is currently under contract for 2022.
Skura was a quality signing at the time and was believed to be lobbying Michael Dieter for a starting job. Capable of playing both center and guard, Skura was likely to land a role at least to provide depth. Instead, the Dolphins cut him before the start of the season. He started 14 games with the Giants and played well.
Brown didn’t have much time to show what he could do, but when he was in the game he wasn’t too impressive. The Dolphins opted to start him on Myles Gaskin, a decision that had fans scratching their heads. Rightly too. Brown started in just three games and appeared in seven. He had 33 carries for 125 yards, most of those being the starter.
McCourty was signed to provide cheap depth and leadership in the secondary, but he only lasted seven games from four and had very little impact on the roster, but if he had could have helped Miami’s young safeties, it might have been worth it.
Riley provided depth for the Dolphins. He started three of the 16 games he played, contributing to 26 combined tackles. Riley wasn’t expensive either. He signed for $1.2 million.
The Dolphins made other free agent signings, but most of them were deep players or part-time starters. The Dolphins continued to build their roster throughout the draft and tried to grow their young roster. A lot of things have worked on defense but offensively, the Dolphins haven’t fixed any of their issues and as they enter the 2022 offseason, those same issues and questions are still present.
Chris Grier needs to do better than he did last year and frankly, his 2020 season hasn’t been much better. Grier gave Byron Jones $82 million, which upset Xavien Howard. They gave Kyle Van Noy a $51 million contract to release him after one season. They paid Ereck Flowers $30 million and Shaq Lawson $30 million, but both only lasted one season.
For those excited for the 2022 season, the past two years haven’t been great for Grier and the Dolphins, so while the excitement is high, it should also be tempered.