The Miami Dolphins have some work to do to get back to good before the 2018 NFL season. here are the five biggest needs heading into the 2018 NFL offseason.
After reaching the AFC playoff for the first time in eight years in 2016, the 2017 Miami Dolphins fell way short of making it back-to-back postseason appearances. It was a year from hell for Miami, as injuries, a hurricane and constant turmoil in the building led this team to a bad 6-10 record.
Miami would suffer its first big blow when starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL in training camp. This forced the Dolphins’ hand to hire head coach Adam Gase’s former starting quarterback with the Chicago Bears in the enigmatic Jay Cutler. For a cool $10 million, Cutler kind of tried to play quarterback for the Dolphins. It was more of the same with the former Bears and Denver Broncos starter down in South Beach.
Hurricane Irma displaced the Dolphins temporarily from South Florida. This led to them not having a bye all season due to the Week 1 opener versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being rescheduled to Week 11. Miami didn’t play a true home game until October. Then again, maybe going 6-10 and kind of being playoff viable was the reach for this awful year of Dolphins football.
Do keep in mind that this was a team that made the AFC playoffs only two years ago. Much of that roster remains, so there is reason to believe that Miami can get back to its winning ways a vie for a wild card berth in the AFC. Let’s be real. Nobody is taking the AFC East crown from the New England Patriots in 2018. As we enter the 2018 NFL offseason, here are the five biggest needs for the Dolphins.
5. Free Safety
A microcosm of the Dolphins’ struggles in 2018 comes from an area that didn’t better from 2017: the secondary. While the Dolphins promoted from within in hiring Matt Burke as defensive coordinator after former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph took the Denver Broncos head coaching job, Miami remained lackluster at best in the back-seven of its defense.
This cannot be overlooked another year, as the Dolphins are about to be decimated at safety if they don’t make some adjustments to their roster. Though he’s past his prime, free safety Nate Allen will be one of the bigger names to be hitting the free agency market at free safety. To be fair, it’s not a deep class. However, he could be in line to get paid by somebody besides the Dolphins.
Miami could be losing two other free safeties this spring in Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas. We know that Reshad Jones is rock solid at strong safety, but the Dolphins secondary will only be as good as the battery mate he has playing next to him. Simply put, Jones can’t do it alone.
Guys that the Dolphins could target in free agency at free safety include Lamarcus Joyner of the Los Angeles Rams or Tre Boston of the Los Angeles Chargers. Both will be highly compensated this spring on their new deals playing a premium position. In the draft, Miami could look to move up from No. 11 to draft Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama.