The Miami Dolphins are entering a crucial offseason under their new head coach Mike McDaniel, and general manager Chris Grier needs to improve the roster for the team to make a leap in the 2022 season.
Miami fell short of the postseason in each of the last two seasons despite having a winning record in both campaigns, and there are key flaws on the roster that led to the Dolphins coming up short.
Miami will have over $63 million in cap space to work with this offseason to improve the roster. The Dolphins are committed to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entering the 2022 campaign, so the goal should be to maximize the talent that will surround him.
So, who should the Dolphins target in free agency?
Here are three options that the Dolphins should consider if they want to give themselves a chance to break through and make the postseason in 2022.
1. Terron Armstead, Left Tackle
Armstead makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins, as they need to provide Tagovailoa with better protection in the 2022 season. Liam Eichenberg and Jesse Davis simply aren’t good enough to be the team’s starting tackles. Austin Jackson was moved to guard last season because of his struggles at tackle.
Armstead would bring a ton of stability to the offensive line, as he is widely regarded as one of the NFL’s best offensive lineman.
While injuries have limited Armstead in the past (he played just eight games last season), the veteran would instantly upgrade Miami’s offense in both pass protection and run blocking.
Last season, Pro Football Focus gave Armstead a 75.9 grade. In the 2020 season, he received a 86.3 grade from PFF.
For the Dolphins last season, Eichenberg received just a 50.8 PFF grade and allowed nine sacks. Armstead allowed just one sack last season.
There’s no question that the veteran tackle would be an instant upgrade, and Miami would be foolish not to pursue him this offseason. Armstead would make Tagovailoa’s life a lot easier, and he could help the 24-year-old, who missed four games in the 2021 campaign, stay healthy during the 2022 season.
2. Brandon Scherff, Guard
Scherff, another offensive lineman, should also be a target for Miami this offseason. While Robert Hunt and Jackson are currently listed as the team’s starting guards, Scherff would be an upgrade over both young players.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Scherff didn’t allow a sack in the 2021 season and registered a PFF grade of 73.6.
Similar to Armstead, he would bring a veteran presence to Miami’s offensive line and a proven track record of success in the NFL. The Dolphins need to focus on surrounding Tagovailoa with talent, and they currently have too many question marks on the offensive line to be comfortable with it heading into the 2022 season.
Scherff would certainly help change that, and he and Armstead could be important mentors to youngsters like Jackson, Hunt and Eichenberg going forward.
3. Dalton Schultz, Tight End
Schultz is going to be a hot commodity in free agency after his breakout season in 2021, and he’s one of the best options available if the Dolphins don’t bring back Mike Gesicki this offseason.
Despite playing in a crowded offense that featured Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup last season, Schultz caught 78 passes for 808 yards and eight scores.
He is a proven red zone threat, and he could also team up with Gesicki if the Dolphins decide to go with a lot of two-tight end looks next season.
Miami needs to bring in another proven pass-catcher for Tagovailoa outside of Jaylen Waddle and the oft-injured wide receiver DeVante Parker. Schultz could be an option if the team strikes out on landing a big name receiver.
Gesicki’s status could take Schultz out of the equation, but he should be one of the top three options if the Dolphins do have to replace Gesicki. Schultz is reliable, as he dropped only four of his 104 targets last season, and he could become a safety blanket for Tagovailoa in the middle of the field.
If the Dolphins really want to put Tagovailoa and the team in the best situation to succeed next season, any one of these free agents would go a long way to making that happen.