Miami Dolphins Spend Big Money Early

Ethan Hewett   | March 17th, 2020

It was a busy day one for the Miami Dolphins front office as they brought in five players in just one day and dropped some big dollar signs. All this before their six top-100 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. We all saw how this Dolphins team played at the end of 2019, taking down the New England Patriots in the final week of the regular season with a group of nobody’s. The team played hard for head coach Brian Flores who has seemed to change the culture down in Miami.

With a big culture change, comes new faces and Miami already has a handful of them.

Byron Jones, CB – 5 Year, $82.5 Million Deal

The Dallas Cowboys were unable to retain Jones this offseason. Therefore he was one of the most sought after corners in this free agency class. Miami made him the highest-paid corner in the NFL and paired him with Xavien Howard, who happens to be the second-highest-paid cornerback now in the NFL. It should be fun to see how these two work together in the Miami secondary.

Jones will add leadership, and while 2019 wasn’t eye-popping, statistically, he did put up 15 passes defended in 2018. If there’s any knock against him, it is that he doesn’t have many takeaways seeing it’s been 40 games since his last interception (week 8 2017). However, Jones bounced back from a hip surgery he had in the 2019 offseason. When the ball came his way, he only allowed a 53% completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks in 2019.

Kyle Van Noy, LB – 4 Year, $51 Million Deal

It’s a former Patriots reunion between Flores and new linebacker Van Noy. He is a linebacker who can do it all, rush the passer, play in coverage, or stuff the run at the line of scrimmage. Van Noy is a hardened veteran who has served in leadership roles for the Patriots and knows what it takes to get to and win Superbowls. Not to mention, he also has experience playing in Flores’ system.

The Dolphins came into this offseason with the most cap space. Finding a versatile, veteran linebacker who didn’t completely break the bank, gives them even more freedom to pursue other holes they need to fill. In Van Noy’s three-and-a-half seasons with the Patriots, he recorded 221 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 21 tackles-for-loss, 2 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles.

Shaq Lawson, EDGE – 3 Year, $30 Million Deal

The Dolphins needed help at the edge position as their sack leader was Taco Charlton with only five. Lawson is getting paid like a starter with a contract that has $21 million guaranteed and could be worth as much as $36 million. While the price tag is pretty big, his production has been that of more of a rotational player. However, he could quickly heighten the Dolphins’ ability to get after the quarterback.

Lawson had 6.5 sacks in 2019 paired with 13 tackles for loss and put up 16.5 sacks, 108 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 10 passes defended in his four-year tenure with the Buffalo Bills. However, his strengths lie in his ability to set the edge and support in the run game. He plays tough and should fit right into Flores’ defense. Lawson’s only risk is that he has been a part-time player his entire career starting only 17 of his 50 games, and his ceiling may not be very high.

Ereck Flowers, OL – 3 Year, $30 Million Deal

This was probably the riskiest pickup for the Dolphins, especially considering the price tag that they brought him in on. Flowers had a tough start to his career with the New York Giants, which found him benched and released only to be signed to a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins in 2019. Now, after somewhat of a comeback year, the Dolphins signed him to a $10 million a year contract with $19.95 million guaranteed. Overpaid? Maybe.

However, the Dolphins desperately needed help for what was probably one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2019. Flowers secured himself an excellent deal and will most likely be one of the starting guards for the Dolphins in 2020. Flowers played 100% percent of the Redskins offensive snaps in 2019 and had a 92% pass block rate, according to ESPN.

Clayton Fejedelem, S – 3 Year, $8.55 Million Deal

It appears Flores and his staff are carrying over some of the Patriots values such as special teams and veteran leadership. This is highlighted by their day one of the negotiation period signing of a player like Fejedelem, who was a special teams captain for the Cincinnati Bengals. Fejedelem is another player who will add veteran leadership. He will most likely replace former Dolphins special teams captain Walt Aikens, who is also a free agent.

Fejedelem most likely won’t be the starting safety for the Dolphins. Still, he will be a great addition to the special teams unit, and also it never hurts to start building depth at any position. Fejedelem is a special teams ace and got a nice deal from the Dolphins with $3 million guaranteed.

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