Friday, October 22, 2021

2021 Dolphins Free Agents – Chances they return?

The Miami Dolphins 2021 offseason is in full swing and, with the surprise announcement that veteran LB Kyle Van Noy has been cut, there may be more offseason activity than initially expected.

In this article I’ll focus solely on Unrestricted Free Agents and the Dolphins only Restricted Free Agent this season and what I think their chances of returning to the team are. Exclusive-Rights Free Agents cannot negotiate with other teams and are almost guaranteed to return if the team wants them back, so have not be included.  

Unrestricted Free Agents

QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick wants the chance to compete for a starting job and, given his play over the last few seasons, deserves his chance to get that opportunity. He isn’t going to get that chance to start in Miami and although undoubtedly a fans favorite it would seem unlikely he will return. The only possible saving grace is that he may not want to move his family again having settled in Florida but chances are, Fitz’s time as a Dolphin is over.

Chances of returning: 20%

RB – Matt Breida

Matt Breida can probably feel hard done by during his time with the Dolphins. Whilst looking like he could be a productive back at 4.3 YPC he never really got the opportunity that others did and was even a healthy scratch towards the end of the season. He doesn’t seem to be in favour with the coaching staff and I would be very surprised if we see a return for Breida.

Chances of returning: 5%

RB – DeAndre Washington

Acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs last season, Washington struggled to a measly 3.1 YPC on 28 attempts last season and was outperformed by Gaskin and Ahmed down the stretch. Chances are that the Dolphins may cut their losses here and, although they may look to see what he brings with a full offseason under his belt, I’d expect new faces to be brought into the RB room. I see Washington as a long shot to make the roster.

Chances of returning: 10%

WR – Mack Hollins

Hollins had some issues catching the football last season but he did make one very important play in the win against the Oakland Raiders, catching a Ryan Fitpatrick pass down the sideline to help set up a game winning field goal for the Dolphins. Hollins is also an excellent blocker and excels on Special teams. This, I believe, could be enough to see Hollins return on a cheap deal.

Chances of returning: 65%

WR – Isaiah Ford

Ford is well known to the Dolphins staff, who brought him back to the team having acquired a late round pick from the Patriots for him before he was subsequently released by Miami’s AFC East rival. A complete overhaul of the WR room is entirely possible and at least a couple new faces are expected be added there. I struggle to see Ford with the team for next season.

Chances of returning: 10%

C – Ted Karras

A solid if not spectacular presence in the middle of the Dolphins O-Line, Ted Karras did bring leadership to a young position group last season. His play could be described as solid at best and the Dolphins will likely look for an upgrade at C. Karras does provide cover at all 3 interior positions and if the money is right, a deal could be made. I think, however, it’s most likely that the Karras gets paid more than the Dolphins will be willing to offer elsewhere.

Chances of returning: 25%

OT – Julie’n Davenport

Davenport recorded 53 snaps on offense last season but, whilst he did ok as a backup and in short yardage situations, it may be best for both team and player if he finds a new home next season. Acquired in the trade that saw Laremy Tunsil go to the Texans, Davenport would seem highly unlikely to become a starter on a Dolphins team who invested heavily in young draft picks on the O-Line last season and could do so again this year. I think Davenport moves on in a bid to see some more playing time.

Chances of returning: 15%

DT – Davon Godchaux

Injury cut short Godchaux’s 2020 season but he has performed admirably as a 5th round pick since joining the Dolphins. This is probably the most interesting situation of all the Dolphins Free Agents. Godchaux would like to return and Miami would likely welcome him back but I think another team ultimately offers more money than the Dolphins – who already have good players in Wilkins, Davis and Sieler in the rotation at the position and may go for a cheaper option.

Chances of returning: 20%

LB – Kamu Grugier-Hill

Grugier-Hill is an interesting option. A solid backup who is decent in coverage and a good special teams player, if the money is right I could see a return on the cards. Kyle Van Noy being released doesn’t increase the chances of Grugier-Hill becoming a starter but may increase the possibility he returns as an option at the position.

Chances of returning: 60%

LB – Vince Biegel

An Achilles injury meant that Biegel never got the opportunity to build on a promising 2019 season last year. Despite some fan discontent at social media posts, it probably makes sense for Biegel to return in a financially friendly ‘prove it’ type of deal. The release of Kyle Van Noy again only increases the chances of a Biegel return as an option at the position.

Chances of returning: 55%

LB – Elandon Roberts

The ‘thumper’ in the Dolphins LB room, Roberts had 402 snaps in 2020 before a significant knew injury cut short his season. This is a tricky one to predict, the injury means that Roberts may not garner a lot of interest from other teams in Free Agency and could be a possible to return late into Free Agency or even after the season begins. These hard hitting type of LB aren’t hard to find though and a Day 3 draft pick or cheap and healthy FA could fill this role.

Chances of returning: 30%

S – Kavon Frazier

Frazier came in on a one year deal and became a special teams captain. Frazier seemed to be solid in Special teams and outperformed fellow Special Teamer and Safety Clayton Fejedelem when asked to fill in as a backup. The ST unit did allow two punt returns last season so a return is no guarantee.

Chances of returning: 40%

P – Matt Haack

Looking solely at Haack’s averages he appears to have played well but he did struggle for consistency at times and did have 2 punt returns allowed. Having rejoined as a Restricted Free Agent last year, the Dolphins may move on and explore a cheaper option for the coming season.

Chances of returning: 40%

Restricted Free Agent

OT – Adam Pankey

The Dolphins only Restricted Free Agent is O-Lineman Adam Pankey. Head Coach Brian Flores has praised Pankey in the past but he played only 28 snaps last season. It’s hard to envisage the Dolphins tendering a qualifying offer, even though Pankey has some versatility along the line. Expect the Dolphins to move on here.

Chances of returning: 10%

Keep an eye on the March 17th date. This is when the new league season begins and these players will officially become Free Agents. The Dolphins do have the option to re-sign any of these players up until that date. It could be a very interesting few weeks ahead.

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