What a day!
Well, to be completely honest, the day got off to a most underwhelming start, as big name after big name came off the board, and the Dolphins were just sitting there with two uninspiring signings. Things changed in a hurry, as your Miami Dolphins made the biggest of splashes.
So how did they do?
ERECK FLOWERS LG, $30 Million for 3 years, $19.95mil Guaranteed.
Ereck Flowers in 2019
Weeks 1-8: 5 penalties committed, 1 game with a pass blocking grade over 70.0
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) March 16, 2020
Oof. Where was Andrus Peat? Graham Glasgow? Joe Thuney? Anybody? Ereck Flowers has been, for the better part of his career, a bad NFL player. What is the “better part” of that career? How bout the first five years of it, till this past year in Washington. In 2019, he was moved to Left Guard and excelled. He had six penalties and allowed 2.5 sacks in 16 games. A further examination of Flowers suggests that he turned the tide in the final 8 games of the year, as he was for the most part, very good. He is young, trending up, but this signing is more about faith than conviction.
SHAQ LAWSON DE, $30 Million (could be worth $36) for 3 years, $21mil Guaranteed.
One of Shaq Lawson's former teammates to me about him:
"He's a baller. He stop the run and plays the run well. He plays hard. His sack numbers aren't high but he's worth it. He's different. He's loud. He thrives off competition."
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) March 16, 2020
Starting to sense a trend. Young players to “scale” deals, that are trending up? It’s a plan. Gotta give them that. Shaq Lawson gives them versatility on the defensive line and can play anywhere from 3 Tech to 9. Highly touted coming out of Clemson, he rejoins his old defensive line coach Marion Hobby in Miami. Lawson will play many snaps, and this signing looks to pay dividends if he continues on his current trajectory.
CLAYTON FEJEDELUM S, $8.85 Million for 3 years, $3mil Guaranteed.
These last 3 days have been absolutely surreal. I married my best friend Saturday, and now I’m part of the @MiamiDolphins ! Thank you to the @Bengals and the loyal fan base for the last 4 years; I couldn’t be more grateful for everything. Excited to continue my career in Miami!
— Clayton Fejedelem (@ClayFejedelem) March 17, 2020
Good bye Walt Aikens. Gonna miss him. Was always courteous to us in the media, and was a helluva special teams player. This is who Clayton is. Although further inspection finds that he ran a 4.54 40 yard dash with a 40 1/2 inch vertical, to go with 20 reps of 225 at the combine in 2016, as he was drafted in the 7th round.
Our own Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) had other ideas:
Wonder if we’re underplaying Clayton Fejedelem. Easy to forget about him amidst all the others. But that in itself is a bit of a statement, no? At the same time they targeted these BIG puzzle pieces, they targeted him. Reminds me a bit of when Miami signed Isa Abdul-Quddus.
— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) March 17, 2020
BYRON JONES CB, $82.5 Million for 5 years, $57mil Guaranteed.
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2020
What else can be said for Byron Jones. He was the consensus #1 target amongst us on the Three Yards per Carry Podcast. I always say that the quickest way to relevancy is to be “elite” at something. We now get to test that theory, as the Miami Dolphins now have a stacked secondary. Jones is a freakish athlete, sticky in bump man to man, with the versatility to play boundary corner, and safety. A home run signing. Although, does this mean that Xavien Howard could be on the move? I hope not. These two healthy, remind you of the days of Madison and Surtain. The Dolphins now have 2 of the 3 All Pros from 2018 at one position.
KYLE VAN NOY OLB, $51 Million for 4 years, $30mil Guaranteed.
Kyle Van Noy said he will always carry a chip on his shoulder that he was traded for a sixth-round pick. He brought that edge to New England in 2016, was a key contributor to two Super Bowl championship teams, and it set the stage for this big payday. Well deserved. https://t.co/NuPXnOXTqE pic.twitter.com/0akqtLRtgi
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 17, 2020
The 16th ranked EDGE player on Pro Football Focus, Kyle Van Noy was used much more as a pass rusher in 2019. Good coming off the edge, Van Noy is even better against the run. The Dolphins now have a couple of guys renowned for setting the edge, and in Kyle Van Noy, they just signed the new Captain of the defense. Highly intelligent, and an interesting character, he is also close with Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores, and this signing falling in the “friends and family” plan as my podcast partner Chris Kouffman likes to put it, is just fine with me. This was a near perfect Day 1 of Free Agency.
Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.