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They say that three data points is sufficient to establish a trend line. And for the Miami Dolphins, the 2021 offseason will prove to be very informative on what “standard operating procedures” look like under the regime led by general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores. Because as the Dolphins enter year three of their current leadership, we still really have no idea what the Dolphins’ mentality is to construct a roster.
The 2019 offseason was one filled with selling off older, expensive assets and trying to hoard as much resources as possible. Salary cap, draft picks, you name it. If it offers a team value to rapidly collect talent, it was a point of emphasis for the Dolphins in 2019.
And then 2020 happened. And while the Dolphins were steadfast in keeping their early 2020 NFL Draft capital and made six selections in the first three rounds (while opting to not move up the board), the Dolphins were super aggressive at just about every other turn along the way. The team handed out several big money contracts to CB Byron Jones, LB Kyle Van Noy and others. The Dolphins traded up multiple times on Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins were a very different presence in the offseason versus their first go around in 2020.
And that’s what makes 2021 so interesting. Will the team, having added enough resources quickly enough to feel as though they’re a viable contender, cool down the aggressive approach from last season and fall back in line with their 2019 thought process? If so, we could see multiple trade downs from the Dolphins early in the 2021 NFL Draft — particularly from No. 3 overall to cash in on a lot of future capital to work with.
But we could also see this team turn the heat up and press the foot down on the gas once again — opting for a big free agent splash like WR Allen Robinson, an even bigger (and more costly) trade for QB Deshaun Watson or looking to parlay their picks into fewer selections that come earlier in the queue versus where the team is currently scheduled to pick.
The team could legitimately swing either way. And it is hard to get a gauge on which version of the Dolphins’ team-building approach is the ‘new normal’ under this management group. But, with the third offseason upon us, we’re close to getting that valuable third data point to decipher where the trend actually falls.