Kelly: Terron Armstead has unfinished business with Dolphins

Imagine the company that employs you approaches during your down period and tells you that not only do they want to reduce your salary by one-third, but later in the offseason they request that you mentor your replacement, who was just added.

So not only is the corporation shaking you down on your salary, but we’ve hired your successor, and need you to get him up to speed.

Welcome to Terron Armstead’s offseason with the Miami Dolphins, and ironically, it’s one the five-time Pro Bowl left tackle welcomed with open arms.

Even though Armstead contemplated retirement, and could have declined restructuring his salary, taking a $4.25 million paycut for this season, the 32-year old decided to continue playing, and intentionally remained in Miami because he’s got “unfinished business.”

“This is where I’m supposed to be,” Armstead said at the conclusion of Wednesday’s minicamp practice, which didn’t feature his participation because the 12-year veteran has annually skipped these offseason sessions, giving his body time to recuperate. “I love where we are as a team. I love the opportunity we have in front of us. We left a lot on the table last year and it’s time to finish.”

Armstead is referring to the belly flop the Dolphins as a team did in the closing stretch of the season, losing three of the season’s final five regular season games, which cost Miami the AFC East division title, and getting blown out 26-7 in Miami’s playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) stretches during NFL mandatory minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Terron Armstead (72) stretches during NFL mandatory minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Dolphins’ top ranked offense was flat and inconsistent during that stretch of games. Miami’s offense scored seven touchdowns in those four losses, which tarnished Miami’s statistical record-setting 2023 season.

This offseason’s team-wide focus has been on finishing strong in 2024, redeeming themselves, and ending the franchise’s 24-year streak of not winning a playoff game.

Armstead knows staying healthy, and being on the field for the majority, if not all of Miami’s regular season games in 2024, will certainly help because of how dominant he’s been the past two seasons when healthy.

“My approach, my mindset, this is definitely going to be my best season,” Armstead said. “I’m looking forward to having an All Pro year. I’m locked in. Throwing people out [of] the stadium. Going crazy. That’s our mindset up front [on the offensive line].”

To ensure he’s available to do that kind of work Armstead has altered his training routine, shifting it drastically from the things he’d do like sprints and gassers five years ago.

“I’m into more Pilates and yoga, body work,” said Armstead, who will be paid $10 million in 2026 if he plays in all 17 games. “Only thing I can do is control what I can control, and all the things I mentioned, nutrition, mobility, flexibility, strengthening. Everything science tells you [to do], and put my best foot forward. I go out there and play with physicality and violence, and we’re going to let it roll like that.”

At least for one more season in Miami.

While Armstead wouldn’t say this might be his final NFL season, he’s aware of how NFL teams conduct business, and realizes Miami drafted Patrick Paul in the second round of the 2024 NFL draft to eventually succeed him.

But that won’t stop Armstead from pouring into the 6-foot-7, 331 pound rookie the way Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs and Zach Strief and Drew Brees poured into him during his early days with the New Orleans Saints.

“I want to give him any and everything. Every tool that exists for him to be successful, and successful for a long time. That’s what I’m going to give him, and everyone else in that room,” Armstead said. “I’ve had a short time with Patrick so far and I’ve seen great things so far. Impressive, but got a lot to learn. A lot of areas to improve in. But you see it. You see the potential and you see why he’s here. Smart young man, but any and everything that I can possibly give, show, say, see it going to be offered to him.”

What’s the best advice Armstead’s given Paul so far?

“We’re not going to read the whole dictionary in one day. We’re going to take small wins,” Armstead added. “I gave him a couple of things to focus on everyday. Hands, knocking hands down, hand placement. Things to do with pads and feet take time. That’s a progression. But I told him I want to consistently see him win his [pass protection] set everyday.”