The Miami Dolphins didn’t make a trade at the deadline, so what’s next?

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The 2021 trade deadline has come and gone without the Miami Dolphins making a move despite being in on Deshaun Watson for the last few months (and maybe still being in on him for the future).

Now, the Dolphins sit at 1-7 entering Week 9 with no hopes of quality reinforcements coming from outside their organization. Will Fuller and Michael Dieter may come back from injured reserve and help the offense, but there won’t be many significant changes made beyond that.

There are nine games left on Miami’s schedule for this campaign, and this is when they need to be in evaluation mode. They need to find out what they have in the players that are currently on their roster and the coaches that are in their offices.

Tua Tagovailoa is probably the most important question the team has at this point. He’s been up-and-down this year, but he’s still just 14 starts into his NFL career. In these next nine games, he needs to show his potential. If he passes the tests, Miami may stay clear from more Watson conversations in the offseason, but that’s a big if.

The Dolphins have 17 unrestricted free agents that they will have to either re-sign or let walk including Mike Gesicki, Emmanuel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts, Will Fuller, Jason McCourty, Durham Smythe, and more.

Gesicki and Ogbah are having really good seasons, so it would make sense that they are both back, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the rest of those names depart.

This is also a time to learn what you have in this coaching staff. Brian Flores has received a lot of criticism for his decision-making, attitude, and staff construction. Can he, defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, co-offensive coordinator George Godsey, and the rest of the coaches teach, motivate, and make adjustments that are beneficial for the future?

There hasn’t been a lot this year that leads to the belief that those things are possible, but there is time left in this season to turn it around. It took eight games for the feelings to completely flip on the coaches, they have nine to flip them back.