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Mike McDaniel says Dolphins made Odell Beckham Jr. an offer, assesses offseason so far

ORLANDO, Fla. — As the Miami Dolphins went through an offseason where they suffered critical losses of homegrown talent they drafted and developed, coach Mike McDaniel scoffed at any idea that 2024 is a reset season.

“I can tell you one thing,” McDaniel said at the annual NFL meeting Monday morning at the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Grande Lakes. “Every single player that was on the team last year and the year before and every single player that we’ve added this offseason and every single coach that we’ve added this offseason, their expectations are to help fulfill goals unaccomplished.

“Everybody’s expectations are extremely high. … Guys are very hungry to deliver on what they know, which is an opportunity to be on a team that has the ability to grow from what we’ve learned last year and what we’ve went through and have zero thought as to down, rebuilding, whatever those words are. That makes zero sense to me.”

McDaniel detailed the complications the team’s early offseason involved, navigating being well over the 2024 salary cap to reaching a point it could bring in established veteran free agents like safety Jordan Poyer, cornerback Kendall Fuller and edge defender Shaquil Barrett amid losing key players in free agency.

“I think we found really good players that want to play for the Miami Dolphins organization,” McDaniel said. “We had a lot of holes to fill.”

They’re not done adding, either.

McDaniel said the Dolphins made an offer to former superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he visited over the past week.

The coach said conversations between Beckham and the team are ongoing.

“Business takes time, especially with players such as Odell, who’s had a phenomenal career, still has really good football in front of him and has options,” McDaniel said. “I think those conversations will be ongoing. We’ll see where they go. … I’m definitely ready to coach him if we can come to an agreement. And I think both sides are trying to work toward that. We’ll see what happens.”

McDaniel said that the offseason is not nearly complete after the initial wave of free agency, with more free agents to be added before the late April draft, rookies to be brought in from the draft and then moves to be made in the latter portions of the offseason.

McDaniel says the Dolphins wanted to retain defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, although the team was unable to keep him from signing a lucrative contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. He admitted the salary-cap limitations played a role in losing him and talented right guard Robert Hunt.

“It all comes back to the fact that there’s a finite salary cap,” McDaniel said, “and sometimes, we can’t be the kid spending the money. We have to be the parents that have to look at our budget and make sure we can pay the water bill.

“We’ve never doubted Christian as a player, but you have to make some tough decisions when you’re thinking about the whole scope of the team. It’s a lot more difficult than, ‘We want all of the best players.’… You either want to be able to retain every player that you have or you want to see them have a grassy meadow, the opportunity to go and fulfill their dream elsewhere.”

McDaniel reiterated what general manager Chris Grier has said: The team offered Wilkins a fair extension the previous offseason, but the defensive tackle decided to bet on himself in 2023 and increased his stock after compiling a career-high nine sacks.

The coach noted Wilkins and Hunt established significant relationships in Miami that will last with both sides.

“It wasn’t like it was easy for them to leave. The relationships that they were leaving, the emotion that they had in the building on a day that is celebratory for most. I think that’s what I want to stay connected to; it’s relationships above all else and transparency. Sometimes, when business doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean relationships have to be fractured.”

On the topic of one player the Dolphins want to stay in Miami long term, McDaniel said he expects quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to be with the Dolphins during organized team activities as he and the franchise work through the lengthy process of contract extension talks.

“The contracts and contract negotiations, those things take time,” McDaniel said. “I do expect Tua to be at OTAs, only because of my working relationship with Tua. … Part of the reason Tua is who he is, is because he’s always learning, never staying the same and always working on his craft. The one thing that he likes to do now in his life, besides be a kick-ass dad to Ace and Mazey (his children), is play football with his teammates.”

McDaniel also said after giving thought to delegating play-calling duties this offseason, he’s going to call plays in the spring and will plan to continue into the fall, but he’s ready to adjust at any moment.

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