No, the Dolphins shouldn’t regret outcome of 2020 spending spree

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Kyle Crabbs
·2 min read
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The Miami Dolphins reverted back to some poor habits with their decision to go on a free agency spending spree in 2020 — the team aggressively added talent in an effort to kickstart their rebuilding process and, sure enough, the Dolphins were able to double their win total in Year 2 under Brian Flores and continue to develop many of their young, promising talents.

But the shine on the team’s free agency class of 2020 has already worn completely off — because the Dolphins are cutting ties with their headline signings left and right just one year later. Miami cut RB Jordan Howard in season. In March, we learned that LB Kyle Van Noy would join him. DE Shaq Lawson was promptly traded to Houston. And now OG Ereck Flowers has been dealt as well.

In all, those four members of the Dolphins’ 2020 roster were paid over $45.5M for their services.

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But despite that costly sum, the Dolphins shouldn’t feel a single ounce of regret for their decisions in the 2020 offseason. No team is ever going to bat 1.000 with their personnel decisions and for a then 5-11 Miami Dolphins team, kickstarting your rebuild by competing in free agency only further amplified how costly such an approach was going to be. But ultimately someone had to play left guard for the young 2020 Miami Dolphins. And if Miami wasn’t going to convince players to come into town for a realistic shot at a championship, financials inevitably had to play a part.

But here’s where the moves by GM Chris Grier are different than the moves past regimes have made — and why Miami should have no regrets:

Flowers is the first Dolphins player of the bunch to be traded and provide Miami with a major dead-cap figure for the 2021 season. Miami, in all, totals $13.5M in dead cap for 2021 as things currently stand. Half of that number ($6M) comes directly from Miami’s agreement to restructure Flowers with a signing bonus upon trading him to Washington to clear him off the books.

The Dolphins paid handsomely for talent, but they’re not helplessly clinging to contracts because they don’t have to fear the long-term cap ramifications of going a different direction. And the Dolphins got twice as many wins as they got in 2019 for their money — a total of 10 that in just about any other NFL season would have been good for a trip to the postseason.

There’s not much else you could have asked for in Year 2 of a rebuild, even if you had to spend big to get there.