Home Sports Once the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa agree to a monster contract extension, what will Miami look like?

Once the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa agree to a monster contract extension, what will Miami look like?

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(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

The Miami Dolphins find themselves in a strange situation for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations just a season ago. Their roster still has great talent at the top, but the Dolphins had to reorganize due to cap space limitations. Star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and steady offensive guard Robert Hunt are leaving for new teams, along with other starters Andrew Van Ginkel and Brandon Jones. The 2024 season should still have lofty goals as long as Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill are healthy, but this season will also have major ramifications on the franchise’s future.

Tagovailoa’s eventual contract extension with the team is on the way and this season will go a long way toward identifying future supporting pieces that will stick around once the Dolphins adjust to life with Tagovailoa’s contract on the books. Mike McDaniel faces arguably his toughest test as Dolphins head coach this season as they restructure the roster with a salary cap increase for Tagovailoa. The wins are nice, but there are personnel questions the Dolphins must answer long-term in the upcoming season.

Miami was without two of its best defensive players during the final stretch of the season. Edge rushers Bradley Chubb (ACL) and Jaelan Phillips (Achilles) suffered season-ending injuries late in the season. The Dolphins were able to put up a good defense statistically when those two were on the field. Understandably, they had a hard time being so consistent with Phillips and Chubb gone.

Chubb’s contract becomes pretty easy to buy out in the offseason. Phillips needs an extension depending on how he recovers from the injury.

It would be ideal for both of them to return to form, but the Dolphins spent a first-round pick on running back Chop Robinson for a reason. This situation is unstable enough to require insurance.

Speaking of Robinson, his selection and offensive tackle Patrick Paul in the second round continued the team’s onslaught of low-floor, high-potential picks. It’s the kind of risk the Dolphins can take because they still have the overall talent to flirt with a playoff berth.

Robinson did not have ton of production at Penn State, but he is a younger prospect at 21 years old and showed incredible athleticism running the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds at this year’s NFL scouting combine. He doesn’t need to be the leader in the pass rush room just yet, but it will be important to show positive flashes as Chubb and Phillips work to recover.

Paul has the potential to be a 10-year starter. He will need time to pick up speed while you work on his technique. It may not be the prettiest rookie season for him, but the Dolphins need to keep him on the line and allow him to get reps so he can develop his game. Paul has the inside track to be the starting right tackle. His best football is ahead.

If Paul were a ready-made product, he would have been selected higher than the end of the second round. Still, this is a pick, like Robinson, that can pay dividends in the future.

Although Hill has been a near-record-setting player in the Dolphins’ offense, Miami still relies on a strong running game. The Dolphins do it a different way than most teams, putting their running backs in space instead of being heavy runners between the tackles. It’s a central part of their offense. They showed their confidence in a strong running game when they traded a future third-round pick to move up the roster. four round to select Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright.

Wright joins star running back De’Von Achane as the youngsters in the Dolphins’ backfield, with veteran Raheem Mostert a steady presence to lean on for at least one more season. The long-term vision for this running back room is for Wright and Achane to be the speed duo McDaniel needs to put up big chunks of yards at a time on the ground.

Wright probably landed in the perfect offense to make the most of his abilities, and it will be interesting to see how much he plays into Achane’s carries given some of the injury issues Achane had as a rookie.

If Achane and Wright can be who the Dolphins project them to be, they will have a chance to remain a super-explosive offense in the post-Hill world of the future. Either way, it’s good for this team to be able to run the ball.

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 18: Tennessee Volunteers running back Jaylen Wright (0) runs with the ball during a college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 18, 2023, at the Neyland Stadium, in Knoxville, TN. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright impressed the Dolphins with his speed. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This is really the last thing the Dolphins have to figure out for themselves in 2024. Everyone knows they can score and everyone knows they will be one of the best offenses in the league for most of the season. However, Tagovailoa needs to prove that he can carry more of the load on his own. He still finds himself in one of the most advantageous setups in the NFL, even as the Dolphins go through a transition along the offensive line.

They’re going to pay you anyway. How he develops as an offensive initiator and overall playmaker will go a long way toward making people trust him as the Dolphins prepare for big cap hits to start hitting the books.

Everything else is manageable. Tagovailoa has some room for improvement and a legacy to build if he can perform admirably during this transitional year for the Dolphins.

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