Dolphins Sunday Mailbag: Tua, Campbell, Aiyuk, and More

How many defensive linemen need to be kept? Is the team's fan base the most loyal in the NFL? Tackling those and other Miami Dolphins issues.
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell after the Atlanta Falcons' victory against against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the 2023 season opener.
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell after the Atlanta Falcons' victory against against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the 2023 season opener. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Part 2 of a weekend Miami Dolphins mailbag:

From Rick (@rick7Phin):

Hey Alain, It’s Rick from Australia. Love the podcast. Do you think there is any chance we sign Connor Williams now he has declared he will be fit for the start of the season. Thank God we don’t hear “tough titty says the kitty ” just joking, miss Omar off this pod.

Hey Rick, if indeed Connor Williams can be ready for the start of the 2024 season, he’d make a great addition to any team, but given that he didn’t get the contract extension he wanted from the Dolphins and then lost a significant amount of money when he got hurt in his contract year, I’d have to think that all things being equal, he’d want to go somewhere else. That said, if the opportunity arose, the Dolphins would be crazy not to re-sign him at the right price.

From Prince-Bishop Militantly Aardvark (@MilitantlyA):

Alright, Obi Wan Poupart, what Jedi mind trick did you use on Calais Campbell? What are the Dolphins going to do with all that spare cash, including the millions freed up by signing Padawan Tua? Are we going to form a brute squad by re-signing Connor Williams?

Hey PBMA, can’t say I’m a “Star Wars” fans on the same level as you, though I did get the references. Getting Campbell to sign at the veteran minimum was completely awesome, but I wouldn’t assume the Dolphins will be spending the remainder of their cap space anytime soon. As for Williams, it’s going to have to be a two-way street here and the Dolphins might have some mending to do after what went down last spring and summer.

From Roger Dodger (@RogerDolfan):

No playoff wins for the last 23 years. Ross ownership 2009 zero playoff wins, 6 winning seasons. Grier joins Fins 2000 GM 2016 zero playoff wins 10 winning seasons out of 23. Ross purchase Fins 1.1 bil team, now worth 6.5 bil. Grier worth 23 mil. Is this one big grift?

Hey Roger, no. Ross and Grier want to win as much as the next guy. You can criticize their work/performance all you want, but I wouldn’t be questioning their motives.

From Jason Kirkland (@1bigdad424):

Warner (Rams), Montana and Aikman are all HOF QBs. All had great supporting casts. None had crazy physical traits. However, when their greatness is mentioned, nobody says "supporting casts." Why does this seem to only happen to Tua? Those O-lines were good/great, Miami average.

Hey Jason, I can’t speak for everybody else, but here’s what I would tell you for me — the other three QBs you mentioned had signature moments in big games down the stretch or in the playoffs. That’s what separates them from Tua at the moment and I also would take exception to Aikman, who actually had a very good arm. But, sure, every good quarterback generally has a good supporting cast and then it comes down to how much the lifting the QB is doing for the offense. And there you can debate all you want how much of the Dallas offense was Aikman vs. the O-line, Emmitt, Irvin and Harper, how much was it Montana vs. the O-line, Craig, Rice, Jones and Taylor, and how much was it Warner vs. Faulk, Holt and Bruce and then Warner vs. Boldin and Fitzgerald?

From Jeff (via email):

Hello Alain, watching the tape, I honestly see Aiyuk as a better WR than Deebo. He plays a bit more like Steve Smith than any other receiver I've seen since. That being said, he's actually available, knows the scheme, and he likely has a jump start on any WR we could draft. If, keyword being there being if, Hill isn't on the roster in 2 years in Miami, would it make sense now for Miami to trade for Aiyuk and have Waddle + Aiyuk as the future tandem and what would your offer be if you had to make one? Secondly, Is the necessity on having one WR matched with one rookie WR the key here for long-term success of an offense?

Hey Jeff, I hear what you’re saying and there’s some validity to it, but I still have a hard time seeing the 49ers trading him. It probably would take a first-round pick to get him, I would think. And, no, you don’t need to have a rookie starter at wide receiver to go along with your high-paid stars, but it’s also difficult to maintain a top roster if you’re spending a ton of money on your two starting WRs.

From Brian Z (via email):

The NFL top 100 just came out. It has Tua ranked as the 11th best QB in the league. I know you also rank him outside the top 10. My thought is that he is a top 10 QB. The biggest reason I would place Tua ahead of some others ranked higher than him on the NFL list (and most likely your list) is his leadership ability. I have a few QBs that others rank highly that don't seem to exude the qualities I would want for the leader of my team.  No specific names will be drawn through the mud, but the off-field drug issues, "look at me" craving attention seekers, lack of energy, lack of fire, bad attitude, teammates that dislike them, or don't seem to want to play with them have me putting Tua higher on my list.  I get it that his on-field play may not quite be top tier, but as a complete package I have him in my top 10. What are your thoughts? Do you base your rankings purely on talent? Is there a chance that you would consider moving Tua up as a complete package? On the flip side, is there a chance Tua hurts his standings just a bit by holding out in any way (not a good look as a leader in my opinion)?

Hey Brian, I think this notion that there’s a great difference in leadership between QBs is overblown. Besides a certain quarterback who tends to wander in the offseason, I think most QBs are good leaders, so that is not really a factor in my own personal rankings. And I wouldn’t hold it against Tua to hold out, though I don’t see him doing it for very long because it can get very costly (though it can be recouped through a large extension). And I think if you ask most of us who cover the Dolphins to name the leader on offense, I think you’d find the most common answers would be Terron Armstead and Tyreek Hill, maybe Raheem Mostert third. Oh, and to answer the main question, Tua deliver strong performances (not necessarily wins) against playoff-caliber opponents would move him up my personal QB rankings and I would imagine those of most national analysts.

From Thomas Hudson (via email):

Hi Alain, not sure what the mailbag schedule looks like while the players are away, but I have a question about a former Dolphin. Have you heard anything about what Ogbah might do? I always thought they overpaid him and created unreasonable expectations. And then he got hurt, and then didn't fit in with Fangio. But he seemed to handle it like a pro. I have been hoping he might be back under a more reasonable contract, but that hasn't happened.

Hey Thomas, that’s a good question and I’m very surprised that no team has signed Ogbah at this time. While I agree he might have been overpaid on his final extension, understand it came after he had great success in Brian Flores’ scheme.

From Brandon Quinn (via email):

Saw a take recently that the only fan bases a guy should respect are those of longtime irrelevant franchises. And it got me thinking about how you have a multi-day weekly mailbag from our fans despite us not winning a playoff game since I was 10. And that made me proud! Question is, what, if any, other fan base should be prouder? The Vikings maybe? Cus I don’t think it gets worse than being a mid-30-year-old Dolphins fan, too young for prime Marino.  … I love the Campbell signing. It obviously bolsters our line, run and rush wise. But I was hoping it also allows us to keep only 4 at DT and maybe saves the roster spot of a more upside fringe guy than Hand/Pili/Jones (I’m putting Tart on the roster). Thinking EzE/Fortson or Kion Smith/Cotton get saved? Is that a possibility, or will it def be 5 at DT in your mind?

Hey Brandon, I think we need to use the term D-linemen instead of DT when talking about Campbell and differentiating them from the edge defenders like Chop, Chubb and Phillips. That said, I still think the Dolphins will go with five defensive linemen even after the addition of Campbell, even though they carried four last season. I think the Dolphins don’t have to overload their IDLs the way they did with Sieler and Wilkins last season. As for fan base, not sure how to answer that because I’m so Dolphins-focused, but I do give props to those who have stuck with the team through the long playoff win drought.

From Charles Boyd (@Charlie00WB):

Alain, Miami seems to take much longer to get their draft picks into the lineup, but always seems to have at least one undrafted free agent playing. Is that a function of the types of players that they draft or is it coaching style or something else?

Hey Charles, I think we might be fooled by the recent drafts where the Dolphins didn’t have a first-round pick — or in 2022, a first or a second. If you go back to just 2021, the team’s top four picks — Waddle, Phillips, Holland, Eichenberg — all got into the lineup pretty quickly, so I’m not sure I see a trend there. And Achane also got a lot of action last season, too. As for UDFAs, yes, the Dolphins have had some success there, but I’m not sure it’s more significant than other teams.

From Brad (@dolphinsgm2019):

What will it take $ to re-sign C Williams?

Hey Brad, my guess is it’s going to take probably a lot more significant amount that Williams gets offered anywhere else — because of what happened last year.

From Hungrier Than A Moth On A Nylon Sweater (@AHungrier):

Will the Dolphins suck this year?

The Dolphins have their nucleus back from an 11-6 team, added Beckham and Jonnu on offense, Campbell and Kendall Fuller on defense, so why would they suck? No, I don’t see that happening at all.


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Alain Poupart

ALAIN POUPART

Alain Poupart is the publisher/editor of All Dolphins and co-host of the All Dolphins Podcast. Alain has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989 for various publications and media outlets, including Dolphin Digest, The Associated Press, the Dolphins team website, and the Fan Nation Network (part of Sports Illustrated). In addition to being a credentialed member of the Miami Dolphins press corps, Alain has covered three Super Bowls (for NFL.com, Football News and the Montreal Gazette), the annual NFL draft, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Scouting Combine. During his almost 40 years in journalism, which began at the now-defunct Miami News, Alain has covered practically every sport at one time or another, from tennis to golf, baseball, basketball and everything in between. The career also included time as a copy editor, including work on several books such as "Still Perfect," an inside look at the Miami Dolphins' 1972 perfect season. A native of Montreal, Canada, whose first language is French, Alain grew up a huge hockey fan but soon developed a love for all sports, including NFL football. He has lived in South Florida since the 1980s.