Maye Matters: Diving Into the Dolphins' New Acquisition

Veteran Marcus Maye gives new DC Anthony Weaver more options in the secondary
Safety Marcus Maye in the fourth quarter of a New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium last season.
Safety Marcus Maye in the fourth quarter of a New Orleans Saints game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium last season. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The addition of veteran Marcus Maye not only beefed up the Miami Dolphins depth at safety, it also provided new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver more options for alignments.

Very specifically, having Maye joining fellow veteran newcomer Jordan Poyer and returning Jevon Holland gives Weaver the ability to do something his old team, Baltimore Ravens, did with a lot of success last season: use three safeties extensively.

In fact, the Ravens used three safeties as much as any team in the NFL last season, as evidenced by tne numbers.

Baltimore's top three safeties last season — Kyle Hamilton, Geno Stone and Marcus Williams — played a combined 2,524 defensive snaps, which was the second-highest total in the league behind only the 2,610 for the Seattle Seahawks' trio of Quandre Diggs, Julian Love and Jamal Adams.

The Ravens also were one of only two teams that had three safeties play at least 600 defensive snaps last season, along with the Dallas Cowboys.

NEW LOOK FOR DOLPHINS DEFENSE

The Dolphins didn't use their safeties nearly that extensively last season, though Jevon Holland's knee issues and Brandon Jones' return from his 2022 ACL injury was a factor.

The Dolphins' top three safeties combined for 2,099 snaps last season — 928 for DeShon Elliott, 708 for Jevon Holland, and 463 for Jones.

But what the Dolphins have in 2024 essentially are three starting safeties with Holland, Maye and fellow veteran newcomer Jordan Poyer.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, it would make sense for Weaver to make full use of all of them, which means a lot of three-safety usage. Another factor is that the Dolphins don't have the same kind of established veteran at cornerback beyond their top two of Jalen Ramsey and Kendall Fuller.

To be sure, the Dolphins likely will offer a lot of different looks to opposing offenses in 2024, but the addition of Maye gives them a whole new option to explore.

MAYE THE CHOICE AMONG MANY SAFETY OPTIONS

Maye was far from the only safety option for the Dolphins once they decided to wanted to add another veteran because there were and remain a lot of big names on the market.

The list includes two of the aforementioned Seattle safeties, Adams and Diggs, along with Justin Simmons, Eddie Jackson, Micah Hyde, Tracy Walker, Jayron Kearse and Tashaun Gipson.

Simmons is the one who clearly stands out here, but this is where we point out that Simmons' cap number the past two seasons came in at north of $18 million, per overthecap.com, whereas Maye was under $3.5 million each of his two seasons with the Saints.

Of the non-Simmons safeties available, Maye was just as good — if not better — of an option as anybody else, especially if he can get back to his New York Jets form.


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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.