The Miami Dolphins took a more modest approach to this offseason compared to last year, and focused on adding mostly complementary players.
Given the players they gained and lost since the 2020 regular season, it's fair to wonder whether the Dolphins are better or worse now — or somewhere in between.
Let's break it down by position, starting with the offense.
Offseason moves: Signed Jacoby Brissett as an unrestricted free agent from Indianapolis ... lost Ryan Fitzpatrick as a UFA from Washington ... declined to extend a qualifying offer to exclusive-rights free agent Jake Rudock, making him an unrestricted free agent (remains unsigned)
Summary: The big swap here was bringing in Brissett to replace Fitzpatrick, and based on what we saw the past two seasons it's almost impossible to call this anything but a downgrade from a pure ability standpoint. However, there's something to be said for not having Fitzpatrick lurking over Tua Tagovailoa's shoulder anymore. That said, since we're evaluating whether the Dolphins are better or worse in terms of personnel, this was a slight step back.
Verdict: Slightly worse
Offseason moves: Signed Malcolm Brown as a unrestricted free agent from the L.A. Rams ... lost Matt Breida as a UFA to Buffalo ... DeAndre Washington became an unrestricted free agent (still unsigned)
Summary: The addition of Brown is one of those that might be a sneaky-good move because he's not a big name, but he's an efficient running back and he also brings something that was missing from the running back corps, and that's a physical style. Breida pretty much was a non-factor last year after being acquired for a fifth-round pick and same for Washington after he was acquired for a late-round pick.
Offseason moves: Signed Will Fuller V as an unrestricted free agent from Houston ... signed Robert Foster as a free agent ... re-signed Mack Hollins as a UFA ... declined to tender restricted free agent Isaiah Ford, making him an unrestricted free agent (still unsigned).
Summary: The addition of Fuller was the most significant at any position for the Dolphins this offseason, and he'll bring a much-needed element of speed to the wide receiver position. Foster also is very fast, but he's had limited success on offense, though he could contribute on special teams as a gunner. It's in that role that Hollins made his mark with the Dolphins last season and being able to re-sign him was good for the special teams. This was a positive offseason all around for the position, and we're not even including the return of Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson after they opted out in 2020.
Verdict: Much better
Offseason moves: Signed Cethan Carter as an unrestricted free agent from Cincinnati.
Summary: Think of the signing of Carter as similar to that of safety Clayton Fejedelem last offseason in that both came from the Bengals with an extensive background on special teams. Given that Carter's impact on offense figures to be minimal, this is pretty much the status quo for the Dolphins.
Offseason moves: Signed C Matt Skura as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore ... lost C Ted Karras as a UFA to New England ... declined to tender T Adam Pankey as a restricted free agent but later re-signed him ... lost T Julien Davenport as a UFA to Indianapolis.
Summary: The center position always was going to be the focal point in free agency because the Dolphins signed Karras only to a one-year deal last offseason. The expectation for a while was that the Dolphins would end up with either Karras or David Andrews, but it ended up that both of them signed with New England. Skura has the potential of being a good replacement, but only if he can go back to his 2019 form before he sustained a very serious knee injury because his performance last season was ranked 34th among 36 centers by Pro Football Focus. Karras was 17th. The loss of Davenport was fairly insignificant considering he played only 52 snaps on offense in 2020.
Verdict: Slightly worse