We're now almost exactly two months before the start of the 2021 NFL league year, but it's never too early to speculate and try to connect pending free agents with their new teams.
Pro Football Focus has done just that, with two interesting stories, one predicting the 2021 team of the analytics site's top 100 pending free agents and the other identifying one player each team should target in free agency.
The result was four interesting names connected to the Miami Dolphins.
Not surprisingly, all four of them are offensive players. They're also very recognizable names.
How about T.Y. Hilton, Aaron Jones, Le'Veon Bell and Allen Robinson?
Let's break it down.
It makes a lot of sense in different ways, being that Hilton would bring the kind of speed the current Dolphins wide receiver corps is lacking and that he played at Miami Springs High School and later Florida International University before entering the NFL as a third-round pick of the Colts in 2012.
Hilton has five career 1,000-yard receiving seasons, though the past two seasons have been his worst in terms of yardage.
"T.Y. Hilton gives them a deep threat that’s largely absent from the current group of wide receivers," Monson wrote. "At 31 years old, Hilton may never get back to his peak, but even now with Philip Rivers as his quarterback, he was able to scare defenses deep and change the way coverages approach the offense. Hilton being on the field for Miami would open things up for other receivers."
That said, he certainly could help the Dolphins offense — at the right price, of course.
That last disclaimer applies to every free agent obviously, but we felt the need to mention it at least once nonetheless.
Robinson came in as PFF's No. 3 pending free agent behind only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin.
The 2014 second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons, including each of the past two years playing for the mediocre Chicago Bears offense.
Robinson (6-2, 220) is a big-bodied receiver who would represent an upgrade at wide receiver even though he's similar to DeVante Parker and Preston Williams.
Aaron Jones was ranked as the 44th-best pending free agent by PFF and has been very productive after joining the Packers as a fifth-round pick in 2017, with 1,000-yard rushing seasons the past two years and 39 overall touchdowns the past three.
While it's easy to see the Packers wanting to hang on to Jones, it's important to remember they spent a second-round pick on running back A.J. Dillon in the 2020 NFL draft.
Finally, we move on to Bell, who the Dolphins pursued after he was released by the Jets during the 2020 season.
Bell has played a complementary role with the Kansas City Chiefs since choosing to sign with them and might be interested in trying to become a lead back again. PFF ranked him as the 87th-best pending free agent.
The NFL signing period for unrestricted free agents doesn't begin until March 17, so it's possible than any or all of them could be re-signed before then or could be tagged. For now, it makes for interesting speculation.
Oh, and on the flip side, the one Dolphins player ranked among the top 100 pending free agents was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who came in at number 18. PFF projected him to sign with the New England Patriots.