This new mailbag features your questions and my answers on Dolphins draft possibilities, the backup QB question and potential trade candidates
So here we go.
From Joe Tregellas (@JTrey65):
With Tua’s greatest strength being RPO, is it most critical to have a feared run game first and then surround him with guys that can get open quickly in short space or do they try to move Tua away from RPO?
Tua's greatest strength is his short-range accuracy, so finding guys to get open quickly certainly would be nice. It also would help if Tua would stop being so hesitant to throw 50-50 balls because the current make-up of the wide receiver corps is led by two big receivers who can make contested catches. It's not necessary so much to have a "feared run game," as opposed to one that opposing defense at least have to respect.
From Coach Peter (@SchOfBasketball):
What are some QBs later in the draft that would make sense for the Dolphins to serve as a developmental QB behind Tua and would fit with the offense we are creating for Tua?
Because teams usually carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, it's almost a wasted pick in my opinion to draft a quarterback in the later round unless there's a specific skill that would enable him at maybe some point to become a dependable backup, if not even starting-caliber. So for me I look at guys with unique physical attributes, even if they're raw, as opposed to more refined products who lack anything special. So give me the big arm and mobility of a guy like Kellen Monds, though I don't think the Dolphins would be able to get him past the second day of the draft.
From OGHighway (@OGHighWay):
If MIA was going to trade X, would they have done it by now? Grier and Flo have made it clear they will move any player as long as it's a good return. I have a hard time believing no one offered a good trade package for X after the season he had and having a tradable contract.
The one problem with your premise deals with Howard's contract, and his contract situation is pretty much the only reason at this point the Dolphins would even consider trading him. Yes, Howard has four years left on the new contract he signed in 2019, but he switched agents after last season and it's highly anticipated he's going to be looking for a new deal after Byron Jones passed him in annual pay last offseason. And Howard is going to want that new contract wherever he plays.
From Dave (@Stateman525):
What are the chances the Dolphins use a mid-round pick (that we would need to acquire since we don’t have many of those) to pick our backup QB?
Jacoby Brissett will be the Dolphins' backup quarterback in 2021, and the team will be revisiting that position next offseason. Do you really want to have a rookie fifth-round pick as your backup QB?
From John Fiorino (@jtwin17):
Is there anyone on this roster you see tradable come draft day, and what can you see getting in return?
The better question is whether anybody is un-tradable. The situation with Howard bears watching and he would fetch a big return (a first-round pick plus something else) if the Dolphins came to the conclusion his contract situation would become too much of an issue — not that I'm advocating for it. Beyond that, it would just be throwing out names. The one area where the Dolphins have a surplus is at wide receiver, but who do they have that other teams would want enough to give up assets for. DeVante Parker is the one name that obviously jumps out, but a pre-June 1 trade would leave a cap charge of more than $8 million, according to overthecap.com, as opposed to $2.7 million after June 1.
From Craig M (Dolfan2334):
Two questions- 1) who is a WR or RB people are sleeping on? 2) do you think Miami would be content to pick Waddle or Smith if need be or trade back again if QBs remain?
Answer to your first question is a prospect who's neither WR or RB but just a smallish and dynamic offensive weapon, and that's Demetric Felton from UCLA. He's similar in style, though, to Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr., so he might be redundant for the Dolphins. The one prospect totally under the radar I'm going to keep monitoring, though, is Washington CB Keith Taylor. I was blown away by how good his coverage was during the Senior Bowl game. Same for Elerson Smith, the long edge defender from Northern Iowa who gave big-time Jason Taylor vibes at the Senior Bowl. As for the second question, I absolutely think the Dolphins would engage teams in the top 10 (Carolina, Denver) about trading back a few spots but then would be fine with taking Waddle (and then Smith, my guess) if they can't find a trade partner.
From A-Rod the phinphan (@TheGreatPhinsby):
What grade would you give Miami off-season moves so far?
Interesting question and maybe a tad unfair because I think the focus of the offseason for the Dolphins clearly looks like it's the draft, so that grade should be higher in early May than now. But since you asked, I'd give it a C-plus because so many of the newcomers are complementary depth players or special teams players. While we can justify the decision to let Van Noy go because of his production versus his compensation, well, it still left a hole in the Dolphins defense — and that's not even addressing the question of why he was let go when he did for Miami what he had did for New England the previous three seasons. And while it probably was a necessary move if the Dolphins are committing for Tua Tagovailoa in 2021, losing Ryan Fitzpatrick did not help this team in the short term. Again, though, free agency is but one part of the offseason, so the best move here is to wait until May to get a clearer picture.