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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins best bet may be to wait and franchise Landry

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Richard C.Lewis/Icon Sportswire

Sooner or later the Dolphins are going to have to submit some kind of a new contract offer to two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Right?

Landry is part of the Dolphins core, after all, and every other member of that core whose contract was slated to expire within the next year has been taken care of. Right?

Right. The Dolphins signed fellow wideout Kenny Stills, safety Reshad Jones, linebacker Kiko Alonso and defensive end Andre Branch to extensions earlier this offseason.

As coach Adam Gase put it, they did so as part of an effort to, in essence, do what was right by their key players as well as the team by wrapping them up for the long term.

Landry has to be next. Right? After all, he is the Dolphins “best player on offense.’’ Those were Gase’s words, spoken last November and nothing has happened on that side of the ball since to change that.

So why is that the Dolphins still haven’t even offered Landry a contract, much less signed him to the new extensions that will keep him in Miami for years to come?

Well, obviously money has something to do with it, and the fact Landry is due to earn just $893,852 this year is probably at the core of the Dolphins decision making. Meanwhile, as we wrote previously, Landry and his agent have made it clear they want they deal done before week one or else.

Think about it. The Dolphins have a few options here. They can sign Landry to an extension now, which will be quite pricey indeed, likely in the neighborhood of $56 million depending on the length of the deal.

They can also wait and see how well Landry plays in a contract year, which could prove financially beneficial if Landry has a down year or gets hurt, which is an outcome no one wants.

That’s financially risky, of course, but not as risky as you might think because even if Landry has another big season, the parameters of whatever long-term deal he signs won’t change all that much.

Landry is believed to be looking for a deal that pays an average of about $14 million a year, and in the wake of a third-straight Pro Bowl caliber year that asking price would probably only increase by about $1 million.

That’s why the best option for the Dolphins may be to simply wait until next spring when, even in the wake of another big year, they can slap the franchise tag on him and get him for a bargain again.

How? Simple. The cost of franchising Landry a year from now will be approximately $17 million. Given that he’ll earn less than $1 million this year, the Dolphins can get Landry for two years at about $8.5 million.

That’s well below market value and while such a move could disrupt the harmony that so far exists between Landry and the Dolphins, it’s a sound fiscal move the Dolphins have to consider.

Don’t be surprised then if Landry’s self-imposed deadline for getting a deal done – which he’s set at the Sept. 10 season opener – passes without the Dolphins even making an offer.

That would somewhat fly in the face of the Dolphins supposed desire to do what’s right for their core players by wrapping them up for the long term, but from a business standpoint, it makes all kinds of good sense.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Miami Dolphins

Looks like Tua Tagovailoa will work out for teams prior to draft

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There will be numerous NFL teams interested, including the Dolphins, on just how healthy injured Alabama star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is. And, a report on Wednesday says that Tua will likely be ready to throw for teams later in the offseason draft process.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that “NFL quarterback super-agent” Leigh Steinberg and his firm are letting teams know that Tagovailoa’s injured hip should be healed enough for him to be able to throw in early April prior to the NFL Draft at the end of the month:

This will be especially important for teams like the Dolphins, who will be selecting fifth currently in the upcoming selection process.

Tagovailoa came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.

Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.

In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.

As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.

However, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering the hip injury on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and their recent Citrus Bowl win over Michigan two weeks due to the injury.

Typically, players participate in some kind of individual workout or pro day, but as Rappaport relayed, most teams already know what Tagovailoa can do from his previous two seasons at Alabama. The bigger concern is his health and specifically his mobility, as he progresses through the summer and into the first NFL training camp and preseason of his career.

It is believed the Tagovailoa is the second, or at worst third rated, quarterback behind LSU Heisman Trophy winning National Championship QB Joe Burrow. Burrow is expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in late April.

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Miami Dolphins

Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?

Florida Football Insiders

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Winslow Townson- USA Today Sports

On Sunday night, the Dolphins finally decided to allow first-year defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to leave and take the same position with the New York Giants. And, coach Brian Flores moved quickly to promote a member of his staff, Josh Boyer, to be his defensive play-caller

So exactly who is former New England assistant that will now be in charge Miami’s defensive unit? More on him in a moment.

First, as we wrote, Miami had wavered Saturday night and Sunday on whether to let Graham go to the Giants to be with new head coach, Joe Judge, creating an important void. Graham was only being given a “lateral move” to New York, and Miami could have continued to block him. But, in the end, Flores had someone he could trust already on staff.

That’s Boyer, who has just completed his 14th season in the NFL, all previously in New England and then, obviously, his first with the Fins after coming with Flores last February.

Boyer’s background is as a secondary coach and specifically, working with cornerbacks. He held that job for his last seven seasons in New England 2012 – 18 and was part of three Super Bowl championships under Bill Belichick.

Boyer deserves credit for helping the development of defensive backs like Malcolm Butler, who sealed Super Bowl 49 win over the Seahawks with his famous goal-line interception of Russell Wison in the final half minute of the game. Boyer also worked closely with Pro Bowlers Logan Ryan and more recently, Stephon Gilmore, who iced Super Bowl 53 win last February with a late INT against the Rams.

This past year was obviously a trying one for the Dolphins defensively, as they finished 32nd in scoring and 30th in overall in defense. But Boyer cannot be judged too much, given the cornerbacks he was working with, especially late in the year.

He had his best player, former number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, traded away in the first month to the Steelers. Miami also lost veteran Bobby McCain to injury later in the year and had a depleted secondary at the very end of the season.

However, Boyer (shown above with DB Eric Rowe after his week 17 pick six of Tom Brady) obviously impressed Flores and GM Chris Grier with his coaching to get the promotion.

And, he’s following a similar path as Flores, who worked his way up from secondary coach to defensive coordinator with the Pats.

Now, we’ll see if Miami can bolster their defensive backfield this off sesaon.

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