May 25, 2024

Three offseason moves the Dolphins must make

While the 2024 NFL Draft is officially behind us, teams are in the process of rounding out their rosters in preparation for training camp.

The Miami Dolphins have already agreed to terms with free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but they must make three more moves to avoid another one-and-done playoff appearance. 

Sign guard Dalton Risner

Despite having a glaring need for a guard due to Robert Hunt’s departure, Miami didn’t address the position in the draft. The Dolphins could ultimately decide to start Isaiah Wynn and Robert Jones at their two guard spots, though they’ll surely look to add competition through the free-agent market. Risner, a 2019 second-round pick, could be a valuable addition to the team.

After not signing with a team during free agency, Risner inked a one-year deal with Minnesota ahead of Week 3 last season, becoming a key piece on the Vikings offensive line down the stretch. In 15 games, including 11 starts, Risner allowed 30 total pressures but didn’t surrender a sack.

It’s worth noting that Risner’s history with Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper, dating back to his Denver Broncos days, played a role in his signing last season. Interestingly enough, Risner also played under Dolphins O-line coach Butch Barry in Denver, which could convince him to sign with Miami if he enjoyed the experience. 

Extend safety Jevon Holland 

Miami could’ve signed defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to a contract extension last offseason but decided the price was too high. Of course, that proved to be a mistake, as Wilkins had a career-high nine sacks in 2023 and signed a four-year, $110M deal with the Raiders earlier this offseason. 

Dolphins GM Chris Grier can’t afford to make a similar mistake with Holland, another budding star defender entering the final season of his deal. Even though teams are typically less inclined to extend safeties due to the position’s value, Holland is the type of talent worthy of receiving a massive extension. 

After collecting 165 tackles, four interceptions and 17 pass breakups over his first two seasons, Holland emerged as one of the league’s top safeties in 2023. Across 12 games, the 24-year-old made 74 tackles, four pass breakups and one interception while allowing a career-low 10.9 yards per reception in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Holland was the third-highest-graded safety in the NFL last season (90.4), ranking fourth at the position in coverage (89.9) and 11th tackling (84). 

Sign defensive back Patrick Peterson

The Dolphins would benefit from adding depth to their defensive backfield after cutting cornerback Xavien Howard and losing safety Brandon Jones in free agency. Although he’s not the lockdown cornerback he once was, Peterson believes he has “a lot left in the tank,” and his versatility could compensate for the loss of Howard and Jones.

Last season, Peterson racked up 42 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups for the Steelers, splitting time on the boundary, in the slot and at safety. While the eight-time Pro Bowler prefers not to start at safety, he’d be willing to if his new team told him that’d be his role in advance. Perhaps getting an opportunity to return to his home state would make the Pompano Beach native even more open to playing safety.

Additionally, like Risner, Peterson has a connection to a member of the Dolphins coaching staff in Ryan Slowik, the team’s defensive backs/pass game specialist. Slowik served several roles with the Arizona Cardinals during Peterson’s first four seasons with the team, including as defensive assistant/defensive backs coach in 2013 and 2014. During those two seasons, Peterson was named to the Pro Bowl twice and earned one first-team All-Pro selection.