This past year, the Miami Dolphins functioned far beyond the “Tank for Tua” narrative. Five wins, and still, they managed to acquire the Alabama star. And that’s not the only surprising turn of events seen this Dolphins offseason. Offensively, the team is set up with a number of possible storylines heading into the 2020 NFL Season.
In all of the uncertainty of the upcoming year, due to the international COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is for certain—the Dolphins’ roster overhaul is looking pretty spectacular, having cleaned up plenty of the league’s forsaken sloppy seconds.
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5. Mike Gesicki Has Potential For a Serious Breakout Year
If Mike Gesicki proved anything in his four years at Penn State, it’s his ability to improve with age. His two seasons with the Dolphins give little reason to believe otherwise, and 2020 just might be his breakout year. Fantasy players—this guy might just be your TE2 steal.
Currently situated at the top of the depth chart, Gesicki has a lot to offer. His sleeper status can be attributed to his few starts—12 in two years—but as Durham Smythe and Michael Roberts have been primarily used as blockers, Gesicki is the lone impact receiving tight end.
Like a fine wine, Gesicki will likely continue to strengthen Miami’s receiving corps for years to come and is slated to get even more field time in 2020.
4. Jordan Howard is Positioned for a Comeback
Coming off a shoulder injury, Jordan Howard has a lot to prove in his first year with Miami. The former Bears standout hasn’t surpassed 1,000 rushing yards since 2017, but this year could throw a wrench in that narrative.
Due for a breakout, Howard will likely begin the 2020 season splitting carries with former 49er Matt Breida, but Howard’s running style is far more conducive to a high-volume workload. While Howard brings the thunder, Breida will become the far more scarce lightning.
And if the goal is to employ a running back who can out-rush Ryan Fitzpatrick, Howard is the guy for the job. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect at least 1000 yards from the five-year vet.
3. The Dolphins Aren’t Quite Ready for Tua
And speaking of rushing, whether or not wunderkind Tua Tagovailoa is ready to play in his rookie year, it’s been made apparent that the Dolphins intend to start the veteran Fitzpatrick when the 2020 season kicks off.
Entering his 16th NFL season, Fitzmagic has shown few signs of slowing down. In his first year as a Miami Dolphin in 2019, he led the team in rushing yards. He’ll be captaining the team as the oldest QB in the division by a landslide, and while Fitzpatrick told the South Florida Sun-Sentinal that he’s Tua’s “biggest cheerleader,” he knows he’s not done yet.
Coming off a hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture, Tagovailoa is unlikely to see the field in any rushed manner. The fifth-overall draftee has been heralded as the future of the team, but in an effort to avoid any Carson Wentz-like situations, the ‘fins will likely use this time to capitalize on Fitzpatrick’s capabilities as a mentor, and save Tua from any early-career dangers.
2. Josh Rosen Might Not Be a Total Waste
So where does all of this leave Josh Rosen? The 2018 Cardinals draftee may have had an embarrassing showing in Miami last season, but not all is lost. With Tagovailoa’s injury and Fitzpatrick’s age in mind, Rosen seems to be the best quarterback to show in preseason.
The former UCLA Bruin and 10th overall draft pick has left much to be desired in his professional career. Still, it’s too early to count Rosen out as a formidable backup quarterback with the proper mentorship, which he can continue to receive from Fitzpatrick.
A productive preseason could make Rosen an extremely marketable trade prospect, and position the Dolphins for more potential profit.
1. The Dolphins Have Effectively Dismembered the AFC East
The Dolphins’ fancy offseason footwork hasn’t been solely about acquiring the best players. Much can be attributed to the specific advantages of plucking talent from cohorts in the AFC East.
New England’s Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, and Ted Karras are no small acquisitions, and Shaq Lawson was a steal from the Bills when they failed to exercise an extension on their 2016 first-round draftee.
The Patriots are a bundle of question marks. The Bills, a delightful wild card. The Jets have used the offseason to prove themselves bold. By strengthening themselves, and weakening the division simultaneously, the Dolphins have given their faithful hope to surprise again.