Dolphins Prepared to Play Waiting Game at Position of Need: Report

Dolphins "conveyed" interest in starting free agent guards but could wait until after NFL draft to make signing.

Getty A Miami Dolphins report suggests that the team will wait until the NFL draft to address a big roster hole.

The Miami Dolphins still have a likely opening on the offensive line after losing right guard Robert Hunt in NFL free agency. And according to Miami Herald insider Barry Jackson, that starting job won’t be filled anytime soon.

“Dolphins conveyed to at least one veteran free agent starting guard that they’ll check in with him after the draft potentially if they are still looking for one,” Jackson reported on March 27.

The Dolphins do have a few guard candidates on the roster but as several analysts have predicted in mocks, interior offensive line appears to be on the table for Miami in the early rounds of the NFL draft. And depending on how the board falls in late April, general manager Chris Grier appears ready to reassess the position when the time comes.

The free agent market tends to slow down around the lead up to the draft — and Jackson’s update is often the reason. As NFL GMs shift their focus to the rookie class, available veterans are left waiting for opportunities.

One way or another, the Dolphins seem likely to address the guard position before training camp in late July.

Dolphins Projected to Have Approximately $23 Million in Cap Space After June 1

Miami playing the waiting game might make sense in more ways than one. According to Spotrac, the Dolphins are projected to have a little over $23 million in cap space after their June 1 cuts clear in a couple of months.

That significant jump from about $4.8 million will come courtesy of cornerback Xavien Howard — whose post-June 1 cut was worth $18.5 million in future savings.

The Dolphins can also free up more cap space in 2024 by extending quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but of course, that would mean committing to him long-term. Miami does appear ready to push forward with Tagovailoa, although contract discussions have been moving slowly so far.

That means assuming the Dolphins don’t figure out a different way to free up more cap space before June 1, Grier could theoretically wait until then to check back in on veteran markets like guard.

After all, approximately $4.8 million is not much to work with at the moment.

Dolphins Fans React to Report That Front Office Will Practice Patience at Guard

After Jackson relayed the update on the guard search on March 27, fans weighed in with their interpretations on X.

“I think Miami will sign a veteran [guard] if a [left tackle] that can play [guard] as a rookie doesn’t fall to them at 21,” one supporter commented.

It’s not uncommon for a rookie offensive lineman to start out at guard as he puts on muscle and gets himself accustomed to the NFL level. Several prospects from the 2024 class might fit that mold, but one versatile blocker that’s been mocked to Miami often is Duke OL Graham Barton — a player that’s been touted for his ability to line up at all five positions in the offensive trenches.

“I suspect LT and edge will be the first two picks in the draft,” another fan voiced below Jackson’s post. While others guessed veteran guards like “Laken Tomlinson” and “Dalton Risner” as the potential targets in free agency.

“You gotta be talking about Phil Haynes from [the Seattle] Seahawks,” a fifth user speculated. Adding: “I wouldn’t mind seeing them sign Carl Lawson for edge depth or [an Emmanuel] Ogbah reunion.”

Finally, one Dolphins supporter appeared frustrated by this report.

“Yeah, we’ve seen this movie plenty of times before,” they wrote. “Grier says the team will look at someone later on and they don’t. He’s ignored the o-line for far too long. He needs to get it fixed this season !!! No more excuses.”

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