A lot was made of the $96 million contract extension Ryan Tannehill signed this offseason. He is only 23-27 as the starter and the ridicule is somewhat warranted. Those people fail to look at the free agent quarterback pool and realize it was smarter to just dish out $45 million guaranteed to Tannehill over signing Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh McCown.
The Dolphins have been mediocre for most of the last decade. Other than New England, the rest of the AFC East hasn’t exactly been the model of NFL efficiency. The Patriots have run amok and the rest of the division has been stuck running in place.
Can Miami knock the mighty Patriots off their pedestal?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Miami Dolphins.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 8-8
Key Additions: DT Ndamukong Suh, TE Jordan Cameron, WR Greg Jennings, WR Kenny Stills, DT C.J. Mosley, CB Brice McCain, QB Josh Freeman, C J.D. walton, C Jacques McClendon, OLB Spencer Paysinger, CB Zackary Bowman & OT Jeff Linkenbach
Key Losses: RB Knowshon Moreno, WR Mike Wallace, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Brian Hartline, TE Charles Clay, C Samson Satele, CB Cortland Finnegan, LB Dannell Ellerbe, OG Shelley Smith, OG Daryn Colledge, OG Nate Garner, DT Randy Starks, DT Jared Odrick, LB Phillip Wheeler, LB Jason Trusnik, CB Jimmy Wilson, OLB Jonathan Freeny, CB R.J. Stanford & TE Ryan Taylor
2015 Draft Picks: WR DeVante Parker, DT Jordan Phillips, OG Jamil Douglas, CB Bobby McCain, RB Jay Ajayi, S Ced Thompson & WR Tony Lippett
Non-Division Schedule: AFC South, NFC East & (San Diego/Baltimore)
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Jay Ajayi – Lamar Miller went over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career last season. He has pretty much been the ‘second back’ for most of his career. I’m not sure how thrilled Miami is to give Miller 20+ touches a game. There will be another back receiving some carries. I believe the bigger Ajayi could get some vultured touchdowns if not a bigger role in the offense.
Offense – QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Lamar Miller, WR Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, WR Greg Jennings, TE Jordan Cameron, LT Branden Albert, LG Dallas Thomas, C Mike Pouncey, RG Billy Turner & RT Ja’Wuan James
Defense – DE Cameron Wake, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Earl Mitchell, DE Olivier Vernon, OLB Chris McCain, MLB Koa Misi, OLB Jelani Jenkins, CB Brent Grimes, CB Jamar Taylor, SS Michael Thomas & FS Reshad Jones
Team Analysis: Head coach Joe Philbin knows if he fails to make the postseason again, he’s most likely gone. They upgraded various positions this offseason, the biggest possibly being targets for Ryan Tannehill. They signed tight end Jordan Cameron, drafted wide receiver DeVante Parker and traded New Orleans for receiver Kenny Stills. They knew if they were going to give Tannehill a big contract extension, they needed to supply him with upgrades over Charles Clay and Brian Hartline. Miami also made one of the biggest offseason signings on defense. They signed filthy defensive tackle (and celebrity diver) Ndamukong Suh to help bring identity to their defense. The Dolphins should have a nice race in the AFC East with the Patriots and the upgraded Bills. I like Miami’s shot at winning their first division title since 2008. They let some dead weight go and picked up some intriguing assets to help both sides of the ball.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 9 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5 (1st in AFC East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.