2022 presents Tua Tagovailoa with the best opportunity he’s had to flip the script on his young career. Coming into the NFL as a lefty put him in a box out of the gate and there has rarely been cries for respect to be put on his name. Last year’s “Tuanon” craze in the midst of the Dolphins seven-game winning streak fizzled out quickly when Miami met real competition again and fell out of the playoff picture immediately. Now, after an offseason in which his team reset the market for wide receiver value, his arsenal is fully loaded. If he can’t impress this year, he won’t get another chance.
Tyreek Hill was acquired by Miami in the form of a trade in which they shipped five draft picks to Kansas City (2022s first, second, and fourth-rounder; as well as fourth and sixth-rounders in 2023). He brings a veteran presence to a locker room led by a young QB and highlighted by a promising young wideout, Jaylen Waddle. Hill and Waddle will be the uncontested WR1 and WR2, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. will be in the slot. Had the Dolphins not traded DeVante Parker to the Patriots (Parker and a ‘22 fifth-rounder for a ‘23 third-round pick), there would have been a legitimate three-headed monster in the receiver room. Parker will be a free agent after the 2023 season, however, and shipping him off was a preemptive move in anticipation of financial tribulations that lay ahead.
Tyreek Hill wasn’t the only speedster to join the Dolphins offense in the circus that was the 2022 offseason. Running backs Chase Edmonds (two-years, $12.1M), Raheem Mostert (one-year, $3.125M), and Sony Michel (one-year, $1.75M) redesigned the Miami backfield and bring a variety of flash to balance the offense in the running game.
Notable defensive moves for the Dolphins included retaining Emmanuel Ogbah (four-year, $65.4M deal) who was considered a hot commodity across the league in free agency, exercising the fifth-year option on Christian Wilkins, and signing free agent Melvin Ingram to a one-year, $4M deal. The pass rush in Miami is comprised of some household names, but it will be the offense that they lean on in the upcoming season.
With the Bills and Patriots perpetually looming as the big dogs in the AFC East, in pursuit of continued (for NE) and rebuilt (for BUF) successes, it will be a great challenge for the Phins to come out of 2022 as division champs. What they did to improve their offense, in the midst of the shit storm that the organization is weathering, will allow them to keep up on the scoreboard and provide a legitimate obstacle for the Pats and Bills.
A 10-win third-place finish will earn Tua some respect and buy him time to continue to develop within this offense. The Dolphins just aren’t quite ready to enter the playoff picture in the stacked AFC that exists today.
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