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I know there is a lot of vitriol towards these moves, but I actually like what the Dolphins have done, though I do have some criticism.
1. Mario Williams and Olivier Vernon - When you see what Vernon signed for, you sort of understand why the Dolphins did what they did. First of all, the Giants have grossly overpaid for a player that hasn't demonstrated he can be a 15+ sack guy. If that was the starting point for Vernon, then he was always going to be gone. I agree with the Dolphins for not overpaying him. I thought they should not have tendered. That seemed like a waste of time. Either let him walk and get a compensatory pick or franchise him and work out a trade.
The second part of this deal is Mario Williams. He can be a dominant player. I would almost dismiss his lack of production in Rex Ryan's system. Williams is a 4-3 end, period. I do have concerns with what he will add to the locker room, but on the field, I think he can be better than what Vernon has been. Williams can be a dominant pass rusher and good run stopper throughout his career. Vernon was good against the run and got pressure on the QB, but his sack numbers have usually been lacking. His propensity for personal foul penalties was also a concern. It would have been nice to keep Vernon, but I think some on the forum overstated the quality of his play. He is NOT a $17 million a year player. He is not a $15 million a year player. Quite frankly, I don't think he was even a $12 million a year player.
The other positive in this deal is the cap space avoided by signing Vernon to a tag or tender.
2. Kiko Alonso - I am going to look at this separately from Byron Maxwell first. I get it, this is a huge risk from the perspective of the player being a one year wonder and having injury issues. But based on what we saw in 2013, he is superior to any other middle linebacker we had on the team, if he can stay healthy. The MLB position has been upgraded and that was a huge hole in this defense. So if the comparison is Kiko versus what we had last year, the Dolphins are in better shape.
3. Byron MaxWell - Probably a downgrade from Brent Grimes. Maxwell looked good his last two seasons in Seattle, but flopped in Philly. Here's hoping the Dolphins are looking at him as a #2 corner because he hasn't proven he can be a #1 corner. His salary is a concern, but the Dolphins aren't tied to the signing bonus. I wonder how much of a factor his system fit was in Philly. He was certainly a system fit in Seattle for a couple of seasons. One area where he would be an upgrade is his size. He should match up better against big receivers than Grimes. Let's not forget Grimes got lit up a few times in 2015 by big receivers.
4. Miami - Philly trade - Looking at the trade chart, there is a 250 point difference between the 8th pick and the 13th pick. Therefore, for Miami to trade down, fair value would have been a 3rd and a 4rd round pick. The way to look at this trade is that Miami traded down 5 spots for Kiko Alonso in the 3rd round and Byron Maxwell in the 4th round. If you got a good starting MLB in the 3rd and a potentially boundary corner in the 4th, that's not a bad haul IF you get a good player in the first round and at least Kiko or Maxwell pans out.
5. CJ Anderson and Lamar Miller - I love Miller and I hate to see him go. But the running back position is what it is. The Dolphins (and quite frankly the Phinfever forums), set a price on Miller and the Texans offered more. I hope the CJ Anderson move pans out as he is another player that is productive when used, but underused. I believe the Dolphins avoid an additional $2 million a year in expense by going with this option. And with Ajayi already in the fold, the Dolphins will have depth at the position. Let's see if Denver matches.
6. Offensive line - One area of huge concern is still offensive line. The Dolphins signed Jermon Bushrod, who has always been a tackle, and is coming off a shoulder injury. If healthy, he has to be an upgrade at guard over what we currently have. But I would still hope the Dolphins look at this position in the draft as well.