From Tua Tagovailoa to Xavien Howard, big decisions await new Dolphins coach

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MIAMI – After firing Brian Flores on Monday, the Miami Dolphins are one of eight teams in the market for a new head coach this offseason.

Under owner Stephen Ross, the Dolphins have hired four head coaches, none of whom had held that position before. When asked about his hiring plans, Ross shot down the idea that he would hire the current coach of the University of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh, but was non-committal on whether he would prefer an experienced head coach or another up-and-coming assistant.

“You know, it certainly always helps to have the experience,” Ross said. “But if we find someone who is unique, who has been a coordinator or another position in football, I will strongly look at it very seriously. Our minds are open.”

Regardless of who stalks the sideline for the Dolphins next season, there are several major moves to be made between now and September.

Howard, a cornerback with a total of 15 interceptions over the past two seasons, is the Dolphins’ best player and there is not much argument against it. He requested a barter last offseason before the team reworked his contract to give him more money in 2021, but if he is not happy with his contract, it is in Miami’s best interest to settle things with him again.

Asked before the season finale how he feels about his future with the organization, Howard said, “Until someone says something, I’m a Miami Dolphin.”

Byron Jones will have the third highest base salary ($ 14.4 million) of any cornerback in the NFL next season, according to Spotrac, giving Miami a good start to anchor the secondary if it can not keep Howard, but the team’s new coach must decide. how important Howard, a triple Pro Bowler, is to his defensive plan.

The same logic applies to Ogbah, a defensive end who is an unlimited free agent this offseason and has 18 kicks in two seasons with the Dolphins. Spotrac estimates its market value at $ 10 million a year, which the Dolphins can easily afford with about $ 70 million in salary cap.

Gesicki, a tight end, seems like a no-brainer to retain as the second-best pass-catching opportunity on an offensive starving for playmakers behind rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle (104 catch). Gesicki’s production slowed down a bit, but he still recorded career highs in receptions (73), goals (112) and receiving yards (780) in 2021.

Miami could also turn to Durham Smythe, who is an unlimited free agent and would come at a much lower price, or see what it has in the 2021 selection of third round, Hunter Long. But Gesicki is the best option of the three, and pass-catchers are at a premium on this list.

Find out an offensive identity

It starts with putting together an offensive staff. This was Flores’ Achilles heel during his three-year tenure as he had four offensive coordinators, four offensive line coaches and three quarterback coaches. Coach turnover contributed to the attacks being placed in 27th place (’19), 22nd (’20) and 25th (’21), respectively.

If Ross and general manager Chris Grier hire an offensive-minded head coach, that task will be a little easier. If they choose someone with a defensive background, this coach should hire someone with experience as an offensive coordinator. Miami’s defense, which ranked 15th overall after dominating down the stretch, is in playoff caliber. The other side of the ball must catch up while the window is open.

From there, Miami’s new coach will work with Grier to add an influx of talent to the offense.

Game

1:15

Paul Finebaum and Keyshawn Johnson are breaking down why the Dolphins will move on from Tua Tagovailoa if there is a better opportunity as a quarterback.

Ross insisted Tagovailoa “did not play a role” in his decision to fire Flores, but made an interesting comment when asked what he expects from Miami’s next coach.

“I have great confidence in Tua and I think you know the next head coach will work with him or anyone,” Ross said. “But I have great confidence in [Tagovailoa]. I saw him grow. I think he’s a nice young man and he’s a quarterback right now and that will depend on the new head coach. “

Right now.

Seems like a hollow endorsement for the previous No. 5 overall pick. Tagovailoa’s 2021 season was inconsistent – he was 7-5 starting with 16 TD passes and 10 interceptions – and marred by injuries, but he blinked enough to warrant another year of evaluation. The Dolphins’ new coach needs to find out if Tagovailoa fits into his future plans.

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