The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a crucial offseason as they seek to make improvements to their team. Watching the AFC Championship Game, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross surely realized that his team is not on the same level as the conference’s elite. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs showcased the blueprint for success that the Dolphins should consider following.
It’s been four years since the Super Bowl 54 matchup between the 49ers and Chiefs, and just 14 of the 44 starters from that game are still with their respective teams. The Chiefs have managed to build a strong team without some of the top players from that game, demonstrating that there are alternative paths to success. The Dolphins, who have been spending heavily in recent years, now find themselves in a position where they need to make important contract decisions.
One of the biggest priorities for the Dolphins is figuring out what to do with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. While Tagovailoa had a solid 2023 season, leading the NFL in passing and earning his first Pro Bowl nod, he struggled against top AFC teams. The Dolphins need to consider whether investing in Tagovailoa with a lucrative contract extension is the right move.
Looking at the examples set by the Chiefs and 49ers, the Dolphins should be open-minded and explore all their options. Both teams moved on from their good quarterbacks (Alex Smith and Jimmy Garoppolo) to acquire better options (Patrick Mahomes and Trey Lance). This shows that upgrading at the quarterback position can have significant benefits.
The 49ers offer an instructive example with their approach to salaries. With quarterback Brock Purdy’s low salary cap figure of just $889,252 in 2023, the team was able to build and maintain an elite roster. The Dolphins should take note of this and consider their long-term cap implications when making decisions.
In terms of coaching, the Dolphins should consider taking risks and swinging for the fences. The 49ers hired Steve Wilks as their defensive coordinator in 2024, and their defense did not miss a beat. Wilks’ extensive NFL experience played a crucial role in their success. The Chiefs also made a smart move by hiring Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator in 2019, resulting in their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
As the 2024 NFL Draft approaches, the Dolphins should carefully evaluate their team needs and prioritize their selections. Building a strong team through the draft is vital for long-term success. Being strategic in their approach and identifying the right players will help the Dolphins improve their roster.
In conclusion, the Dolphins need to learn from the examples set by the Chiefs and 49ers. They must make tough decisions regarding contracts, including the future of Tua Tagovailoa. Taking risks in coaching hires and being strategic in the draft are also critical steps. By following the blueprint provided by successful teams, the Dolphins can work towards ending their Super Bowl drought.