They finished 10-6, which was a five-game improvement on their record in the 2019 NFL season. The Dolphins are likely to be in postseason contention again in 2021. But they'll need to improve a little bit to get over the hump in the next NFL season.
Five players who could help Miami Dolphins reach the NFL playoffs in 2021:
The Miami Dolphins will have to deal with a couple of key off-season subtractions from their roster, though.
Defensive end Shaq Lawson was a versatile player in their defense last season, but he was traded away to the Houston Texans. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was also released on that side of the ball.
In offense, the Miami Dolphins lost their veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who wanted another chance to start in the NFL. Fitzpatrick was the ultimate insurance for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL last season, keeping the Miami Dolphins afloat in some of their biggest games.
As the Miami Dolphins look to take the next step in their rebuild, let's have a look at five players who could help them reach the NFL playoffs in 2021.
#1 Deshaun Watson
The possibility of superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson ending up in South Florida has been bounced around as a possibility.
Ironically, the Texans had acquired the Miami Dolphins’ veteran talent ahead of the 2019 NFL season, obtaining Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil from the Dolphins in exchange for draft picks. While the Miami Dolphins were trying to re-stack the deck to rebuild their roster, Houston (at that time) were trying to compete for a Super Bowl appearance.
Now, the roles have squarely reversed, and the Dolphins have a couple of assets Houston might want. The Dolphins own the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, courtesy of Houston.
In theory, they could send that pick back to the Texans, along with other assets, in return for Watson’s services. The Miami Dolphins could also ship Tua Tagovailoa to Houston if the Texans feel they can rebuild with the former University of Alabama star.
#2 Michael Thomas
If the Miami Dolphins decide to stick with Tagovailoa at quarterback, they will likely make a concerted effort to try and upgrade the options around him.
DeVante Parker is a very good receiver when healthy but is often banged up and inconsistent. Preston Williams is a very talented player but has only played in half of the games in each of the past two NFL seasons. The Miami Dolphins also brought in the dynamic but perpetually injured Will Fuller via free agency a couple of weeks ago as an added weapon in that unit.
But if the Miami Dolphins really want to upgrade their receiving corps, they might consider trading for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas.
There have been rumblings that Thomas is not very thrilled with the team and might not feel as excited about their prospects without Drew Brees.
The Miami Dolphins have picks to offer the retooling Saints. They could also use an expert releaser off the line of scrimmage like Thomas to provide clear throwing lanes for their young quarterback.
#3 Zach Ertz
The Miami Dolphins could take another route to improve their offense.
For many years, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has been regarded as one of the very best at his position in the NFL. His main gripe with the Eagles has been that the team have been reluctant to compensate him along the likes of the other premier tight ends in the game like George Kittle and Travis Kelce.
But the Miami Dolphins have shown that they do value the work that their tight ends do for them. They’ve deployed Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe pretty liberally, especially in the red zone.
The Dolphins have a nice young stable of tight end and could package one of them in a deal with Philadelphia for the more proven option.
#4 Michael Gallup
As NFL fans are well aware, the Dallas Cowboys have shelled out some lucrative contracts to their star players in the past few seasons.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper saw a big increase come his way in March 2020. Running back, Ezekiel Elliott saw the Brinks truck backed up for him in September 2019. Quarterback Dak Prescott finally signed his long-awaited massive deal a few weeks ago as well, locking up the centerpieces of the Cowboys offense for years to come.
There’s only one talented player in that offense who might be available for the taking, considering the Dallas Cowboys are so heavily invested in three players.
Three-year pro Michael Gallup has been impressive in Dallas, averaging over 15 yards per catch for his career. There’s no questioning his talent, but with the Dallas Cowboys already having Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in town, Gallup’s presence is now more of a luxury than a necessity.
The Dolphins may be able to get the former Colorado State star for a rotational defensive player or a day 2 or 3 NFL Draft pick.
#5 Myles Jack
If there’s one thing head coach Brian Flores has shown in his two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, it’s that he can motivate his defensive players to bring supreme effort week in and week out. He’s known for coaching up mid-level talents and getting the most out of them and could likely develop a player with a more talented skillset to impressive heights.
Myles Jack is still only 25 years old but has fallen out of the NFL limelight as the Jacksonville Jaguars continued their demise in the last three seasons.
He’s still a reliable, agile player who can get to the ball quickly and make plays. On one of the most barren rosters in the league last year, Jack made 118 combined tackles.
One could argue that there was no one else on the field to make those plays, but usually, NFL offenses try to gameplan against the best defenders on the other side. Jack arguably made those plays in spite of the lack of help he received from his Jaguars teammates.