After Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones was released and not able to resume his career due to a neck injury that forced him out of the 2019 season, the team has been attempting to fill the large void left by the ten-year veteran.
They’ve done an admirable job the past season and a half, mixing and matching with Bobby McCain, coach Brian Flores' favorite Eric Rowe, and 2020 draft pick Brandon Jones. Since the team boasts an impressive cornerback unit, the safeties aren’t always needed to provide help over the top, but Miami could use affordable upgrades to help stop teams up the seam.
For example, Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller had his way in single coverage against Eric Rowe in their week 16 matchup. While Waller would be a tough cover for anyone, the team might look for alternatives who might have a better chance of stopping slot receivers and tight ends.
Three safety options for the Miami Dolphins this NFL offseason
Let’s take a look at who Dolphins general manager Chris Grier might have his eye on in free agency.
While his stats haven’t always jumped off the page, Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen is the type of player most teams would love to have. His versatility playing in two out of three game phases of the game allows him to be penciled into the lineup with confidence. Sorensen is not a superstar in either aspect, but is very good in both disciplines and has experience on a winning team.
Miami tried to go this route last offseason with safety Clayton Fejedelem, who has been a less effective player than Sorenson has for the Kansas City Chiefs. Sorensen’s snap count total has been weighted to whichever area of the team needs him most in recent years, and could be relied upon in a pinch if there are injuries to key secondary starters.
A free agency preview piece about the Miami Dolphins would not be complete without predicting that at least one of Brian Flores’ former players in New England ends up in South Florida. For this edition of the Dolphins free agency preview, we have former New England Patriots and Detroit Lions safety Duron Harmon.
Harmon had been a reliable piece of the Bill Belichick/Matt Patricia/Flores led scheme in Foxboro, playing 16 games in every season with the team except his rookie year. With the Lions last year, Harmon set a career high in tackles, as former Lions coach Matt Patricia looked to unleash him.
If Harmon does sign with the Dolphins, his role would like return to what it was with the Patriots—which is to say, a reliable, rotational, experienced back end player who the coaching staff is familiar with.
It might be a bit of a leap of faith to cast Kareem Jackson, who will be 33 years old by the time the 2021 season begins, as a starting safety. But it was also a bit of a stretch to transition career defensive back Bobby McCain into the safety position, and that worked out alright for the Dolphins.
Jackson has played 11 seasons in the NFL, with 10 of them coming at the cornerback position. There might be a bit of a learning curve for him to play deep instead of on the outside, but the Dolphins would use a player with his ball and coverage skills in the middle of the field.
It might take a converted cornerback to contain the likes of Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, and other top flight tight ends, so it would be a bold move that would make sense for Miami.