There's still one NFL game left before the football goes into hibernation, but the Miami Dolphins are already in the midst of their offseason tinkering. Toppling the almighty perennial-pain-in-the-ass New England Patriots isn't going to happen all by itself, so Dolphins president Mike Tannenbaum and general manger Chris Greer have a lot of work to do before training camp.
So how can they finally get over the Patriots hump?
1. Lock up Jarvis Landry on a contract extension
For three years, the Dolphins have been getting the hookup on Jarvis Landry, but now it's time to pay the man. Landry's current contract gets him $868,728, but according to Sportrac, his value on the open market is five years and more than $62 million, or $12.5 million a year. That number was calculated using the combined average of four players Sportrac found to be of comparable production at a comparable age: Doug Baldwin, T.Y. Hilton, Keenan Allen, and Marvin Jones.
After catching 288 balls for 3,051 yards and 13 touchdowns over the first three seasons of his career, Landry has earned himself a raise. It's yet to be seen if the Dolphins think he's worth what some observers predict he will be paid on the open market following next season.
2. Spend big cash on the defense
We could sit here and break down exactly what the Dolphins need on defense, but you probably have something to do today, so instead we will just say this: HOLY SHIT. THE DOLPHINS NEED DEFENDERS, LIKE REAL BAD. In 2016, the Dolphins defense was a mangled mess. It looked fantastic in some areas but lacking in many others. Basically, the Dolphins' defense was every person you hooked up with in college. You're not proud of it, but you have no choice but to move on and try to learn from your mistakes.
The Dolphins need everything. Is it a defender? Then, yes, they need that. What? Not that? Wrong. They need it. They need two of it.
3. Obtain offensive linemen, as usual
Ah, yes, a tradition like none other throughout the NFL: the Miami Dolphins desperately in search of an offensive lineman or three. There has been some progress made in this department, though, because the Dolphins really aren't in desperate need this year in any position except right guard. Everything else would be depth, which has proven to be of the utmost importance, especially seeing as Mike Pouncey's hip tendons are made of Viva paper towels.
The Dolphins have learned that they are a much better team when their offensive line doesn't suck. This offseason should be about making sure there is less of a sucking when someone misses a game because he fell in the shower.
4. The Dolphins need a tight
After Jordan Cameron (remember him?) was lost for the year due to a bazillion concussions, the Dolphins were left with a gaping hole at tight end. Surprisingly, they found a bit of production from the combination of Dion Sims and MarQueis Gray. That was cool and all, but next season the Dolphins must get with the times and find themselves a playmaking tight end. This upcoming NFL draft is full of tight-end prospects who can do more than just block on a three-yard run, including former Hurricanes TE David Njoku.
This season, the Dolphins offense must add a tight-end threat if it wants to compete on a championship level against the elite defenses in the NFL.
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5. Adam Gase must continue to reprogram Ryan Tannehill
By far the most important aspect of the Miami Dolphins' offseason: Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase need to become best friends. They need to sleep in bunk beds. They need to go on double dates. They need to film Dual Survival together. They need to kidnap DeVante Parker and force him to catch passes from Tannehill all summer.
Get the point? This needs to be the Summer of Gase-Tannehill. If this season was an indicator of what Gase can do with a capable QB, an entire offseason would do wonders.