Breaking Down the Miami Dolphins’ Latest Free Agent Signings
The Miami Dolphins entered the day with only 57 players under contract, fewer than any other team. Considering that total is 33 less than the NFL‘s 90-man roster limit and that only seven rookies are scheduled to be added during the draft, the Dolphins have some work to do filling out their roster with veteran and undrafted free agents.
That process began on Wednesday afternoon. According to multiple reports, the Dolphins signed offensive tackle Jason Fox to a one-year, $750,000 deal. According to Atlanta Falcons beat writer Orlando Ledbetter, the Dolphins have also agreed to terms with wide receiver Kevin Cone.
Furthermore, the Dolphins reportedly worked out and visited with — or will do both at some point on Wednesday – with former Houston Texans wide receiver Lestar Jean. The Dolphins have signed every free agent they’ve visited with so far this offseason — excluding D’Qwell Jackson, who joined the Indianapolis Colts — so meeting with Jean could spur another addition to the receiver corps.
So what do both signings and a potential third acquisition mean for the Dolphins?
Let’s begin with former University of Miami tackle Jason Fox, who started three games for the Detroit Lions in 2013 and turns 26 in exactly one month. Fox played 205 snaps in total at right tackle for the Lions last season, his first significant action in four years as a pro.
Fox was fairly reliable in pass protection, giving up a mere one sack, one quarterback hit and two hurries in 116 pass blocking opportunities, but he struggled mighty on run blocking plays. According to Pro Football Focus, Fox accumulated a -7.3 run block grade despite attempting to pave the way for runners on only 89 snaps. While Fox adds depth and competition to Miami’s offensive line, he likely isn’t a starter.
GM Dennis Hickey and company will seek a new starting right tackle during the first or second day of May’s draft. But if that rookie tackle struggles in year one, Fox could step in if need be. With experience at left tackle as well, he’s also capable of filling in for Branden Albert if Miami’s $46 million blindside protector suffers an injury. However, Fox has a history of injuries himself and will need to prove he’s durable if he wants to be a key member of the Dolphins’ offensive line.
As for Cone, whose signing has been reported by a trusted source but has yet to be confirmed by any of the Dolphins’ local beat writers, Miami is getting an intriguing combination of size and speed. At 6-foot-2, 216-pounds, Cone is the type of body the Dolphins’ current wide receiver corps is missing. During his pro day at Georgia Tech three years ago, Cone also ran a 4.37 40-yard dash.
Cone has yet to live up to his potential in the NFL, though. Despite several injuries at the position in Atlanta last season, Cone played just 31 snaps at receiver and only caught one pass for 12 yards. He’s likely nothing more than a camp body for now and will face stiff competition from the likes of Armon Binns to make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
Jean, meanwhile, who caught 10 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown in two seasons with the Texans, would also bring some much needed size to the table. At 6-foot-3, Jean is taller than any of the Dolphins’ significant contributors from a year ago. He’s statistically more accomplished than Cone as well. But if Jean is signed, he’ll have no assurance of making the team either.
The Dolphins like Binns’ skill-set and hope he can make a successful recovery from the torn ACL he suffered during last year’s training camp. Binns projects as Miami’s fifth receiver today.
Wednesday has been a busy day for the Dolphins, but in all likelihood, only turned up one new member of the team’s regular season roster. Jason Fox is a quality addition to Miami’s offensive line and will provide the club’s most uncertain unit with depth if nothing else.
UPDATE: In addition to signing Fox and Cone, the Dolphins have agreed to a one-year deal with former Marist University wide receiver Mike Rios. As an undrafted free agent last April, Rios was cut by the Arizona Cardinals in July after sustaining a foot injury. Rios is nothing more than a camp body until he proves otherwise.
@CodyJStrahmCody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter .
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