Mike McDaniel explains how Miami navigated free agency challenges

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How much has the Miami Dolphins roster improved since last season?

The Miami Dolphins replenished the roster with over $75 million in new contracts since free agency began. Depth has been added — especially at defensive tackle, and the linebacking unit is revamped, but it’s hard to forget where Miami began the offseason.

The franchise faced a salary cap hole of roughly $50 million. Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Andrew Van Ginkel, and others signed contracts elsewhere after years of service in aqua and orange. Miami’s scheduled to receive a pair of third-round compensatory picks, but that’s not helping put your best foot forward in 2024.

“Let’s not fake the funk and act like it was an easy problem to solve,” McDaniel said last week when discussing the team’s roster. “We’re always solving the problem of roster and trying to make it better. I saw an orchestration of multiple people on all fronts being very communicative.

“I think we found really, really good players that really want to play for the Miami Dolphins organization.”

Miami leveraged void years but also cut players to slide under the salary cap and bolster the roster. Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah remain free agents while Jerome Baker signed a deal with the Seattle Seahawks. These moves created more needs on top of losing top talent in Wilkins and Hunt.

“I’m very proud of those two guys individually,” McDaniel said. “You have to keep the scope of the entire team, and the competitiveness that you can put forth at every position…

“And sometimes when business doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean relationships have to be fractured. I was very proud on every level, our communication through the process, and it all comes back to the fact that there is a finite salary cap. Sometimes we can’t be the kids spending the money; we have to be the parents that have to look at our budget and make sure we can pay the water bill.”

The Dolphins used up most of their salary cap space, but have six picks in the 2024 NFL Draft and will receive roughly $18 million in salary cap relief over the summer after designating Howard as a post-June 1 cut. The roster needs work, but McDaniel is confident they’re heading in the right direction.

“I think the problems were challenging on the front end,” McDaniel said. “No one wavered. We really resourced all of their brain power within the building. I’m very fired up about the individuals that have come into the building since the league year started and are all about pushing us forward into 2024 because we have exciting things to do and big goals to accomplish.”

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Title: Mike McDaniel explains how Miami navigated free agency challenges
Author: Jacob Mendel

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