The Dolphins have been unusually quiet in free agency, they’ve lost three of their top players and they still have several holes to fill.
It doesn’t appear to concern Mike Tannenbaum, the team’s head of football operations.
Steve Shapiro, sports anchor for WSVN-7, went on the air late Sunday night and relayed a phone conversation he had with Tannenbaum.
Tannenbaum told Shapiro that this year’s Dolphins “would beat the crap out of the 2015 Dolphins.”
Of course, the 2015 Dolphins fired their head coach four games into the season en route to a 6-10 finish.
But, on paper, this year’s team doesn’t necessarily look better.
Miami lost Olivier Vernon, a 25-year-old pass rusher who inked a deal with the New York Giants that was the largest in NFL history for a defensive end.
They let running back Lamar Miller sign with Houston.
And they released Brent Grimes, a cornerback whose play was diminishing despite making the Pro Bowl in all three of his seasons with the Dolphins.
They replaced Vernon with Mario Williams, a 31-year-old former all-Pro defensive end who some in the organization believe can be better than Vernon for the next year or two.
But he’s coming off his worst season in the NFL, dropping from 14.5 sacks in 2014 to five sacks in 2015.
The Dolphins are hoping to replace Miller with Denver’s C.J. Anderson, a restricted free agent who, like Miller, is an all-around back, but lacks his explosiveness.
The Broncos have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to decide whether to match Miami’s four-year, $18 million offer for Anderson. Denver is cash-strapped, so Anderson’s odds of landing in Miami are strong, but not a given.
Grimes is being replaced by Byron Maxwell, a cornerback who failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia last year after signing a massive $63 million deal.
The Dolphins landed Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso in a trade with the Eagles last week. Miami dropped five spots in the NFL draft from No. 8 overall to No. 13 as trade compensation.
The Dolphins made two other moves of note, signing free safety Isa Abdul-Qaddas, who became a full-time starter for Detroit in the middle of last season and had a strong eight-game run. They also signed 31-year-old former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, who struggled with injuries last year and might move to guard for the first time in his career.
A handful of other players have met with the Dolphins and left without a contract, including backup quarterback Brandon Weeden and Sean Spence, a linebacker and former University of Miami standout.
Chris Clemons, a 34-year-old veteran pass rusher, met with the Dolphins on Monday but did not sign a deal. Miami is searching for a proven third defensive end for its rotation, which includes Williams and Cam Wake, who will be 34 this season and is not expected to get a full load of snaps.
The Dolphins still need another starting cornerback, who could come in the draft or from the current roster.
But the Dolphins are not enamored with this year’s free-agent crop and they’re choosing to be conservative with their money.
There are a lot of question marks on the roster for first-year coach Adam Gase, but Tannenbaum still believes it’s a team that could beat up on his forgettable bunch from last season.