Snaps Lost: Miami Dolphins
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 8.65, 32nd
FTE Lost: 5.00, 32nd
Biggest Losses: Samson Satele (1104), Mike Wallace (842), Brian Hartline (836), Charles Clay (766), Daryn Colledge (763), Brandon Gibson (516)
Summary – The fire sale to end all fire sales- no unit experienced more turnover this offseason than the Miami offense. In fact, 14 teams saw less turnover on both sides of the ball than the Miami offense did alone. On the line, Satele ended the year with seven straight negative grades and has generated little interest on the open market. Colledge retired after nine years in the NFL and a largely ineffective final season in Miami.
The receiving corps also saw wholesale changes as the new regime was finally able to get rid of Wallace and his bloated contract, trading the speedy receiver to Minnesota. After back-to-back 1000-yard seasons, Hartline managed just 474 yards in 2014 and the team sought to get rid of him as well, though he’s since landed with the Browns. Gibson is yet another contributor at receiver who will be playing for a new team in 2015 after ranking dead last out of 90 receivers in Yards Per Route Run at 0.94. At tight end, the Bills sent a hefty offer to Clay, one the Dolphins were unwilling or unable to match.
Replacement Plan – For as much as they lost at receiver, the Dolphins are set up well to cover their losses. The club traded for a deep threat in Kenny Stills who should be at least as effective as Wallace and at a fraction of the price. It’s been a while since veteran Greg Jennings was at his peak in Green Bay, but he hasn’t had a negatively graded season in the eight years we’ve graded his play. Odds are that Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews will increase their snap counts from 2014, and to further cover the position Miami selected DeVante Parker in the first round. Jordan Cameron signed on as a free agent from Cleveland, so while they need nearly 3000 snaps covered at pass catching positions, the team is well equipped to deal with it.
Elsewhere there are a few more concerns. After a poor season at right guard, Mike Pouncey will slide back over to his natural position at center, though that merely moves the need rather than filling it. Colledge’s retirement means that both guard positions are up for grabs, and it would be hard to argue that either of them is locked down at this point. Dallas Thomas struggled mightily (-32.7) as he switched between both guard positions and right tackle last year. Billy Turner is also in the mix, though he saw very little action in his rookie season (17 snaps last year). From Kansas City, Jeff Linkenbach will have a chance to crack the starting lineup, and even fourth-rounder Jamil Douglas will have the opportunity to throw his hat in the ring.
FTE Lost: 3.64, 27th
Biggest Losses: Jared Odrick (817), Jimmy Wilson (791), Cortland Finnegan (712), Randy Starks (544), Jason Trusnik (397), Philip Wheeler (384)
Summary – The purge continues on defense. Losing both Odrick and Starks opened up the interior of the defensive line, as Odrick earned a fat paycheck in Jacksonville while the 31-year-old Starks took a short deal in Cleveland. Finnegan retired shortly after being cut in March and hadn’t graded positively for a season since his terrific final year in Tennessee. Wilson didn’t have the greatest of seasons, but his versatility in the secondary and high snap count will need to be replaced. Trusnik and Wheeler both graded positively and were third and fourth, respectively, in playing time at linebacker- both found one-year deals to suit up elsewhere in 2015.
Replacement Plan – Whether you love or hate the Ndamukong Suh contract, there’s no doubt he’ll be an upgrade on the guys he’s replacing. He won’t be able to cover all of the snaps lost along the interior, but after signing C.J. Mosley, his former teammate in Detroit, the Dolphins will be set at that position. If Koa Misi stays healthy he can mitigate one of their linebacker losses, but for the other they’ll likely rely on either Chris McCain or Kelvin Sheppard in their base defense. It gets a bit dicey at cornerback, where finding a solid starter across from Brent Grimes gets tough. Brice McCain was brought in after a reasonable year as the Steelers’ nickel corner and will cover the slot, likely leaving either Will Davis or Jamar Taylor to cover outside.