NFL Offseason – Offensive tackle Terron Armstead, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, was probably the best remaining free agent on the market… until tonight. Armstead has agreed to a five-year contract with the Miami Dolphins worth $75 million plus incentives, featuring $43.4 million in guaranteed money.
This was the perfect marriage of team need and player. It’s hard to overstate how bad the Miami Dolphins offensive line was last year. The Dolphins ranked 30th in adjusted line yards and 22nd in adjusted sack rate… and they only ranked that high in adjusted sack rate because the RPO-heavy offense had Tua Tagovailoa getting rid of the ball so fast, so often. The Dolphins were last in ESPN’s pass rush win rate stat.
Liam Eichenberg, last year’s left tackle for most of the year, was tied for the NFL lead with 49 blown blocks according to Sports Info Solutions. Armstead had only 10 in half a season in New Orleans. Eichenberg was almost at the bottom of the league with a pass block win rate of 77.9%. Yikes. Armstead was at 89.8% in his half season. Austin Jackson, who started the season as left tackle and then moved to left guard, was at 82.8% when he played tackle. He had 29 blown blocks, mostly at left guard.
The Dolphins have now improved their offensive line with Armstead and left guard Connor Williams, formerly of Dallas. We’ll have to see how they move things around otherwise. They have a lot of recent high picks on the offensive line who just haven’t lived up to their draft status. Jackson was a 2020 first-rounder. Eichenberg was a 2021 second-rounder. Right guard Robert Hunt was a 2020 second-rounder. You could chalk those horrible blocking numbers up to Eichenberg being a rookie, but the Dolphins might be better off with Jackson on the right side instead of Eichenberg.
Do you want to see if Tua Tagovailoa can thrive in a normal offense instead of last year’s RPO festival? I know the Dolphins want to see. They’re certainly working to give him the tools to succeed, bringing back Mike Gesicki and shoring up the offensive line with this really big addition. If Tagovailoa can get the ball downfield, Armstead should help him stay upright long enough to do it. If Tagovailoa can’t prove he’s an NFL starter now that he has a better offensive line to work with, well, Teddy Bridgewater is in town as well and had a career high for average depth of target in Denver last season.
Meanwhile, for New Orleans, this is the start of paying the piper for all the years of pushing cap money into the future over and over again. Armstead was reportedly considering re-signing with the Saints but in the end, the Saints couldn’t match the money that the Dolphins could give him. James Hurst is now penciled in as the left tackle for New Orleans next year, although the Saints could certainly draft someone to try out in that spot.
Terron Armstead Overall Impact: This is the Miami Dolphins dealing with the biggest weakness on the roster. Armstead absolutely makes the Dolphins better for next year. It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins or the New England Patriots can compete for the AFC wild-card spots out of the East, given the ridiculous arms race going on in the AFC West and (to a smaller extent) the AFC North.
Terron Armstead Fantasy Impact: He makes things better for Tagovailoa, but so did the arrival of Mike McDaniel and the Shanahan offensive scheme. Armstead also makes things better for the Miami Dolphins running backs, but good luck guessing who is getting more carries between Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.