The Miami Dolphins went on a spending spree this offseason, throwing around some big-money contracts to a number of free agents when the market opened up in mid-March. Corner Byron Jones set the market at his position with his new five-year, $82 million deal and linebacker Kyle Van Noy also did very well for himself, inking a $51 million contract. While the Dolphins certainly weren't shy about digging deep into their pockets to bring in some high-level talent, they'll also need to get lucky with players outperforming their smaller contracts.
Below, we're going to run through the five biggest bargains the Dolphins will be getting in 2020, specifically as it relates to the salary cap. We determined how Miami is getting the biggest bang for its buck by looking at the salary cap numbers, naturally, and comparing that to what the player brings to the table on a weekly basis to the club.
All cap figures are courtesy of Spotrac.
1. WR DeVante Parker
2020 salary cap hit: $4.6 million
After agreeing to a two-year contract prior to the 2019 season, Miami signed DeVante Parker to a four-year, $40 million extension in December that will keep the receiver with the Dolphins through the 2023 season. Despite all that money being thrown Parker's way, it doesn't really come into serious consideration as it relates to the cap until 2021. When looking at the 2020 season, Miami is still getting an extremely talented receiver at a relatively cheap cost.
Parker enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, totaling career marks across the board with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. That receiving-yard total put Parker at No. 4 among NFL wide receivers last season. When you consider the average cap figure of the top four receivers in 2020 is around $19.8 million, it further highlights the steal the Dolphins are getting in Parker at just a $4.6 million cap charge.
2. QB Tua Tagovailoa
2020 salary cap hit: $5,504,625
As long as Tagovailoa remains healthy, he'll be on this list throughout his rookie contract. The only reason why he isn't higher on this list is simply because of those health concerns and questions about whether or not he'll actually even play in 2020. Because rookie contracts for bonafide franchise quarterbacks are so beneficial to teams, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see Tagovailoa climb to the top of this list in a year's time.
I expect Tagovailoa to see the field at some point in 2020 and for him to live up to his top-five billing. He has all the talent in the world to be the next great Dolphins quarterback, and Miami is going to get that production rather cheaply over the first few years of his career. His salary cap hit for 2020 is just over $5.5 million, but over the next three years after that, it never exceeds $10 million. The highest his base salary will ever get (prior to the fifth-year option being triggered) will be $1.01 million in 2023.
As long as he lives up to the hype, the Dolphins will be getting top quarterback play on the cheap.
3. TE Mike Gesicki
2020 salary cap hit: $1,803,252
Mike Gesicki is going to be a valuable piece to Miami's passing game in 2020 no matter who is under center. He was the Dolphins' second-leading receiver in 2019 with 51 receptions and 570 yards to go along with five touchdowns over 16 games (five starts). The 2018 second-round pick should continue to ascend heading into Year 3 of his career and will continue to be a great bargain for Miami.
Gesicki's cap hit is just over $1.8 million for 2020 and only goes up to $2.1 million during the final year of his rookie contract in 2022. He's not a top-five tight end by any stretch of the imagination just yet, but he's certainly worthy of being in the top-15 discussion. When considering that along with Gesicki ranking 48th among tight ends in terms of biggest salary cap hits for 2020, the Dolphins are in the midst of a very team-friendly deal.
4. WR Preston Williams
2020 salary cap hit: $678,333
Preston Williams was a nice surprise for the Dolphins in the early part of the 2019 season. After going undrafted, the wide receiver signed on with Miami, made the 53-man roster, and almost instantly started making plays in the regular season. That came crashing down, however, in Week 9 when he tore his ACL, which put an end to his rookie season. In eight games played (seven starts), Williams totaled 32 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns. He also was a factor in the punt return game, fielding 10 punts for 115 yards.
As long as he's able to return to form following the injury, the Dolphins will be getting a very intriguing prospect on an extremely cheap deal. Williams comes in with a cap hit of just $678,333 in 2020 and it only bumps up to $853,334 in 2021 before hitting restricted free agency. When looking at this deal and Williams' upside going forward, this is a home run find for Miami.
5. LB Elandon Roberts
2020 salary cap hit: $2 million
This was one of my favorite under-the-radar free agent signings of the offseason. Head coach Brian Flores knows Elandon Roberts extremely well from their days in New England together, and the inside linebacker will be a very strong addition to Miami's front seven.
With the Patriots in 2019, Roberts totaled 29 tackles, which was a dip from his usual production of 60-plus tackles on a given year. That was likely due to the 26-year-old playing both ways throughout the season, lining up at fullback on the offensive side of the ball. Roberts also logged 32% of New England's special teams snaps. With the Dolphins, Roberts could continue to bring that versatility to the table or be a bruising thumper in the middle of the defense.
Roberts is taking a prove-it deal with the Dolphins, only signing a one-year, $2 million deal and will hit the market again in 2021. No matter if he stays in Miami or not, this signing should be extremely beneficial for the Dolphins as they'll receive an extremely talented player that knows Flores' system and is motivated to perform at a high level during a contract year. This should be a win-win for both sides.