Although Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores continues to preach a “win now” attitude, it’s hard to deny the idea that the Dolphins are in full-on rebuild mode. With some big names leaving Miami in exchange for draft picks over the weekend, Dolphins fans are now looking to the future.
Of Miami’s weekend deals, one sticks out. In return for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, receiver Kenny Stills, a 2020 fourth-round pick, and a 2021 sixth-round pick, the Dolphins received two first-round picks (2020 and 2021), a 2020 second-round pick, and a pair of likely role players in tackle Julien Davenport and cornerback Johnson Bademosi from the Texans.
Most analysts seem to agree the package Houston put together was too much to turn down, and the timing makes sense for a team that wasn’t projected to contend for a division title, but giving up a proven left tackle who’s started 44 games in three seasons is a hard pill to swallow.
On top of Tunsil, who the Dolphins drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft, the Texans will be receiving a productive receiver in Stills. In his six seasons for the Saints and Dolphins, Stills has caught 259 passes for 4,238 yards and 32 touchdowns.
Miami then continued to purge its roster of full-time starters by sending linebacker Kiko Alonso to New Orleans in exchange for Vince Biegel, another linebacker.
Last season, Alonso was the only player in the NFL with at least 100 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles. After leading the team in tackles in two of his three seasons with the franchise, Alonso now finds himself departing Miami for the sake of cap space.
Miami Looking to the Future
While it’s all doom and gloom for the Dolphins this season, Miami now has the tools to quickly rebuild with young talent. In addition to quarterback Josh Rosen, a first-round pick by the Cardinals a year ago, the Dolphins are now slated to have at least 13 picks in the 2020 NFL draft.
Including projected compensatory picks, Miami should own two picks in every round other than the fifth next year. The Dolphins also have the Texans’ first- and second-round picks in 2021.
Looking at teams like the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, that’s the formula for building a dynasty if the front office can hit more than they miss.
But, while the future could be exciting in Miami, will this year’s roster be good enough to win a single game? Let’s see just how likely that prospect is.
The NFL’s Winless Teams
The legendary 1972 Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to go undefeated throughout the regular season and postseason play after completing a 17-0 season. Now, it’s much more likely the 2019 Dolphins will join the shortlist of teams to end the year with a record of 0-16.
The most recent franchise to finish the season winless was the Cleveland Browns in 2017. Before that, the 2008 Detroit Lions became the first squad to complete a 16-game season without claiming a single victory.
You’d have to go all the way back to 1976 and the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went 0-14, to find the only other team without a win or tie on the record at the end of the season.
Are the 2019 Dolphins next?
What the Odds Say
With 80-1 odds to win the AFC East, Miami is projected to be the worst team in the division by a wide margin. The Dolphins trail the Patriots (-500), Jets (6-1), and Bills (8-1) in that regard.
However, failing to win a single game would be a longshot. Despite losing Tunsil, Stills, and Alonso, the over/under for Miami’s total wins in 2019 appears to remain set at 4.5 games.
Unless that figure changes, it would be a huge upset if the Dolphins fail to win a game, at least in the eyes of oddsmakers.
Dolphins fans will be hoping to avoid a season like they suffered through in 2007, in which Miami needed an overtime win over the Ravens in Week 15 to finish 1-15. As it stands, with at least two shots each at the Jets and Bills, the Dolphins are likely to avoid a winless season.