Miami Dolphins need strongest offensive line possible this year

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 27: Austin Jackson #73 of the Miami Dolphins and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (74) get set New Orleans Saints during an NFL game at Caesars Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 27: Austin Jackson #73 of the Miami Dolphins and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (74) get set New Orleans Saints during an NFL game at Caesars Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins are hoping to make a significant leap this year, but they will need the strongest possible offensive line to do that.

The 2022 season is expected to be an important one for the Miami Dolphins, who have worked hard to bolster their roster and work towards being a playoff contender once again.

The team has added weapons to the offense, namely speedy receiver Tyreek Hill and running backs Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds – giving third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa some legitimate options both in the passing and running games.

The offense has lagged behind the defense over the past few years, and improving that unit should see the Dolphins improve their regular season record and become a better, well-rounded team under first-time head coach Mike McDaniel.

One area that the team desperately needs to perform above previous levels is the offensive line, and some new additions will be hoping to have the kind of impact that can bring the unit together and elevate them to another level.

Three-time Pro Bowler Terron Armstead has been brought in to solidify the left tackle position, giving the Dolphins an immediate upgrade over previous incumbent Jesse Davis, who has joined the Minnesota Vikings after being allowed to leave in free agency.

Alongside Armstead, the Dolphins brought in Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams, who provides some firm reliability to the team’s interior line.

While Williams has played guard his whole professional career, the Dolphins are working on transitioning him into a center, with early reports indicating the move is going well and he is putting in extra work with Tagovailoa to work on their snap chemistry after practices.

This puts the Dolphins’ offensive line as follows: Armstead at LT, Robert Hunt likely to remain at RG, Williams under center, while Auston Jackson and Liam Eichenberg continue to battle for the starting right tackle position – with the ‘loser’ moving inside to left guard.

Jackson and Eichenberg both rotated on the right side of the line last year, and it remains to be seen who will earn to right to protect Tagovailoa’s blind side in 2022.

This group is already an upgrade on last season, which saw 39 sacks given up – 20 of them suffered by the team’s starting quarterback, while backup Jacoby Brissett endured 19 in just five games.

But is this truly the best five starters the Miami Dolphins could offer as pre-season gets underway?

Could J.C. Tretter help the Miami Dolphins?

One remaining free agent on the market is long-time Cleveland Brown center J.C. Tretter, who the Dolphins were linked with prior to signing Armstead and Williams during free agency earlier this year.

Tretter has been a solid starter for the Browns after a few injury-riddled seasons with the Green Bay Packers, missing just one game since making his debut with the team in 2017 – making 80 appearances, all of them starts.

In 16 games last season, Tretter earned himself a 78.7 grade from Pro Football Focus. By comparison, Michael Deiter, who the Dolphins had under center last year, earned a grade of just 60.6.

The Dolphins need to ensure that Tagovailoa is given the very best chance of staying upright in the pocket this season, with the likes of Tom Brady (22) and Josh Allen (26) enduring just a handful more sacks that the Dolphins QB, but over a full 17-game season.

A strong offensive line has eluded the Dolphins for a number of seasons, and this group is already looking like the best for quite some time, but adding a player such as Tretter could be the difference maker.

Moving Williams into his more comfortable position inside, typically at left guard, while placing the very experienced and reliable Tretter under center, would give the Dolphins a supremely strong left side of the line.

The winner of the Jackson/Eichenberg battle would take the starting right tackle role, while the other could be used in rotations both at guard or tackle throughout the season on various packages – providing the team with additional depth.

A line of Armstead, Williams, Tretter, Hunt, and Eichenberg/Jackson would easily be the strongest offensive line the Dolphins have had in recent memory and would allow Tagovailoa plenty of time to operate in the pocket.

Giving their starting quarterback the very best chance of succeeding is the top priority for the Miami Dolphins this season – which would bring out his very best, especially with such a plethora of offensive weapons around him.

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If the Dolphins are serious about being a playoff contender, and not just a team hoping to make it to the wildcard before getting bounced by a stronger team, then they should seriously consider adding Tretter and bolstering the offensive line even further.