Miami Dolphins' NFL free-agent signings 2022: Terron Armstead huge boost for offensive line

NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2022 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The first round of the 2022 NFL draft begins April 28 on ESPN.

The Miami Dolphins are at a crossroads entering the 2022 offseason. They're not rebuilding, as GM Chris Grier confirmed at the NFL scouting combine this month, but after missing the playoffs for five straight seasons they can't be considered contenders, either. They have publicly committed to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and hired coach Mike McDaniel, who they hope can extract the most out of a fledgling offense. The Dolphins applied the franchise tag to tight end Mike Gesicki, locking in their second-best playmaker on a team starved for them. They entered free agency with roughly $49 million in cap space to work with as they attempt to take that next step toward competing in a loaded AFC -- starting with improving their offensive line, adding playmakers on offense and depth on defense.

Here's a breakdown of every 2022 NFL free-agent signing by the Dolphins, and how each will impact the upcoming season:

Terron Armstead, OT

The Dolphins and Armstead agreed to a five-year contract worth $87.5 million with $43.37 million guaranteed, sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What it means: This is it -- the big one. The Dolphins land ESPN's top-ranked free agent and what is hopefully the missing piece to the NFL's worst pass-blocking unit a season ago. Armstead adds stability and a level of nastiness to a line that needed a charge of energy. For an offense that's about to undergo an identity change, improving the offensive line was a must; Armstead is undoubtedly an improvement.

What's the risk: When he's healthy, Armstead is one of the best tackles in the NFL -- the problem is, he's played 64 of 97 possible games since 2016, and only played eight games last season. Injuries happen in football, but Miami is committing $43 million guaranteed to him. The Dolphins are banking on him staying healthy.

Raheem Mostert, RB

The Dolphins and the former 49ers running back agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.1 million.

What it means: Even after signing Chase Edmonds, the Dolphins continue to both to their back field with Mostert, who led the 49ers in rushing in 2019 under now-Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, who was the 49ers run game coordinator. Mostert figures to share the backfield with Edmonds as Miami looks to revamp its 30th-ranked run game from a season ago.

What's the risk: For the money and length of this contract, there’s little risk for the Dolphins — especially considering the fact that they also signed Edmonds. Mostert won’t be relied on to carry too much of a workload, so his injury history over the past two seasons should not be a concern.

Cedrick Wilson, WR

The Dolphins and Cedrick Wilson agreed to terms on a three-year deal worth $22.8 million, $12.75 million of which is guaranteed.

What it means: Two qualities Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel values in a wide receiver are separation and the ability to create after the catch. Wilson does both at a high level. Despite playing behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb with the Cowboys, Wilson averaged the 17th-most yards of separation and 14th-most yards after the catch among wide receivers in 2021. He will be a valuable option as Miami looks to add help at receiver opposite Jaylen Waddle in 2022.

What's the risk? Wilson only has one year of production in his three-year career, but $12.75 million guaranteed isn't outrageous by any means. It's a low-risk move for a player Miami thinks it can further unlock with a larger role than he previously had in Dallas.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB

Bridgewater agreed to a one-year deal with the Dolphins to back up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

What it means: The Dolphins have publicly voiced their support for Tagovailoa this offseason and adding Bridgewater doesn't change that. Considering Tagovailoa's injury history, the Dolphins needed a high-quality backup to keep the ship afloat if he misses time in 2022. This is not, however, a quarterback competition.

What's the risk? A one-year deal to bring a south Florida native home as a backup quarterback? There's little risk involved. Bridgewater is good enough to push Tagovailoa's development and experienced enough as a veteran to help the third-year starter off the field.

Chase Edmonds, RB

The Dolphins and Edmonds agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $12.6 million.

What it means: The Dolphins were 30th in the NFL in rushing last season but one of the best run-blocking teams in the league, so it was clear a change needed to be made at running back. Miami was also starved for playmakers in 2021 and Edmonds checks that box, too, as a runner and receiver. With 333 carries in four NFL seasons, the 25-year-old has plenty of tread on his tires and will slot in immediately as Miami's starter. Whether he's destined for a three-down role remains to be seen.

What's the risk? The reason it's unclear whether he will be a three-down back in Miami? Edmonds has always split time in the backfield. That's not an indictment of his ability, because he has been effective as a lead runner, but he does not have a history of handling a heavy workload. But he might not need to do it in Miami, either. Although the Dolphins needed a starter, they have plenty of depth to support Edmonds.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE

The Dolphins and Ogbah agreed to a four-year contract worth $65 million, $32 million of which is guaranteed. After contract negotiations during the season stalled, Miami locks up its marquee free agent.

What it means: Ogbah was Miami's most important pending free agent. With consecutive 9.0-sack campaigns, he has been the Dolphins' most effective pass-rusher over the past two seasons and leads the NFL in disrupting dropbacks over that span. He does not have the double-digit sack numbers to command quite the same salary as some of the league's elite pass-rushers, but this deal should make him feel valued in Miami. Letting him walk would have been a clear step back for a Dolphins defense that wants to remain as intact as possible.

What's the risk? Ogbah is not necessarily an elite pass-rusher, and one could argue whether he is among the top 10 in the NFL -- which is how he is now being paid. He has been consistent over the past two seasons, but that level of production must become his floor now that Miami has invested so much in him.

Connor Williams, G

The Dolphins and Williams agreed to a two-year deal worth $14 million, $7.5 million of which is fully guaranteed.

What it means: The Dolphins were the worst pass-blocking team in the NFL last season and Williams gives them a boost in that department. He is a former offensive tackle at the University of Texas who started the past three seasons at guard for the Cowboys. He might have the flexibility to play either spot and will get an opportunity to start for Miami this season.

What's the risk: Williams was the most-penalized guard in the NFL last season after logging just 16 combined penalties in the three seasons prior. So the risk is his 2021 season not being an anomaly, but that's unlikely to be the case. Miami needed to improve its offensive line and does so in a relatively inexpensive manner here.

Preston Williams, WR

The Dolphins and Williams have agreed to a one-year contract worth up to $1.99 million. The undrafted receiver has spent all three of his NFL seasons with Miami and now extends his stay under the new coaching staff.

What it means: The Dolphins had a desperate need for wide receiver help entering the offseason and have tried to rectify that by adding Cedrick Wilson and retaining Williams. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound, self-described "unicorn" flashed as a rookie before injuries and suspensions derailed his momentum over the past two seasons. But he is also arguably the team's best blocking receiver, which could go a long way under head coach Mike McDaniel. Williams won't be the first, second or third option in the passing game without a massive leap in his development, but if this new staff can tap into the potential he showed in 2019, this is a steal.

What's the risk: Worst-case scenario? Williams doesn't make it out of camp. Best-case scenario? He recaptures his 2019 form and turns into a valuable asset at a thin position. It's a low-risk move for GM Chris Grier.

Duke Riley, LB

The Dolphins and Riley have agreed to a 1-year, $3 million deal. The former third-round pick remains with Miami after previously signing a one-year deal in 2021.

What it means: Riley is a rotational defensive player and a special teams staple. He played 60% of their special teams snaps last season and figures to continue in that role in 2022.

What's the risk: It's a low-risk deal for a player who won't necessarily be expected to to play a major role. Miami has money to spend and rewards one of its own for a solid 2021 campaign.

Elandon Roberts, LB

The Dolphins and Roberts have agreed to a 1-year deal worth $3.25 million. He returned after tearing his ACL in 2020 to have a solid season in 2021, finishing third on the team in combined tackles.

What it means: The Dolphins seem intent on running it back on defense, keeping yet another integral piece of their linebacker corps. Roberts was a team captain in 2021 and an enforcer in the middle of the field. He'll continue to play alongside Jerome Baker as Miami hopes to maintain its level of defensive play from a season ago.

What's the risk: Roberts does not offer much in terms of pass coverage and Miami needs to add speed in the middle of the field to combat some of the athletic quarterbacks in its conference (read: Josh Allen). But the Dolphins aren't breaking the bank for Roberts and he will provide valuable leadership if they decide to draft a linebacker this year.

Keion Crossen, CB

The Dolphins and Crossen agreed to a three-year, $9.45 million deal.

What it means: Considering they lost their best special teams player, Mack Hollins, to the Raiders, Crossen figures to slide into that role as a special teams ace.

What's the risk: Miami can get out of this contract after one year if Crossen, for some reason, doesn't work out. But he is a dedicated special teamer who appreciates his craft and won't likely be asked to do much else considering the players at his position.

Durham Smythe, TE

The Dolphins and Smythe agreed to a two-year deal worth $7 million, bringing back their No. 2 tight end from a season ago.

What it means: Smythe set career-highs in receptions and receiving yards last season as the Dolphins used him to complement Gesicki. With those two returning, Miami can run effective 12 personnel groupings with two capable tight ends.

What's the risk: Smythe's presence will likely take away from Hunter Long's snaps for the second year in a row, which could stunt the development of the 2021 third-round pick. This coaching staff did not draft Long, however, so their attachment to him is minimal.

Alec Ingold, FB

The Dolphins and Ingold agreed to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.

What it means: You just knew McDaniel would target a fullback after watching Kyle Juszczyk's usage over the past few years in San Francisco, so Inglod's signing doesn't come as a surprise. He'll be a critical lead blocker in McDaniel's run-heavy offense and should become a favorite of new running backs Mostert and Edmonds.

What's the risk: Ingold tore his ACL in November and began his rehab shortly after signing with the Dolphins. Beyond the injury risk, there's little concern for a 25-year-old fullback who is on one of the few teams that still value the position.

Brennan Scarlett, LB

The Dolphins are bringing back Scarlett on a one-year deal worth $1.85 million.

What it means: As has been the theme this offseason, the Dolphins are keeping their linebacker room intact, culminating with the re-signing of Scarlett. The 28-year-old played a whopping 77% of the team's special teams snaps last season and figures to play another vital role on those units in 2022.

What's the risk: Scarlett hasn't been asked to do much on defense, but he's a core special teamer and Miami isn't banking on much more from him.

Trent Sherfield, WR

The Dolphins and Sherfield agreed to a one-year contract.

What it means: Sherfield's familiarity with McDaniel from their 49ers days and ability to play on special teams should help his new teammates acclimate to their new coach. He likely won't contribute much on offense, but don't rule anything out.

What's the risk: There's little risk with a one-year deal for a player who will compete for a roster spot this summer.