In case you missed it the Miami Dolphins signed free agent running back Arian foster, and the veteran will be "rolling with the ones" according to Adam Gase. Foster's arrival to Miami was essentially a trade of running backs between the Houston Texans and the Dolphins since the Texans signed former Dolphin Lamar Miller out of free agency earlier this year.
This does however, confuse many a Dolphin fan since it seems like all the Dolphins have done is trade in a healthy productive back for an injury prone productive back. However, if you look past injuries you can see that Foster is the more complete back. Not only is he one of the smoothest running backs in the NFL right now, but he can also double as a secondary blocker for the woeful Dolphins offensive line, and perhaps give Ryan Tannehill those extra precious seconds needed to hit that touchdown bomb to any of his other weapons. It should be noted that Foster can also triple as a receiving back and make his own plays so to speak in the backfield which is an area where Miller has consistently struggled in past seasons.
Although Foster has been the more complete running back of the two, the one area that Miller has the advantage is injuries not missing a single game since 2013 whereas Foster has missed 18 games since 2013. He is also currently on the physically unable to participate (pup) list which combined with his age (29) is likely the reason the Dolphins only signed him to a one year deal.
So in my humble opinion when you sit back and look at everything the two running backs have to offer the Dolphins, the team seems to have made the right decision with choosing Foster over Miller due to the fact that the reward far outweighs the risk in this situation. For a little more clarity on the subject let’s look at two possible outcomes from this.
1.Let’s say Foster rebounds from his season-ending injury last year and returns to form for the 2016 campaign and let’s say the Dolphins don’t misuse Foster like they did Miller and actually use a running game this year. When you run the ball effectively this makes the defense target the run, which opens up the pass particularly the play action pass. With defenses focused on the run Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill should have plenty of time to pass the ball around to what should be an all-star cast of wide receivers. This all put together should have the Dolphins offense running like a well-oiled machine, combined with what should be a top 10 defense this year, and you have the makings of not only a playoff team but a young playoff team similar to what Pete Carroll has done up in Seattle. The only downside to this situation is resigning Foster to a long-term contract when the off season comes back around.
Now let’s take a look at the second of the two situations.
2.Let’s say it all falls apart early for Foster and he’s hit with a season ending injury or he just can’t return to form. The Dolphins' offense will likely take a hefty hit, but the organization as a whole shouldn’t be affected too badly financially from this outcome due to the fact that they only signed Foster to a one-year contract, meaning they can release him when they feel the time is right. However, in the meantime while Foster is on the bench, he has a whole season to teach and mentor the younger running backs for the Dolphins so that they can develop more quickly over the next couple of years.
As you can see based on these two outcomes it really is a win-win situation for the Dolphins. Let’s just hope that with or without Foster we can finally reach the playoffs and reclaim the top spot in the AFC east.