The Miami Dolphins saw the value of offensive line depth last season when the entire right side of the line was out — and the backups got better results toward the end of year than the starters got earlier.
“That’s because they played hard and cared,” one Dolphins source said.
On Friday, the Dolphins solidified that depth by re-signing offensive tackle Sam Young to a one-year deal, according to a league source.
Young, 31 in June, was part of the upgrade on the right side when he took over for the injured Ja’Wuan James and started the final six games at right tackle. Young can also play left tackle in a pinch.
And with Young in the fold the Dolphins have done a very good job this offseason of solidifying their offensive line depth.
The team is expected to have a competition at right guard between Ted Larsen and Jesse Davis for the starting job. The loser of the competition can serve as valuable and experienced depth.
If Larsen loses the battle, he can also be the backup to Josh Sitton at left guard. If Davis loses out, he can serve as the backup at right guard and at right tackle behind James and Young.
Young obviously is the team’s No. 3 tackle so he can either go to left tackle if Laremy Tunsil goes down or take over at right tackle with James moving over to left tackle, where he played as a rookie when Branden Albert was lost for the season.
The Dolphins this offseason kept Jake Brendel to back up starter Daniel Kilgore.
And while the Dolphins have other options as backups who will compete for roster spots — such as Isaac Asiata, Zach Sterup and Eric Smith — the team seems to have forged a backup crew with actual playing experience.
Indeed, this might be the best depth the Dolphins have had along the offensive line in years.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero