A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Thursday:
▪ The Dolphins moved on from Jarvis Landry primarily because they didn’t want to meet his request for $15 million a year with $50 million guaranteed. The believe Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola will more than adequately replace him.
But the names in the receiver room aren’t the only things changing. The approach will, too.
The Dolphins no longer want offensive targets so heavily imbalanced toward one player.
Instead, they would like to spread the ball around more, believing it will make them less predictable.
Last season, Dolphins quarterbacks threw 599 passes and 160 of those went to Landry — 26.7 percent.
Landry caught 112 of them, and his 160 targets were fourth-most in the NFL, behind only DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald.
And the large volume of targets to Landry weren’t always a good thing. During his four seasons here, Miami was 6-13 when Landry caught at least eight passes in a game. So large doses of Landry didn’t translate to winning.
And even though he led the league in catches with 112 last season, his 8.8 per catch average was second-worst among all receivers.
Conversely, Kenny Stills was targeted 106 times (tied for 29th most in the NFL), DeVante Parker 96 times (tied for 39th), Jakeem Grant 22 and Leonte Carroo 14.
The Dolphins are adding receivers who had 86 targets last season (Amendola, with New England) and Wilson (63, with Kansas City).
▪ Wilson, of course, hasn’t achieved anything close to what Landry has in their careers. But in Wilson, the Dolphins are getting a faster player.
They’re also getting a player, like Landry, who can make defenders miss.
Wilson was third in forced missed tackles with 15 last season. Landry was second with 17.
But Wilson (42 catches) forced a missed tackle on 36 percent of his catches, compared with 15 percent for Landry.
Wilson was in the slot about 58 percent of the time. He dropped two passes, compared with one for Landry.
▪ New Dolphins center Daniel Kilgore, acquired Thursday in a swap of seventh-round picks with San Francisco, has started the past 39 of the past 41 games he has played, including 16 last season.
He allowed four sacks last season, while the man he is replacing — Mike Pouncey — relinquished only one, according to Pro Football Focus.
But PFF rated Kilgore 23rd among all centers last season and Pouncey 27th.
Kilgore was rated much better as a run blocker — 19th compared with 30th for Pouncey.
Kilgore’s 2018 cap hit ($5.4 million) and the dead money on Pouncey’s deal ($2 million) add up to $7.4 million, less than the $9 million hit on Pouncey that Miami would have had if the Dolphins hadn’t cut Pouncey.
Miami simply decided to move on from Pouncey, believing Kilgore was better value.
And Kilgore’s cap hit will be only $2.8 million in 2019 and $3.6 million in 2020.
Kilgore has a $2.3 million roster bonus due at 4 p.m. Friday, as ESPN’s Field Yates reported. So the 49ers had incentive to make this deal after signing interior lineman Weston Richburg to a rich deal earlier this offseason.
▪ Why did the Dolphins keep right tackle Ja’Wuan James at $9.3 million after initial hesitation?
A couple reasons: Even though the Dolphins believed only about three of James’ eight games last season were excellent, they believe he’s still young enough (25) that he can eliminate the inconsistency and become a clearly above-average lineman. This fifth season will give them an opportunity to see if he has turned the corner and is worthy of a long-term investment.
Also, the free agent tackle market was very weak. The Browns gave five years and $37.5 million to Steelers free agent Chris Hubbard, another lineman that Miami liked. So the Dolphins knew finding a replacement wouldn’t be easy if they moved on from James.
With the Dolphins signing Josh Sitton, they now have two of the NFL’s top 20 offensive linemen at their positions in terms of performance last season, based on PFF’s ratings.
James was rated 17th among tackles before his injury. PFF rated Sitton fifth overall among guards — fifth as a run blocker and 11th as a pass blocker.
PFF noted last December than in addition to remaining “excellent” as a pass blocker, “he has been better than he has in the past as a run blocker.”
▪ There has been contact between the Dolphins and Chad Henne’s camp, as I reported on Twitter on Wednesday, but it’s uncertain if it will go anywhere. Henne is visiting Tennessee and Kansas City and Miami remains in the mix.
The list of available remaining veteran quarterbacks isn’t great: Geno Smith, Drew Stanton, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Blaine Gabbert, E.J. Manuel, Matt Moore, Colin Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Brock Osweiler and Brandon Weeden.
The Dolphins prefer to move on from Moore largely because of durability issues.
UPDATE: The Dolphins have resigned veteran David Fales.…
Though the Dolphins need another starting linebacker, they had not — as of Thursday morning — reached out on Detroit’s Tahir Whitehead, perhaps the best free agent outside linebacker remaining. Washington free agent Zach Brown is an option at the right price, but there wasn’t an aggressive pursuit there in the early part of free agency.
▪ The Dolphins won’t get cap relief from Ndamukong Suh’s deal until June 1.
So what will the Dolphins do with the $17 million of Suh cap relief this summer?
The plan is to use that money to sign the draft class and have a war chest of funds available if an appealing player becomes available this summer or if the team needs space to sign an injury replacement. Some of that money likely will be carried over until 2019.
Suh’s dead money cap hit would be $9.1 million this season, $13.1 million next season.