Dolphins 2023 free agency tracker: Anderson adds to Miami's speed

MIAMI -- NFL free agency is winding down, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2023 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The new league year began on March 15 at 4 p.m. ET, and the first round of the 2023 NFL draft begins April 27 on ESPN.

The Miami Dolphins already made an offseason splash when they sent a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Sunday, creating possibly the best cornerback tandem in the NFL alongside All-Pro Xavien Howard.

Here's a breakdown of every 2023 NFL free-agent signing by the Dolphins, and how each will impact the upcoming season:

Chosen Robbie Anderson, wide receiver

Anderson signed a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins lost their third-leading receiver in free agency this offseason in Trent Sherfield, and Anderson joins a group of players jockeying to fill the role. He is a speed merchant, which fits nicely into the overall theme of Miami's offense, but he will have to beat out Cedrick Wilson, Erik Ezukanma and River Cracraft for the final two receiver spots come training camp.

What's the risk: Anderson posted a career-high 1,096 yards in 2020 and has experienced a steep statistical decline ever since, with just 737 yards in his past 29 games. When healthy and motivated, Anderson is one of the better vertical threats in the NFL. The Dolphins aren't relying on him to be a 1,000-yard receiver, however, so the risk here is capped by his expectations.

Andrew Van Ginkel, linebacker

Van Ginkel signed a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins' pass rush rotation should be pretty much set, with Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, Emmanuel Ogbah, Malik Reed and now van Ginkel -- who had entertained joining another team before ultimately returning to Miami. Van Ginkel is also a consistent contributor on special teams, where he'll most likely have the biggest impact this season.

What's the risk: From a pass-rushing perspective, keeping Melvin Ingram might have been the better option. But as previously mentioned, van Ginkel is a plus special teams player and that gives him the edge. He can be an effective pass-rusher when called upon. Van Ginkel recorded 9.5 combined sacks in 2020 and 2021.

Malik Reed, linebacker

Reed signed a one-year deal.

What it means: Between Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips, the Dolphins believe they have their pass-rush tandem of the future -- but they need depth behind them. With Melvin Ingram and Andrew Van Ginkel hitting free agency this offseason, Reed gives Miami a productive rotational pass-rusher.

What's the risk: Reed's production has tapered off since his eight-sack performance in 2020; he only had one in 14 games with the Steelers last year. But Reed is only 26 and was at his best playing under the Dolphins' current defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio in Denver.

Jake Bailey, punter

Bailey signed a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins have a new starting punter for the third straight season. Bailey is a former All-Pro who should help improve one of the worst special teams units in the NFL from a season ago. Miami's former punter, Thomas Morstead, wasn't necessarily the issue, but Bailey is one year removed from signing a $13.5 million extension with the Patriots and is one of the better punters in the league.

What's the risk: Bailey's numbers declined a bit after his All-Pro season and a back injury limited him to nine games in 2022. As long as that back injury doesn't have long-term, debilitating effects, this should be a value signing for Miami.

River Cracraft, wide receiver

Cracraft signed a one-year deal.

What it means: Cracraft was a reliable, albeit little-used slot option last season, playing a career-high 159 offensive snaps in his first year with the Dolphins. He knows Mike McDaniel's offense and provides veteran leadership in the wide receivers room.

What's the risk: Cracraft's role appears to be a bit redundant considering the signing of Braxton Berrios, but considering it's a 1-year deal, there's no guarantee he makes the final 53-man roster. While Cracraft was used frequently on special teams during his two years in San Francisco, he played a career-low 11 special teams snaps last season.

Braxton Berrios, wide receiver

Berrios signed a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins have not only found a starting slot receiver, but also a skilled return man –- a critical addition for one of the worst special teams units in the NFL last season. Miami struggled to return kicks and punts with any sort of effectiveness in 2022 and hopes the former Jet can remedy the situation.

What's the risk: It's just a one-year deal, so there is no long-term financial risk. Miami does have one of the most dangerous punt returners in the NFL on its roster in wide receiver Tyreek Hill, but has essentially vowed not to use him as a returner. So the risk in this case lies in keeping Hill off the field, but it's one the Dolphins will gladly take if it means preserving the All-Pro's health.

Dan Feeney, guard

Feeney signed a one-year deal.

What it means: Feeney is a versatile interior offensive lineman who can play both guard spots and center, if need be. He will not challenge Rob Hunt or Connor Williams for a starting job but could potentially push Liam Eichenberg if the third-year lineman doesn't take the necessary steps forward this offseason.

What's the risk: Feeney has operated as a backup over the past two seasons, so there's a decent amount of risk if the Dolphins are counting on him to push Eichenberg. If this is purely for depth, there's little to no risk involved.

Kendall Lamm, offensive tackle

Lamm signed a one-year deal.

What it means: Lamm was critical toward the end of last season as the Dolphins' offensive line was decimated by injuries. He won't likely challenge for a starting job but Miami learned the importance of depth last year and he provides exactly that.

What's the risk: There's little risk involved in this signing considering what Lamm's role in 2023 should be. He proved himself capable of starting in a pinch, which is essential considering the injury histories of Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson.

Nik Needham, cornerback

Needham signed a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins' starting slot cornerback returns. Needham is versatile and can play both cornerback positions and safety if need be. He's still recovering from a torn Achilles but will compete with last year's rookie standout Kader Kohou for the nickel job in 2023.

What's the risk: Needham is recovering from a major injury but the Dolphins still have Kohou if Needham's rehab is delayed for any reason. It's a low risk move that maintains continuity in the defensive secondary.

Eric Saubert, tight end

Saubert and the Dolphins agreed on a one-year deal.

What it means: The journeyman tight end joins his fifth team in seven seasons after setting career-highs with 15 catches for 148 yards with the Broncos last season. Saubert likely slots in behind Durham Smythe, who is still Miami's most complete player at the position.

What's the risk: Mike Gesicki is presumably not returning to Miami after a sharp decline in usage last season, and the Dolphins do not have a receiving tight end -- Saubert is unproven in that role but is talented after the catch when given the opportunity.

Myles Gaskin, running back

Gaskin is returning on a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins have now re-signed their entire backfield from the 2022 season as Gaskin joins Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed. He was active in just four games last season but was the team's leading rusher in 2020 and 2021. He and Ahmed will likely compete to be the third active running back on game days.

What's the risk: It's another low-risk move that keeps a homegrown player in south Florida. Gaskin provides depth but is behind Mostert and Wilson in the backfield pecking order. The level of risk here depends on whether you believe the Dolphins should have swung for a big-name running back instead of retaining the same players from last season.

DeShon Elliott, safety

Elliott is returning on a one-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins add a physical safety to a deep secondary. Elliott has starting experience and should slot in at strong safety if Brandon Jones' recovery from a torn ACL extends into the regular season -- but both players figure to rotate in a Vic Fangio scheme that relies on good safety play. He essentially fills the role voided by Eric Rowe, who is a free agent.

What's the risk: It's a one-year deal for a rotational safety who has started 35 games over the past three years -- there's little to no risk here. This is another good value signing for Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, who is off to a strong start this offseason.

Raheem Mostert, running back

The Dolphins reached agreement on a two-year deal with Mostert.

What it means: The Dolphins get their leading rusher back from a season ago. Mostert turned in his healthiest season since 2019 and set a career-high in rushing yards in 2022 with 891. When he signs, he projects as the team's starter for a second straight year. His return also likely means the end of any pursuit of a big-name back via trade, unless the deal is too good to pass up.

What's the risk: Mostert was healthy for the most part last season after two injury-riddled seasons, but he turns 31 this offseason and the shelf life for running backs after 30 isn't particularly long. His age is misleading, however, because his usage has been relatively low throughout his nine-year career.

Jeff Wilson Jr., running back

The Dolphins are giving Wilson a two-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins are officially running it back with their starting backfield from a season ago. Miami traded a fifth-round pick for Wilson prior to last year's trade deadline and he formed an impactful tandem with Mostert. Both backs will likely reprise their roles in 2023, with the hopes that a full offseason together in Miami will help the Dolphins run the ball more effectively than they did last season (25th in rushing yards per game). Wilson in particular, was a massive energizer for the Dolphins' offense with his easygoing demeanor in the locker room and physical play on the field.

What's the risk: While the Mostert-Wilson tandem got off to a hot start, their production rapidly cooled off during a five-game losing streak in December and January. Granted, the offense as a whole regressed during that skid, but the Dolphins are banking on that slide being an anomaly. Wilson is familiar with Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, dating back to their days with the 49ers, so any risk they're taking with him is about as educated as it gets.

Duke Riley, linebacker

The Dolphins signed Riley to a two-year deal.

What it means: Riley was a special teams standout in each of the past two seasons and was the Dolphins best coverage linebacker last season. That role will likely be filled by David Long, but Riley offers quality depth and familiarity in a locker room he's occupied since 2021.

What's the risk: For what he will be asked to do -- provide depth and produce on special teams -- this is a low-risk move. Riley proved capable when called upon last season and is still only 28.

David Long Jr., linebacker

The Dolphins are giving Long a two-year deal.

What it means: The Dolphins had a glaring weakness in the middle of the field, and Long helps solve that. He is an aggressive off-ball linebacker who should play alongside Jerome Baker and help keep the Dolphins as one of the better defenses in the NFL against the run. Long is coming off the best season of his career, and the two-year deal means the Dolphins believe in his trajectory. He also provides something in pass coverage that Miami currently lacks.

What's the risk: Unfortunately, the best season of Long's career was cut short by a hamstring injury in December. He can rush the passer, but his aggression can betray him; he was prone to missing tackles last season. But at $11 million over the next two years, he doesn't represent too drastic of a financial commitment, and is a low-risk move.

Mike White, quarterback

Miami is giving former New York Jets quarterback Mike White a two-year deal worth up to $16 million, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What it means: Coach Mike McDaniel and Grier said at the combine that the Dolphins were in the market for a high-end back-up quarterback, and they get perhaps the best available in White. Especially considering Tua Tagovailoa's injury history, Miami needed a backup who can carry a high-powered offense for at least a game or two. Skylar Thompson remains on the roster after starting in Miami's must-win regular-season finale and wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills -- but he will have to earn the backup job over White.

What's the risk: There's very little risk attached to this signing. White is talented, but not enough so to challenge Tagovailoa for the starting job. He comes to Miami knowing what his role is.