He's back: QB Jay Cutler is coming back. Sources say he's agreed to sign with the #Dolphins.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 6, 2017
Let’s take a look at the impact this signing will have on the Dolphins’ offense.
The biggest beneficiary of this signing has to be Julius Thomas. We’re all aware that Thomas is reunited with Gase, who was the OC in Denver when Thomas went on his prolific touchdown scoring run. What’s interesting though is how much Cutler likes his tight ends in the red zone. Over the past two seasons, Cutler has thrown nine of this 25 touchdowns to his tight ends. That’s a whopping 36% of his touchdowns. The biggest knock on Thomas has been how TD dependent he is, but now he’s with a QB that loves throwing to tight ends near the goal line. He’s also no longer with a QB that has as many wins as he does pick-sixes. I’m moving Thomas up into my high-end TE2 range.
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As for the other Miami pass-catchers, not much changes. Jarvis Landry is still a downward trending wide receiver that the Dolphins are not willing to commit to, Kenny Stills isn’t going to be consistent enough to be relevant in fantasy, and DeVante Parker continues to be a sleeper that never pans out.
If nothing else, the Dolphins offense is going to be even more run heavy. Last season, they ran the fewest plays in the NFL and threw just three more passes than the last place team, the Buffalo Bills. That’s not going to change with Cutler. Over the past three seasons, Cutler is averaging almost one full interception per game. If the Dolphins want a chance to compete in the AFC East, they’re going to have to continue to rely on their run game, mainly Jay Ajayi. Ajayi’s stock is already high (RB7 according to FantasyPros), so I wouldn’t move him past guys like Devonta Freeman or Melvin Gordon per se, but it gives me more confidence in keeping him ahead of DeMarco Murray and Jordan Howard.
As for the other RBs, I believe that the Cutler signing bumps Damien Williams past Kenyan Drake as the handcuff to own. Williams has never been an effective runner, but he’s an excellent receiver and threat out of the backfield. Cutler’s history with good receiving backs (see: Matt Forte), gives me hope that if Ajayi were to get injured, Williams would be the RB to own.
I saved Cutler’s fantasy value for last because I think it’s the least impactful. At the very least, his name won’t be greyed out anymore on draft boards, but there shouldn’t be any reason to draft him in standard redraft leagues.
What do you think about the Jay Cutler signing? Feel free to leave a comment, and let’s talk about it.