Kelly: OBJ’s the finishing touch to a Miami Dolphins offensive makeover

May 7, 2024

Odell Beckham Jr. and Jonnu Smith give Dolphins an offensive makeover |  Miami Herald

The statements were bold, braggadocious, and matched the Miami Dolphins’ latest roster move.

“It’s about to get ugly in Miami,” Tyreek Hill bragged with a cheesy grin emoji at the end of the social media post he authored hours after his team agreed to terms with Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday.

The Miami Dolphins All Pro receiver then changed his profile picture on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to an image of General Manager Chris Grier providing a cheesy grin of his own.

Hill was seemingly taking a victory lap celebrating the enhancements Miami made on offense by adding Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowl talent, who has pulled in 566 NFL receptions, and turned them into 7,934 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in the nine seasons he’s played since 2014.

All Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey used his social media platform to remind Beckham about their championship run with the Los Angeles Rams.

“You remember what happened the last time right O?” Ramsey posted on X, showing he and Beckham celebrating the Rams’ Super Bowl win back in 2022.

Beckham’s addition was the first all-in move the Dolphins made this offseason, a transaction that proves Miami’s pushing for AFC supremacy again.

The talk has again turned bold because Beckham’s signing, which hasn’t become official yet, could be viewed as the finishing touch to an offseason makeover.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. strikes a pose in the paddocks ahead of the Formula One Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome on Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. strikes a pose in the paddocks ahead of the Formula One Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome on Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla.


Last offseason head coach Mike McDaniel committed himself to balancing out Miami’s offense, improving the running game because the 2022 team was too pass game centric, and it left the Dolphins with an imbalance.

Miami added De’Von Achane in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft, upgraded to Butch Barry as the offensive line coach, and the Dolphins finished 2023 with the highest yards per carry average (5.06), and sixth highest rushing yards per game (135.8).

McDaniel, who came to the Dolphins with a reputation as a run game specialist, had finally flexed his expertise.

This offseason the Dolphins seemingly put the offense’s focus on elevating the talent level at tight end, and balancing out the passing game by improving the No. 3 spot receiver spot. Both were staples of the program McDaniel came from in San Francisco.

Miami signed Jonnu Smith, who has started 78 NFL games in his seven seasons, and contributed 21 touchdowns on his 219 career receptions. Smith’s known for his run after catch skills, and his ability to threaten seams like a receiver.

The Dolphins also added Jody Fortson, a former college receiver who spent the past five seasons serving as Travis Kelce’s understudy in Kansas City when he was healthy, which wasn’t often.


Beckham, Smith and Fortson provide McDaniel three new weapons that could diversify his offense, strengthening formations that were weak, and enhancing Miami’s red zone and goal-to-go package because all three possess skill sets – like the ability to high point balls, and catch tough passes in traffic – that were missing for last year’s team.

Their addition – along with the selection of tailback Jaylen Wright, and receivers Malik Washington and Tahj Washington – should give the Dolphins a more well-rounded offense.

One that has an endless supply of packages that should challenge opposing defenses.


Look at this offseason’s improvements as Miami, which had the top ranked offense last year in yards produced (401.3 per game) and second in points scored (29.2), strengthened weak areas of a chain link fence.

Beckham likely inherits the 545 snaps on offense Cedrick Wilson Jr. took as the No. 3 receiver in 2023, and it’s possible Beckham could supersede Braxton Berrios (456) and River Cracraft (185) in the receiver pecking order.

Add all those snaps up and there’s a potential for Beckham to play just as much as Hill, who played 695 snaps, despite missing one game because of injury.

Clearly he’s not going to handle that many, but it’s there for the taking. Beckham will at least improve the snaps that feature Hill and Waddle taking a breather, or when they are sidelined by injuries.

Smythe, who has primarily been a blocker most of his six-year career, handled more offensive snaps (785) than any other skill player, edging out Hill.

Smith’s addition will likely lighten Smythe’s workload, and it’s safe to assume the former Florida International standout will inherit the bulk of the 343 offensive snaps Julian Hill, a rookie, got last season as the No. 2 tight end.

So that’s a clear upgrade at receiver and tight end if everyone stays healthy.

The I-formation package features a Pro Bowl fullback in Alec Ingold, who was used for 425 and 427 offensive snaps the last two seasons, and a tight end. That package represents nearly 36 percent of the offensive snaps, so Miami’s favorite formation is strengthened, and so is Miami’s 12 personnel, which features two tight ends.

The ace formation (three receiver sets) likely features Beckham being paired with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who have each worked as a slot receiver throughout their careers. Then put Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane in the backfield and the Dolphins would be putting an arsenal of speedsters, and playmakers on the field that would rival any team in the NFL.

That means if everyone can stay healthy, McDaniel has new toys that will help the Dolphins offense continue to set the pace for offensive innovation, and creativity in 2024.

It will be interesting to see exactly how creative McDaniel and Miami’s high-powered offense can get now.