The Miami Dolphins finished their pre-season last night but a slew of NFL games remain on the docket tonight before a final wrap leads to the mandatory roster cuts to 53. The deadline is tomorrow close of business. Teams will pare their rosters down from 75 putting at maximum, 22 players from each team on the waiver wire. It’s unlikely that the Dolphins will make any moves this evening leaving both the fans and the players on the bubble dangling as today comes to a close.
The Dolphins however have not be idly sitting by. Today, Jeff Ireland and the coaches worked out wide-receivers, one of which was former Patriot Dont’e Stallworth and will apparently work out fellow former Patriot Jabar Gaffney tomorrow. All this and rumors persist that the Dolphins are trying to wheel and deal for another WR, presumably James Jones of the Packers.
Other players to watch as the weekend arrives and unfolds are LB Karlos Dansby and Running Backs Daniel Thomas and Steve Slaton who could be shipped off for draft pick compensation or part of a deal that would bring a WR to the team. The Dolphins are surely going to be watching the waiver wire tomorrow and Saturday and likely will put in a claim on one or two WR’s. In other words, the bottom players that make the team tomorrow will be out of a job by Monday.
For now it’s a wait and see approach but it is worth noting that while many assume that Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore are safe, if the Dolphins sign veteran WR’s it likely will mean the end of those two rather than a prospect who makes it through. The reality is that Wallace and Moore along with veteran FA Legedu Naane have been unimpressive through four pre-season games. The fact that they are “veterans” is an indictment on how little they have to offer. In fact, it’s very likely that any of the Dolphins receivers that are not rookies will find it difficult to land jobs elsewhere in the NFL.
Of course the big talk is that of Jeff Ireland stating something to the fact that the Dolphins WR group will look different come opening day. Something he said at the end of the last HBO Hard Knocks episode. If that is true as some in the local media want to predict, the next 72 hours for the Dolphins will be a busy time. It’s imperative that the Dolphins at least have any new starters on their roster by Monday. The most talked about of course is James Jones from Green Bay.
Most of the talk is nothing more than mere speculation. The history of Joe Philbin in GB and the fact that the Packers have a loaded WR group. So far there has been nothing more than that type of speculation but we all heard the same talk in regards to Matt Flynn when he hit free agency. In reality though, Jones may be the best option for now. He knows the system and could likely step in with little acclimation. The downside to Jones is that he isn’t 100% sure handed. While he will make the tough catches, he tends to drop the easy ones and in no way is Jones thought of as a number 1 WR.
About two months ago I predicted that Jones would be a Miami Dolphin but honestly, I thought that would have happened by now. Jeff Ireland sits on an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick in next years draft but I do not believe that Jones is worth more than a 5th at best. While speedy, he is too erratic to rely on without having adequate accompaniment.
By this time tomorrow the Dolphins roster is going to look much thinner. David Garrard who has not returned from his knee injury is guaranteed his salary if he is on the roster at the start of the season. The Dolphins could elect to house him on the IR and possibly bring him back later in the season after week 8 under the new agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. Garrard was a much needed veteran leader that this team lacks on offense but an injury helps no one.
The biggest battles and questions will come from the offensive line where John Jerry got a long look last night in Dallas and at RB where the Dolphins have Bush, Thomas, Slaton, and Miller. It doesn’t help the fan base when rumors fly that Detroit is looking to trade for a RB. There are some who believe that Reggie Bush should be traded now while he has value and likely will not be re-signed next year, while others feel that one season is enough for Daniel Thomas.
In the end, the final decisions will be made the same way everything has been made thus far. With Philbin and Ireland talking it over. You can bet that Ireland is working the phone lines and it’s going to be a long night in Davie, Fl.