The Miami Dolphins have 53 players on their roster. They surprisingly opted to keep only four WR’s while keeping some suspect depth in the secondary on defense.
QB: At QB the team opted to keep three of their four. Pat Devlin makes the squad for the third year as a back-up to the back-up.
Read into it: The fact that Devlin made the team tells me that Matt Moore’s future in Miami is down to this season. The Dolphins see something in Devlin. At least enough to keep him around for a 3rd year back-up. Initial indication is that Devlin will move to the number two spot either later this year or next. Matt Moore’s salary is low enough that the Dolphins can eat the guaranteed portion if need be in a trade. The question is will anyone trade for him. After this season, the only portion of Moore’s contract that is guaranteed, the team could simply release him.
RB: The Dolphins kept, on paper, five RB’s. Evan Rodriquez makes the squad for now as the lone FB but he is also a TE/RB hybrid. Marcus Thigpen is also listed as a RB but is the teams return specialist and can be split out as a WR. That leaves three RB’s on the Dolphins roster. Starter Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and rookie Mike Gillislee. Jonas Gray simply didn’t show enough to warrant a 53 man slot but could be brought back if he clears waivers to join the practice squad. Across the NFL several RB’s were let go that have more immediate upside than Gray. The Dolphins also have Charles Clay although they list him as a TE.
Read into it: Nothing much to read into actually. The Dolphins were not likely to keep all of their true RB’s. The question here is what has Rodriquez actually shown to warrant a stay at FB? The Dolphins don’t use a FB in this offense often and Clay could easily handle what limited use they would need. Evan was also scantily seen in pre-season as well. In my opinion, Rodriquez could be a player the team either views as a future prospect despite his being in the league now for two years, or he could be a bubble roster player that could be churned.
WR: The Dolphins kept Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, and Mathews. No big surprise at the top four but not having a 5th WR speaks volumes of what they believe they had on the roster.
Read into it: Everything. There is no imaginable reason to believe the Dolphins will hit the regular season with only four wide-outs. At least two should be brought back to the practice squad but I would have to imagine the team is looking at the free agent list and hoping to add another WR to the 53 man roster. This unit is far too thin to be comfortable.
TE: The Dolphins are rumored to be making a play for veteran TE D.J. Williams of the Packers who was released on Saturday. Williams is an upgrade over any TE’s currently on the roster but when you look at the roster, it’s not surprising. Charles Clay is running poor routes, Dion Jordan looks very good but is a rookie, Michael Egnew is looking better but still raw. The list ends there. The Dolphins may want to appear set to go with just the three but it’s hard to believe they will put their off-season spending on the shoulders of a trio of non-proven TE’s.
OL: Not a lot of changes to the offensive line took place. The Dolphins lone surprise may have been the retention of Will Yeatman as a guard/tackle. For some reason the former TE is still getting a shot to move around the offensive line.
Read into it: Nothing. The Dolphins may take a look at some of the FA lineman and if they do the bottom could churn at the position. The Dolphins main focus is to settle on a starter at RG which is problematic.
Defensive Line: Kheeston Randall’s release came as a bit of surprise. Unfortunately the Dolphins depth along the front is deep and very little separated the bottom of this unit from those cuts. Randall will likely find himself a home as he still has a lot of potential. The Dolphins opted for Vaughn Martin who performed well in time against first team offenses and Derrick Shelby who beat out Randall.
Read into it: Not much to read. The Dolphins may add another but likely to the practice squad. The unit doesn’t have a lot to give up here so a player added will likely be subtracted from somewhere else.
LB’s: Austin Spitler is gone and Jason Trusnik remains. The Dolphins went for youth given all things equal. Jonathan Freeney, Josh Kaddu, and rookie Jelani Jenkins all made the roster and will support the starters and contribute on special teams.
Read into it: Nothing. This was a camp battle that Spitler had to win outright. Due to make over a million dollars, Spitler needed to soar and frankly didn’t. He only marginally looked better than any of the other three and has age working against him. The Dolphins won’t likely look to add anyone to the 53 at the position.
CB: The Dolphins kept a whopping seven corners. None more surprising than rookie Don Jones and R.J. Sanford. Sanford looked lost at times during the pre-season and it’s imaginable that he could very well see his roster spot given to a free agent waiver claim as early today. Don Jones at least has the benefit of being a rookie. The Dolphins could opt to release him later today after teams have filled out their practice squad players, then likely he would clear any waiver stakes and the Dolphins could put him on their own PS. Nolan Carroll has to be on his last leg here as well and I believe that once the other rookies, Will Davis and Jamar Taylor get up to NFL speed, Carroll future will not be in Miami.
Read into it: The Dolphins have not one but two CB’s to spare and it’s likely that by the end of Sunday at least one of these spots will be gone. It’s possible the team could look to bring in another corner but with young prospects like Davis and Taylor, I would be more inclined to believe these spots will be given to another roster position.
Safeties: Opting to keep four safeties is not as surprising as the fact that they kept Kelcie McCray. McCray looked lost and out of place during the pre-season and it’s unlikely he will make an impact in the regular season. His special teams contributions were negligible as well.
Read into it: The Dolphins will look over the waivers and see who is out there and then make a move if need be. McCray is the odd man out and should be easy to replace.
Availability: With all 32 NFL teams now at 53 the next step is waiver claims and practice squad additions. Teams will know their waiver claims around noon today. They will start forming their practice units shortly after. The Dolphins won’t likely be overly active but there are some names on the market now that could come into play for a team looking to add some quality depth.
QB – None needed
RB – None needed
TE – DJ Williams is a rumored target and Clay Harbor was released by the Eagles and could be an option. Harbor however is still a project. Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard are also available.
WR – Robert Meacham His failure in SD was monumental as he made 1 million per reception after signing a huge free agent contract a year ago. He will receive a much cheaper non-guaranteed one this year as he will make roughly 5 million being unemployed by the Chargers. Meacham still could be a strong veteran WR serving as a number five in Miami’s offense.
OL – Danny Watkins is a former 1st round guard who has failed in Philadelphia. A bruising guard that could be as solid as Richie Incognito. Watkins needs a change of scenery and the Dolphins could provide an opportunity. Tony Pashos hit the streets and could provide tackle depth to a unit in need but his starting days are likely behind him.
DL/DE – The Dolphins don’t “need” anyone here but Marvin Austin of the NY Giants could be a solid pick-up who could make a challenge down the road. He needs a change of scenery as well.
CB – Marcus Trufant is an aging veteran who was axed by the Jaguars. He could fill a back-up role for the right team. I still don’t believe the Dolphins will look to add a corner from the market.
S – None available