Miami Dolphins Fields release a calculated gamble


When the Miami Dolphins opted to get younger at the punter position today, it was as much about money as it was about competition. Brandon Fields’ Dolphins career has ended at eight years. Two seasons ago Fields made the pro-bowl but last year saw a big dip in his production prompting the Dolphins to find competition for him this off-season.

More from Dolphins News

Entering the 2015 season, Fields was due to make over $3 million but the team spoke with him and he agreed to a pay cut to give the team some cap relief. Now they have decided that all of it would be enough. To be fair, there wasn’t much difference this pre-season between now starter Matt Darr and Fields.

In pre-season game one against Chicago, Darr punted three times for a 37.0 yard average with a long of 56 yards. Fields punted three times for a 36.4 average and a 58 yard long. Pre-season game two against the Panthers Fields won the head to head punting for with three punts for a 47 yard average, one punt inside the 20, and a long of 56. Darr however wasn’t that far behind. Darr punted twice for a 47.0 yard average and a long of 56 as well.

Week three was supposed to be separation week but it didn’t prove to show much separation.  Fields punted again three times for a 40 yard average, two inside the 20, and a 58 yard long punt. Darr punted twice again for the 2nd week in a row and averaged 44.0 yards per punt with one inside the 20, and a long of 58.  All things considered, it was a very equal pre-season. An equal pre-season that ended with Fields release.

Over the years Fields has been one of the most consistent punters in Miami Dolphins history but that isn’t and in a way shouldn’t have been enough to keep him. To be honest, I’m torn on this one. While I really like Fields, the reality is that he was very costly. He would cost the team $2.5 million on the season and over $3 million next year. He will now cost the team around $770,000 in dead money. For comparison, Darr will cost the team around $450,000.

Drafted in the 7th round in 2007, Fields represented the last and best player drafted by Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller. He survived Cameron, Tony Sparano, and most of Joe Philbins first three seasons. In his time with the Dolphins, Fields again was at the top or near the top in the NFL. His career stats are below.

A short time ago Fields said good-bye to his Miami fans via Twitter.

Where exactly Fields’ next chapter will be is unknown but he can rest assured that someone will be calling his agent today. The question is did Miami make the right decision? It was only a short two seasons ago that the Dolphins gambled on a rookie to take over an important duty on the team. Then, the Dolphins opted to save money by releasing long time place kicker Dan Carpenter in favor of rookie Caleb Sturgis. Sturgis is fighting for his job and Carpenter has seen an upswing in his career in Buffalo.

The Dolphins did indeed save money today with this release and again looking at both sides Matt Darr has been very good this off-season. Only the 2015 seasons and beyond will tell the real story as to whether or not the decision was the right one. For now, we can only thank Fields for his service and wish him luck.