The Miami Dolphins will kick-off their regular season a week from Sunday but it is this weekend that will be big.
As the Dolphins and the rest of the NFL ready for the start of week one, they first have to get their roster to the league limits which means a huge influx of talent will be released on Saturday. Some teams have already begun trimming their roster. In Chicago former Dolphins linebacker Kelvin Sheppard has been released. Miami released punter Matt Darr.
Cuts are going to be extremely tough around the league and Miami is no different where they have decisions to make at wide-receiver, corner, linebacker, defensive line, and even at quarterback.
On Thursday night the Dolphins got a good look at quarterback David Fales who looked very solid against the Vikings third team unit. Yes, it was the back-ups but it was the mechanics that stood out. Does that mean Matt Moore who has struggled in camp could be out of a job? No but Fales could be the practice squad choice over Brandon Doughty.
While there are some who see Moore as expendable understand that Miami would carry over $1.5 million in dead space and only save $750,000 if they release him. Moore should be safe this year.
At wide-receiver there are questions. De’more’ea Stringfellow had a very good pre-season and should earn the coveted 6th roster spot if Miami opts to carry six WR’s. He easily beat out Drew Morgan and it could be argued that he beat out Leonte Carroo as well. Stringfellow was quietly absent from the Vikings game on Thursday. Was that an indication that he had already won a roster spot?
At running back Miami will have to decide if Damien Williams is worth keeping at almost $2 million. Williams hasn’t been all that impressive and there should be a lot of running back help on the waiver wire within the next 24 hours. Kenyan Drake and Jay Ajayi are locked into the 1-2 role with Ajayi the clear starter.
Defensively the biggest question is will Miami try to move or move on from Byron Maxwell who has had a bad training camp. Maxwell counts $8 million against the cap and $5 million can be saved eating three. Maxwell will likely make the roster but will Bobby McCain?
The answers to all of these questions will be known by Saturday night.
Once Saturday is over, the Dolphins will being adding to their practice squad and will be pouring over the waiver wire. Vested veterans will have their 2017 contracts fully guaranteed if they are on rosters for opening day so while some names may pop up on the cut list, it’s possible that most remain unemployed until the start of week two.
This will be a busy weekend for Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier as well as Adam Gase who is now preparing his team for Tampa Bay.