Final roster purge arrives: Dolphins need to be a 53 by 4:00 pm

Dolphins banner hangs above the Hard Rock tunnel - Image by Brian Miller
Dolphins banner hangs above the Hard Rock tunnel - Image by Brian Miller /

The NFL’s annual roster purge is here and like all teams, the Miami Dolphins have until 4:00 pm this afternoon to get to that final roster of 53.

2017 is a unique year in that teams will not cut from 75 but instead will cut from the full 90 man roster they carried in training camp. Outside of the fact that today will be a brutal series of releases from around the NFL, the decision to hold one cut seems to have worked. Or at the very least appears to be a good idea.

One reason the NFL owners decided to implement the change was the lack of available bodies for week four in pre-season when most starters don’t play. Those competing play almost entire games in an otherwise meaningless exhibition.

Teams are also able to do a better job of scouting their players and allowing fringe players more opportunity to make an impression. Today however, the hammer, or proverbial axe will fall and when it does, nearly 1,200 football players will hit the open market.

For most of these players it will be their last time on an NFL football field. For some it will be the last time they ever step on a football field. And still others will get a second shot or maybe end up playing in another league. But it doesn’t end with today’s releases.

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Those that are still on the roster tomorrow may not be safe. Waiver claims made after the cuts today will require teams to release someone from their roster tomorrow. 320 players from these rounds of cuts will have a shot at making a teams practice squad and they hope they have shown enough to catch the eye of NFL scouts from other teams as well.

When the day is over the work continues. Miami will begin preparation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week from Sunday. That is where Adam Gase’s job really begins. Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum will handle the rest.

It’s going to be a long day but imagine waking up and sitting by your phone waiting for that phone call. “Coach want’s to see you. Bring your playbook.”