In a development that probably got unnoticed by many and one that deserves a bit more shine, the Miami Dolphins made a very good move by placing a 2nd round tender on nickel back Nik Needham.
Under all the Deshuan Watson not facing criminal charges at the moment news and what that means for the Dolphins though Chris Grier said a few weeks ago that the door is closed on Miami pursuing Watson though teams and GMs lie all the time, see Pete Carroll, and Mike McDaniel stating numerous times that he’s going to get the most out of Tua Tagovailoa while all of Dolphins Twitter were rehashing their battle of Watson vs. Tua, the Dolphins did the smart thing essentially bringing Nik Needham back.
This doesn’t mean that it is 100% certain that Nik Needham is coming back to play for the Miami Dolphins. A team can roll on up and offer the Dolphins a 2nd round pick and Miami could take it. But I don’t think any team will fork over such a lofty pick for Nik Needham.
Although I remember thinking the same thing about Wes Welker back in 2006. The Dolphins placed a 2nd round tender on Welker and nobody thought that anyone would offer that type of draft capital for an unheralded slot receiver. You need to understand that Wes Welker was slot receiving before slot receiving was cool. The team that knew slot receiving was the future was of course the New England Patriots. They were happy to send Miami a 2nd rounder and a 7th for Wes Welker. I for one wasn’t happy because I felt strongly that Welker was a fabulous player but what do I know? Welker ended up being a borderlineish hall of famer(no I don’t think he’ll make it but an argument can be had) and the Dolphins turned that 2nd rounder into Samson Satele. Classic Dolphins.
I don’t think this is going to happen to Nik Needham. I think he stays in Miami this year and hopefully, a long-term deal gets worked out down the road.
I love the move for a number of reasons. For one, I always enjoy when the Dolphins resign their own homegrown players, players that they have drafted. Technically, Needham wasn’t drafted due to him being an undrafted player out of UTEP. A great find by Grier and Flores back in 2019. Needham was part of an organizational plan, which is to say that the players and coaches were not part of the organizational plan, to try and not win every game that year. Needham stood out on that porous defense and carved a nitch as being a very talented nickel/slot cornerback.
Secondly, Nik Needham has gotten better every year he’s been in the league. Here are some stats courtesy of Jason Sarney and others;
Have we seen Needham get burned a few times and get a bit worked by elite tight ends? We have. But, most all secondary guys in the league have those moments. So, unless Needham starts to consistently get beat I’m not going to worry too much about it. So far he’s shown the ability to play consistently good football. The job he’s being asked to do is wildly hard. He’s responsible for guarding the shiftiest guy on offense without really being able to get physical with them at the line of scrimmage. I wouldn’t want to do that but Needham does and he does it well.
The final reason I love the move is simple; Nik Needham is really good at his job and the Dolphins should always want to have as many good players on their team as they could, especially when they don’t cost that much. Needham has shown what it takes to make it in the NFL after being overlooked by everyone and not being drafted. Then the guy grinded when Miami picked him up and he decided he was going to work every day. That grind and grit ought to be rewarded.
The focus of the 2022 Miami Dolphins will be on the offense due to Mike McDaniel being the new head coach with shiny new toys I imagine that will be brought in to bolster the offense. But we know it’s the defense that drives this team. If Miami is going to make any damage in the ever-evolving and seemingly dominant AFC conference, it’s the defense that is going to have put teams to sleep.
There are bonafide studs on defense and Nik Needham may not ever be classified as a bonafide stud but he’s a tough out. He’s like that mid-major team that you’ll see on your bracket when those come out on Sunday that gets labeled as a team you don’t really want to play. Sure, they lost a few games but they play really hard and do a few things that just make life hard for teams. That’s Nik Needham and I’m glad he’s coming back. So is he.
Enjoy the day, stay safe from the weather if you’re in the northeast like I am, watch some basketball, have some beverages. Follow me @2ndSatSports
If you’re mad about anything here’s my dog, Utah, catching snowflakes to cheer you up.