Opinion: No, the Miami Dolphins aren’t going to cut Noah Igbinoghene

Noah Igbinoghene Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Noah Igbinoghene Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Dolphins made a mistake by drafting Noah Igbinoghene. Would it be an even worse decision to get rid of him at this point?

After an off-season of front office fireworks and enthusiastic excitement from the fan base, there are beginning to be concerned about certain position groups on the roster for the Miami Dolphins.

We became enamored, and rightfully so, with the acquisitions of Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, and the like. We were excited about what Mike McDaniel could bring as a new-style coach, and retaining essentially the entire defense meant that the one part of the team that we could somewhat count on will be returning for 2022.

But we may have overlooked some things. Armstead surely helps the offensive line, but it won’t be a one-man job. The linebackers lack both star power and depth, and it could end up being one of the weaker spots on the team. But there is nothing that is causing as much concern right now as the depth at cornerback.

It is true that the Dolphins feature one of the top coverage tandems in the NFL. Xavien Howard is still one of the most elite ball-hawking corners in the NFL, and Byron Jones is still in the top 25 at his position.

But the availability of Jones is in serious question. He will be entering the 8th season of his career in 2022, but he may not be available for the first handful of games for Miami. He underwent an ankle surgery in March that was supposed to sideline him for two months, but Jones has yet to participate in a single team-related football activity, missing the entirety of the OTA program and the first 3+ weeks of training camp.

Noah Igbinoghene
Noah Igbinoghene Miami Dolphins Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports /

But it is the depth behind the duo that is the real cause for concern. Nike Needham is a solid #3 option and has plenty of experience playing for this defense, but what about after him?

The Miami Dolphins training camp session of 2022 was supposed to be Noah Igbinoghene’s last chance to be the guy who is able to step up and be a serviceable body for the defensive backfield. He has, by all accounts, failed. His performance both in practice and during preseason games is frustrating at best, and much of the fan base has assumed that he will no longer be a member of the team when they make their final cuts.

But it may not be so easy. The biggest issue is Igbinoghene’s contract, which would actually cost Miami more if they chose to release him. His cap hit for 2022 is scheduled to be just over $3 million, but he would count for $5.5 million in dead cap money, meaning that the Dolphins would be losing just under $2 million if they were to part ways.

And who would they bring in to replace him? Unless you are giving up serious draft capital, there are no established cornerbacks left on the open market, and the one that the Dolphins did try their luck with is now on the injured reserve list for the season. Bringing someone into camp this late in the process is always a gamble, especially if the player hasn’t established himself in the league yet.

After perusing the list of available players, the front office may simply decide that Igbinoghene is the best bet given the current situation. Sure, it is difficult to watch him get burned both on social media posts and in-game footage, especially against the wide receivers from opposing teams that he could be playing against in the regular season.

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But is he the lesser of two evils? Is any potential replacement for Igbinoghene going to be a steep enough upgrade that the Dolphins would be willing to eat the $5.5 million in dead cap, plus the money that they shell out to the new signee?

Or maybe just keeping him on the roster and working on his progression is the best bet.