The Miami Dolphins continue to churn their roster as they rebuild a franchise that has fallen from glory. The running back room is hot. So hot that they showed Samaje Perine the door just one day following the 2020 NFL Draft.
Last season, Miami listed five running backs and one fullback on their final roster. Currently, the Fins have seven running backs and one fullback, meaning that someone on the roster is expendable.
With today’s league full of available running backs that could serve as No. 2 on the rotation, Miami’s players lower down on the depth chart should not feel too comfortable.
Miami finished last in rushing last season, having the oldest player on the team, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, lead the team in yards rushing. While a quarterback leading in rushing may be acceptable for Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, that formula does not spell success for the Dolphins and their quarterbacks.
The departure of Kenyan Drake made things worse for Miami, even though their ground game was not exactly lighting things up with him on the roster prior to shipping him.
To improve the rushing attack, the Miami Dolphins added the following players:
Jordan Howard – Philadelphia Eagles
Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers
Malcolm Perry – Navy
Here is a temperature check on the seats of Miami’s backfield.
🧊 Ice Cold – Player has nothing to worry about. The job is theirs!
😓 Heating Up – The job is theirs to lose but they are starting to feel the heat.
🔥 Hard Rock Stadium No Shade in September Hot! The job is as good as gone!
Chandler Cox 🧊
Miami uses a lead blocker in their rushing scheme. The Dolphins are one of few teams that officially carry a fullback on the 53-man roster. Cox was drafted in the seventh-round in 2019 to fill that role. Because of Miami’s scheme and youth of Cox, it’s unlikely he won’t be on the roster next season.
Jordan Howard 🧊 🧊
Signed as a free agent this year, Jordan Howard has the safest job on the team at this point. Jordan Howard is coming off a 525 rushing yard season, adding six touchdowns in just nine games played. Howard suffered a shoulder stinger in Week 9 that caused him to miss the remainder of the year.
Miami is expecting Howard to return to his Pro Bowl form, where he rushed for 3,370 total yards in three-years with the Chicago Bears. Howard’s contract lasts two more seasons, with an overall worth of $9,750,000. The Dolphins can cut ties with Howard in 2021 without incurring any dead money against the cap. As for now, it’s safe to say that Howard will remain a Dolphin in 2020.
Matt Breida 🧊 🧊
The Miami Dolphins traded a fifth-round pick (No. 153) to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for running back Matt Breida during the 2020 NFL Draft. Breida, who averaged five yards per carry with the Niners, is expected to be the perfect compliment to Jordan Howard. Brieda is in a contract year which will likely motivate him to perform this season. Like Jordan Howard, Brieda’s job is safe at this time.
Kalen Ballage 😓
Kalen Ballage is coming off of one of the worst seasons in history for a running back, averaging just 1.8 yards per carry. The saving grace for Ballage is that he is just one year removed from a having a 5.3 yards per carry average.
In addition, no other Dolphin on the roster showed up to play like Ballage in 2019. At the end of the day, Miami’s inept running game could be attributed to lack of talent on the offensive line. An unsettled coaching situation at the O-Line made it even worse.
With the signing of numerous offensive line man through free agency and the draft, Miami has removed the 2019 excuses. If Ballage is outperformed by any running back not named Breida or Howard, his seat could get hot real fast.
De’Lance Turner 🔥
The Dolphins signed De’Lance Turner back in November of 2019 in an attempt to provide depth to a depleted backfield full of injuries. Turner only played in the win against Cincinnati and carried the ball four times for a total of six yards.
Miami could definitely be on the lookout for available running backs after teams make their final preseason cuts. In fact, the Dolphins might already have a replacement on their roster in Malcolm Perry.
Malcolm Perry was drafted with Miami’s last pick in the seventh-round (No. 246). Perry is Miami’s wild card. He made plays in college at the running back, quarterback, and wide receiver position. He also can return punts and kick-offs.
Malcolm Perry’s versatility gives him an upper hand. Miami also invested a draft pick on Perry which means that they have expectations for him. He will likely secure himself a spot on the practice squad, increasing the likelihood that he sticks on the 2020 team.
Myles Gaskin 😓/🧊
Myles Gaskin earned his roster spot in the preseason last year. After the trade of Kenyan Drake and other running backs suffering injuries, Gaskin got a chance to see some playing time at the end of the season.
Gaskin scored his first career touchdown late in the season in the win against the Cincinnati Bengals. His rushing average was 3.7 yards per carry, good enough to give him a shot to compete for the job. Gaskin is on the bubble and his tenure on the team could go either way.
Patrick Laird 😓/🧊
Patrick Laird signed with the Miami Dolphins as an un-drafted free agent in 2019. In the preseason, he and Preston Williams were shining stars. This earned Laird a spot on the final roster. As mentioned earlier, all of Miami’s running backs struggled last season, meaning that Laird will get the same chance the other RB’s will also have to prove themselves alongside an improved offensive line.