The Miami Dolphins are on a quest to shorten their roster to 80 players, but the team seems to be bought in on its youth rather than dumping it out.
Veteran defensive end Avery Moss and linebacker Trent Harris were both cut Sunday, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Moss, a former fourth-round draft pick in 2017, was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins in September 2019 after playing two seasons with the New York Giants. He played in 11 games last season, starting in eight, and recorded 25 tackles (11) solo and one forced fumble.
A former University of Miami star, Harris was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins after signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker registered 22 tackles (16 solo), 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 11 games, including three starts last season.
Both Moss and Harris were expected to play reserve roles in 2020, given that the Dolphins added free-agent linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson to strengthen up their defensive line. Miami also added rookie defensive ends Curtis Weaver, Jason Strowbridge and Tyshun Render, which make Moss and Harris nonessential.
Miami’s roster now stands at 83 heading into training camp, but they’ll have to shorten it to 81 by August 16.
The Dolphins can keep 81 players, rather than the league limit 80, due to a roster exemption for guard Durval Queiroz Neto, who’s part of the NFL’s international development program. Teams could have up to 90 players in camp if they split practice sessions into two squads, which could require teams to use both stadium and regular practice facilities, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
As the Dolphins continue to let go of players, it appears that they’re prioritizing their 2020 undrafted rookies rather than veterans. So far, Miami has only waived one rookie, undrafted free agent defensive tackle Ray Lima on Thursday, who reportedly decided to step away from the game and retire before reporting to camp.