The number of Miami Dolphins players that have been affected by COVID-19 continued to expand.
The team confirmed Friday that linebacker Jerome Baker and defensive tackle Zach Sieler were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The roster designation means one of two things: either the player has tested positive for COVID-19 or he’s been quarantined after having been in close contact with people that have.
Per the NFL-NFLPA policy, teams are not allowed to disclose for which reason a player is added to the list. Players will have to bring back two negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed to return. If a player tests positive, he can return at least 72 hours after symptoms have passed or at least 10 days after symptoms first appear, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Baker took to Twitter to thank Dolphins fans for showing support and to reassure that he’s doing well.
“Y’all I’m fine. Appreciate the love and support,” Baker said.
Miami drafted Baker in the third-round (No. 73 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s yet to miss a game for the Dolphins, playing in 32 games with 26 starts, registering 200 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
The third-year linebacker is destined for a breakout year in Miami’s revamped defense. In 2019, Baker finished 14th in the NFL with 126 tackles to go with four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and one interception.
Sieler was claimed off waivers from the Ravens in December 2019 and appeared in the final three games for the Dolphins last season, garnering eight tackles (three solo), two pass deflections, one tackle for loss and a sack.
The former 2018 seventh-round pick re-signed to a one-year, $660,000 contract one-year contract in March as an exclusive rights free agent.
On Monday, Miami placed three members of the team on the reserve/COVID-19 list: rookie long snapper Blake Ferguson, rookie defensive tackle Benito Jones and cornerback Cordea Tankersley.
Jones was taken off the list on Wednesday and can rejoin the team. Ferguson posted on his Twitter account on July 29 saying, “Thanks to all who’ve reached out over the last few days! I feel great and am excited to get back to football as soon as possible! God bless and Fins Up!”
While in the reserve/COVID-19 list, a team is allowed to promote a practice squad player to fill the roster spot and can return that player to the practice squad without waivers. Players may be activated from the list when they are healthy.
The roster stands at 77 players with the moves Friday, but will rise to 81 once Baker, Sieler, Ferguson and Tankersley come off the reserve/COVID-19 list. It’ll climb to 83 players once/if Xavien Howard and Calvin Munson are reactivated. Miami will have to trim their roster to 81 by August 16.
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.