For the Miami Dolphins, who’s roster stands at 87 players, four under the limit of 91 (defensive tackle Durval Queiroz Neto has a roster exemption as an international pathway player), they may have to shorten it prior to the start of training on July 28.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported that the NFL reached out to the NFL Players Association with the idea of having teams bring between 75 and 80 players in training camp this year amid the ongoing pandemic.
Jackson goes on to say that the league would likely agree to additional players on the practice squad for each team, potentially as many as 20 players, as a compromise for trimming the roster ceiling.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that the NFL and NFLPA are discussing a plan which would split rosters in half and have each team practice at different times.
With the league’s preseason featuring no more than two games, it lessens the need for the standard 90-man roster. On Monday, the union proposed a plan that would see NFL teams carry an 80-man roster into training camp.
If the proposal is accepted, who on the Dolphins roster is on the verge of being let go before training camp?
According to Jackson, some undrafted free agent rookies who signed are questioning whether or not to move to South Florida due to all the ongoing skepticism. “Some players don’t want to move here to only find out they’re being released,” said Jackson.
Still, former Arkansas State wide receiver Kirk Merritt plans on making the move to SFLA this week, Jackson says. The decorated receiver will most definitely himself at home in Miami, most likely on the practice squad.
Nonetheless, NFL rookies are allowed to report to training camp on July 21.
On offense, there’s no doubt that all six UDFA rookies — receivers Matt Cole and Merritt, tight end Bryce Sterk, offensive linemen Jonathan Hubbard, Nick Kaltamayer and Donell Stanley — are at risk of being let go. However, it’s unlikely that Miami would release all their undrafted rookies, especially at a position group that needs help like the offensive line.
Veteran offensive lineman Adam Pankey, Danny Isidora, and Keaton Sutherland, receivers Ricardo Louis and Mack Hollins, tight end Chris Myarick, fullback Chandler Cox, and quarterback Jake Rudock are also in jeopardy.
While the Dolphins o-line can use all the help it can get, someone has to be the odd man out. Pankey, Isidora, and Sutherland all played limited snaps last season and are on the hot seat. Louis hasn’t played since 2017 due to injury and by releasing Hollins, it won’t result in any dead salary cap money. Myarick didn’t produce last season and Cox could be replaced by linebacker Elandon Roberts, who can play fullback.
On defense, four undrafted rookies – linebacker Kylan Johnson and defensive linemen Tyshun Render, Benito Jones, and Ray Lima — to go along with linebackers Raekwon McMillan, James Crawford, and Calvin Munson, defensive backs Nate Brooks, Ryan Lewis, and Cordrea Tankersley.
The Dolphins guaranteed a whopping $65 thousand to Render, so it’s unlikely they’ll move on from him. McMillin, a former second-round pick, has failed to produce and likely won’t see the field after Miami invested in the linebacker position this offseason.
Tankersley hasn’t been able to bounce back from a knee injury he suffered in November of 2018. Under these circumstances, the coaching staff may have to move on from waiting.