A fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, defensive end Curtis Weaver was one of the Miami Dolphins’ highly anticipated rookies entering fall training camp.
Trading up to select Weaver with the No. 164 pick, Miami seemed committed on the pass rusher out of Boise State University, who Flores once said: “fit the criteria we’re looking for.”
That changed Monday, as the Dolphins waived/injury the 2019 Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year, a surprising move considering their uncertainty at the defensive line.
Weaver suffered an injury to the sesamoid bone in his foot during practice last week. His uncertainty of playing this upcoming season led to his release, although Miami intended to put him on the injured reserve list if he wasn’t claimed by any team.
“A lot goes into that decision: injuries, player performance, salary cap, depth at the position, next year’s draft,” Flores told the media Tuesday. “There’s a small percentage of players who get claimed in that position. We’ll know this evening.”
Under NFL guidelines, a vested-player (someone with less than four years of professional experience) must be subject to waivers before being placed on IR. Of course, the risk allows for other teams to sign the player.
Exactly that happened Tuesday, as Weaver was claimed by the Cleveland Browns prior to Tuesday’s 4:00 p.m. deadline, which marked 24 hours since he was waived — allowing for the Dolphins to bring him back.
A gamble to say the least, Flores and the Dolphins were ultimately willing to lose their potential-filled rookie for an open roster spot. And with the addition of CFL standout defender Nate Holley, who Miami signed on Saturday, the loss of Weaver isn’t as discouraging.
In addition to the injury, Miami wasn’t impressed with Weaver’s abilities after just four practices. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins coaches had “apparently seen enough” of the 6-foot-2 defensive end who totaled 34 sacks in his collegiate career.
Not willing to eat a roster spot for someone who won’t be available to play this year, seems odd, but is somewhat understandable.
After all, in circumstances like this, taking risks for the success of your team is needed.