By: Jason Sarney
After a week of organized team activities, the Miami Dolphins had outstanding attendance in what are truly optional workouts. Numerous young Dolphins introduced themselves on the practice field, several veterans said hello again, and we all over-reacted to simple drills. Also, the practice visor and backwards hat are both trending on my social media feed.
While the attendance was well over 50 percent of the current 91 players under contract (or will be when the remaining four rookies sign) the Dolphins will eventually have to trim to 53. There will also be 16 practice squad slots. These slots have some tweaked eligibility requirements thanks to Covid-19, but generally candidates for these spots have to have less than two seasons of accrued NFL tenure. Allen Hurns will not be eligible for this, for example.
So, we need to trime those numbers. Names will be left off and that’s what happens when a young team of developing players are ahead of the curve in several cases. The following roster build is merely conjecture on my part, and a fun early-June exercise. A lot can happen in the summer months heading into training camp at the end of July.
I’ll do my best to create an organized, and logical construction of this 2021 team, mainly by looking into the future.
Allow me to explain: When you build, you need a core, a solid foundation. The last two drafts are full of 4/5-year contracted players that mix very nicely with a handful of veterans that have the title of “home-grown Dolphins.”
Having laid those parameters, here is the safe core of this team.
Contracts expiring in 2027 – Jason Sanders.
Contracts expiring in 2026* – Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips
Contracts expiring in 2025- Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Tua Tagovailoa*, Austin Jackson*, Noah Igbinoghene*, Larnel Coleman, Gerrid Doaks, Jevon Holland, Liam Eichenberg, Hunter Long
After those heavy deals and rookie contracts, we need to find more of those veterans both drafted by Miami as well as signed or traded for recently.
The drafted Dolphins with contracts expiring in 2024
DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, Christian Wilkins*, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, Solomon Kindley, Jason Strowbridge, Blake Ferguson, Malcolm Perry.
* Indicates potential 5th-year options on 1st rounders*
The acquisitions with contracts expiring in 2024:
Benardrick McKinney, Cethan Carter, Zach Sieler, Lynn Bowden Jr.
The drafted Dolphins with contracts expiring in 2023:
Michael Dieter, Andrew Van Ginkel, Myles Gaskin
The acquisitions with contracts expiring in 2023:
Eric Rowe, Jesse Davis, Clayton Fejedelem, Adam Butler, Allen Hurns, Adam Shaheen
The drafted Dolphins WHO WILL BE FREE AGENTS next season
Mike Gesicki, Jerome Baker, Durham Smythe
The acquisitions WHO WILL BE FREE AGENTS next season
Emmanuel Ogbah, Will Fuller, Jacoby Brissett, Albert Wilson, Justine Coleman, Elandon Roberts, Malcolm Brown, Matt Skura, Michael Palardy, Jason McCourtey, Brennan Scarlett, Duke Riley, Mack Hollins, Vince Biegel, D.J. Fluker, Robert Foster, John Jenkins
The significant Undrafted Free Agents/Veterans WHO WILL BE FREE AGENTS next season.
Preston Williams, Nik Needham, Patrick Laird, Salvon Ahmed, Sam Eguavoen
This is a lot to digest so let me make it more palatable. The names you just read are missing a slew of rookies and journeymen who are looking to make a practice squad and potentially, a spot on the active roster as tough as that will be this year. Before listing the camp combatants, you read 61 names which for math majors out there is more than 53 so we are in a bit of trouble.
Back to that practice squad rule:
I’m sending Malcolm Perry down as well as Larnel Coleman and Jason Strowbridge for development.
We are down to 58.
Next, I am looking at potential camp cuts, and we can look at the receiver room. In my opinion, and only that, I think Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant can do well, somewhere, however it’s a bit crowded in Miami’s group of wide-outs. So we need to say goodbye to a pair of veterans some way via trade, if possible, or simple release/cut.
The drafting of Hunter Long at tight end means that he, Gesicki AND Smythe will all not be in the same room next season for sure, and it would not surprise me to see one of the three veteran tight ends who have significant experience being dealt/cut/what-have-you prior to Week 1.
I am not naming a specific situation, but I can safely predict a TE being let go.
We need to now look at NON-LOCKs for this team, and those you could call “camp bodies.”
And they are:
Roberts Jones, Kai Locksley, Trill Williams, Jibri Blount, Jaytlin Askew, Jerome Johnson, Carl Tucker, Jonathan Ledbetter, Terrell Bonds, Chris Myrick, Durval Neto, Brian Cole II, Javaris Davis, Nick Coe, Tyshun Render, Jonathan Hubbard, Kylan Johnson, Kirk Merritt, Rex Sunahara, Jordan Scarlett, Tyler Gauthier, Tino Ellis, Jamal Perry, Nate Holley, Timon Parris, Reid Sinnett, Tom Cameron, Calvin Munson, Benito Jones, Adam Pankey
That’s 30 plus the original 61 = 91
Lynn Bowden, Jr.
wait for it...
Andrew Van Ginkel
Specialists on ST Coverage Units/return teams:
TOTAL = 53
Practice Squad predictions should no other team claim them:
And there you have it – the bound to not be correct, predictive 2021 Miami Dolphins roster.
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