In a somewhat surprising move, the Miami Dolphins have released veteran cornerback Richard Marshall this evening. Marshall was a one of a few free agent signings in 2012 and earned the starting job over expected starter Vontae Davis in camp. Four games into the season however, Marshall was placed on IR due to a back injury. He was expected to fight for a starting spot across from Brent Grimes in camp this season and was the #2 corner going in. He has been outplayed by Dimitri Patterson though, whom the Dolphins picked up late in the 2012 season. The Dolphins also drafted two cornerbacks in the 2013 draft to be the future at the position: Jamar Taylor in the second round and Will Davis in the third round.
This timing may have been surprising, but not the move itself. Reports on twitter seem to indicate that some players in the locker room were grumbling that Marshall wasn't playing to the level of his contract. Cutting Marshall also saves the Dolphins $4.6M against the cap, giving Miami nearly $20M in cap space currently. It was also reported that the Dolphins attempted to trade Marshall, but got no takers.
A good question to ask is what prompted the Dolphins to make this move. Marshall had been getting starting reps in games, but split time with Patterson on the first team. Reports from today's practice said that Marshall got reps at safety, usually not a good sign for a cornerback. They didn't need the cap room to sign a player. Was Marshall simply regressing? Are the coaches comfortable enough with the rookies to let Marshall go? The Dolphins will be forced to trim the roster down to 75 players in a few days, and it appears they have already started with this move.