I hope everybody had a fun, as well as safe, Memorial Day weekend.
Yesterday I quickly mentioned how the Dolphins must cut 4 players. The limit for players on a roster at one time during the off-season is 80. The Dolphins currently have 84 players. They can get away with this because 4 of them are rookies who haven't signed. That means the Dolphins must cut 1 player before signing another rookie. And like I said, 4 in all must be cut to make room for these still unsigned rookies (Phillip Merling, Chad Henne, Kendall Langford, and Shawn Murphy). But who will these next cuts be?
Like I said, the current roster is at 84 players, which includes the 4 remaining unsigned rookies. By position, the roster breaks down like this:
Quarterbacks - 3
Running backs - 7 (2 are fullbacks and one is a tweener)
Wide receivers - 10
Tight ends - 6
Offensive lineman - 14
Defensive lineman - 14
Linebackers - 11
Cornerbacks - 8
Safeties - 6
Kickers - 3
Punter - 1
Long Snapper - 1
So the first place to look in terms of who might get get is to look at which positions are overly stocked. Quarterbacks and offensive lineman are clearly safe. It's unlikely any of those 17 players will be among the next 4 cuts. The same can be said about cornerbacks, too. Eight seems like a good amount of CBs to bring into training camp. It's also safe to say that Brandon Fields and John Denney are safe for now. Denney could become expendable as the long snapper if another player proves he can do the job effectively, but that wouldn't occur until training camp.
So let's discuss the positions that are not quite as safe right now.
Obviously, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are safe. The two rookie backs, Jalen Parmele and Lex Hilliard, are at least safe until camp (though I'd be surprised if either of the two were cut). So that leaves Reagan Mauia, Boomer Grigsby, and Patrick Cobbs as possible cuts. Grigsby was just signed this off-season and is a special teams ace, so he's safe. Mauia will battle Grigsby for the starting FB position. And I'm sure his off-season arrest won't help his cause. But I think he at least makes it to camp. Cobbs, on the other hand, could be a cut. However, I think he sticks with the team for now. With Ronnie and Ricky both coming back from injuries, the Dolphins will need bodies for camp and for the preseason games. I wouldn't be shocked if Cobbs was axed, but I also wouldn't count on it...yet.
Player that should be nervous: Patrick Cobbs
Obviously, Ted Ginn, Ernest Wilford, and Derek Hagan are safe. Some might say Hagan will be on thin ice in training camp, but I disagree. Either way, he's not getting cut prior to camp.
I also don't think any of the undrafted free agents (Davone Bess, Jayson Foster, Justin Wynn, Selwyn Lymon) will be cut yet, though I don't know too much about Wynn. There's just no need to cut unknown talent this early. So that leaves 3 players, Greg Camarillo, Tab Perry, and David Kircus, as possible cuts. But barring any injury issues, I think these guys all make it to camp in July. Still, those 3 aren't sure nets to make it to camp.
Players that should be nervous: Greg Camarillo, Tab Perry, David Kircus
Anthony Fasano was just brought in on the eve of the draft and will battle to start. So he's safe. Matthew Mulligan, an undrafted free agent out of Maine, was brought in by this regime, as was Sean Ryan, whom the Dolphins signed away from the Jets. The other 3 are holdovers from the previous regime, David Martin, Justin Peelle, and Aaron Halterman. I really have no idea what this regime thinks of these guys. Many fans dislike Martin, but he'll probably get a chance to prove himself to the new staff. Peelle was the more consistent Dolphins tight end in '07, but that doesn't mean too much. Halterman played very little and could be the player on the outside looking in.
Player that should be nervous: Aaron Halterman
There are quite a few defensive lineman on the roster. Fourteen is a lot. So let's break this down in a simple way. Those that are 100% safe are Jason Taylor (could be traded, but obviously won't be cut), Jason Ferguson, Vonnie Holliday, Randy Starks, Phillip Merling, and Kendall Langford. So that brings us to 8 lineman. Those veterans on the bubble (but likely to at least make it to camp) are Matt Roth, Rod Wright, and Quentin Moses.
The remaining 5 are rookies Lionel Dotson (7th rounder), Anthony Toribio (UDFA), and Kory Robertson (UDFA), as well as Paul Soliai (2nd year) and Rob Ninkovich (3rd year). Again, I'll say that the rookies make it to camp. Soliai and Ninkovich aren't quite as safe. Soliai, though, has such great size that I don't think this staff will give up on him yet as a potential backup nose tackle. Ninkovich is undersized, at 6'2, 252, for a DE in a 3-4 defense. Unless this staff thinks he can stand up and play outside linebacker, he's not going to be around too long.
Players who should be nervous: Rob Ninkovich, Paul Soliai
Yes, 11 linebackers might seem like a lot. But not when you run a 3-4. Those that are safe include Channing Crowder, Akin Ayodele, Reggie Torbor, Joey Porter, and Charlie Anderson. The remaining 6 are, in experience order, Junior Glymph, Edmond Miles, Kelvin Smith, Keith Saunders (UDFA), Kelly Poppinga (UDAFa), and Titus Brown (UDFA). Think the rookies are safe for now. That leaves Glymph, Miles, and Smith as potential "pink slip" targets. Glymph has experience with this staff, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was cut. Miles and Smith are very much on the bubble. I'm pretty confident that one of those 4 cuts that need to be made will come from this group.
Players that should be nervous: Junior Glymph, Edmond Miles, Kelvin Smith
Sure, 6 safeties aren't that many. It's enough to field 3 units in camp. However, I wouldn't be shocked Courtney Bryan was cut. I'm pretty confident that the other 5, Yeremiah Bell, Renaldo Hill, Jason Allen, Keith Davis, and Chris Crocker make it to camp (and probably onto the 53 man roster in September). But Bryan could be a target if the staff feels they can live with 5 true safeties. Remember, Travis Daniels and Will Billingsley have safety experience, too.
Player that should be nervous: Courtney Bryan
Three kickers seem a little excessive. But as explained right here, this is certainly a real competition. So I think all 3 are safe until training camp. That is, unless behind closed doors, either Dan Carpenter or Dave Rayner are struggling mightily.
Players that should be nervous: Dave Rayner, Dan Carpenter
I think any of the players who I've listed as "should be nervous" are indeed potential cuts to help get the roster down to 80 players. However, depending on how negotiations have been going, these 4 cuts don't have to come necessarily quickly. So it could be a long drawn-out process. However, when 4 are given the ax, I'll say that the following four players are those who are shown the door: Aaron Halterman, Rob Ninkovich, Edmund Miles, and Dave Rayner.
So who are your 4?