In the free agency period, players move between teams all the time. For the Miami Dolphins, it constantly seems like their former players are showing up on teams heading for the Super Bowl. Starting back in 2002, when former Dolphins linebacker Larry Izzo, cornerback Terrell Buckley, quarterback Damon Huard, and guard Grey Ruegamer sent their former teammates a picture of them with their Super Bowl rings on their middle fingers, there just always seems to be a former Dolphins player getting to chase that ring. In the case of this weekend's Super Bowl XLIX, there are several former Dolphins, who have a shot at the Lombardi.
At least one of them will come away with a ring.
For the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC Champion and defending Super Bowl champions, the former Dolphins quota is filled by defensive tackle Tony McDaniel. After going undrafted in 2006, McDaniel started his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars before Miami traded for him in 2009, sending a seventh round draft choice up I-95 in return. He spent four years with the Dolphins, appearing in 54 games, with two starts. He tallied seven sacks, seven passes defensed, and 82 tackles in that span. Miami allowed McDaniel to leave via free agency before the 2013 season; he landed with the Seahawks on a one-year contract for $840,000. After winning the Super Bowl last year, McDaniel was once again a free agent, choosing to stay with Seattle on a two-year, $5.75 million contract.
He has appeared in 32 games with the Seahawks, with 29 starts, recording two sacks, three passes defensed, and 92 tackles.
The Patriots, given the incestuous relationship between all of the AFC East teams, have several former Dolphins on their roster. Former Miami practice squad player Rob Ninkovich, who appeared in five games spread over the 2007 and 2008 seasons, has spent the last six years with the Patriots, playing linebacker and defensive end. He appeared in 15 games for New England in 2009, then has played every game each year since, starting 74 of his 95 appearances. He has 35.5 sacks, five interceptions with a touchdown, 13 fumble recoveries with another touchdown, and 379 tackles.
Running back Jonas Gray began his NFL career with the Dolphins after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame in 2012. After landing on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start his rookie season, Gray was hampered by the knee injury all season in 2012 and never appeared in a game. He was released by the Dolphins in the final round of roster cuts at the end of the 2013 preseason before joining the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad. He was picked up on a futures contract by the Patriots after the 2013 season concluded, then was released at the end of the preseason and signed to the New England practice squad. He was activated mid-season, then exploded in Week 11 for a 201 rushing yards, four touchdown performance against the Indianapolis Colts. He then disappeared for several weeks before again torching a team, this time the Dolphins, tallying 62 yards on 11 carries in the Week 15 meeting. He has a career total of 89 carries for 412 yards and five touchdowns, all from this past season.
Former Florida A&M Rattlers wide receiver Brian Tyms was signed initially by the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted in 2012. He started his rookie year on the 49ers practice squad, but was poached by the Dolphins shortly into the season. Tyms spent most of career with the Dolphins on the practice squad, before being signed in October 2013 to the Cleveland Browns practice squad. He eventually worked his way to the active roster, appearing in seven games with two receptions. In 2014, Tyms joined the Patriots, making the 53-man roster and appearing in 11 games, with two starts, recording five receptions with one touchdown.
Even on the New England practice squad former Dolphins can be found. Offensive lineman Chris Barker was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2013 before being waived in the last round of rooster cuts that preseason. The Patriots claimed him off waivers, keeping him on their practice squad for most of the 2013 season, then adding him back to the practice squad again this year.