The Miami Dolphins have continued to fill out their roster today by re-signing players who were new additions to the team last year but have become very familiar to the coaching staffs on both sides of the ball. First, to help fill the Dolphins' holes in the secondary, the Dolphins have reportedly re-signed free safety Louis Delmas, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network. Delmas' new deal is very similar to what he received last year from the Dolphins in that it's 1-year in length and worth up to $3.5 million with incentives likely based on whether Delmas reaches certain thresholds related to playing time, given his injury history. Delmas' rehab is reportedly going well, and his agent Drew Rosenhaus recently expressed optimism that Delmas will be ready for the start of training camp. At this point, it's fair to note that almost all agents are willing to express confidence in their clients finishing their rehab on schedule whenever they're rehabbing during the offseason. However, Dolphins backup free safeties Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens will both definitely be available throughout the Dolphins' offseason program, and it's very likely that the Dolphins are signing Delmas despite his injury in part because they trust that one of those young guys will be able to fill in at free safety if need be.
Former 2014 fourth round pick Walt Aikens is more talented than Thomas, but Aikens is relatively new to the safety position after primarily playing cornerback for most of his college career at Liberty University. Aikens was recruited out of high school to Illinois and was used as a safety there prior to being kicked off the team due to violating team rules, but he's seen only limited snaps at safety since his freshman year of college. Meanwhile, Thomas has been cross-trained by the Dolphins at boundary cornerback, slot cornerback, and free safety since he was poached off the 49'ers practice squad, and he's been praised by Dolphins coaches for his intelligence and sure tackling. Given that Thomas temporarily stole snaps from Delmas at free safety early last season, Thomas is the favorite to start at free safety if Delmas isn't healthy to start the regular season. Still, we can't rule out Aikens making tremendous strides as a safety in his sophomore NFL season after only making a position switch from safety to cornerback in the middle of last offseason.
The second Dolphins transaction of note, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, is the re-signing of running back LaMichael James. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the deal is for 1 year, with no information available on the specific terms regarding money. James was a second round pick of the San Francisco 49ers who was waived (at James' request) in 2014 because the 49ers coaching staff didn't feel he fit their system on offense. He was a late-season signing by the Dolphins in 2014 but struggled to earn playing time on his new team. Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has said that what he likes most about James is his athleticism and route running, which would make James a natural option as a receiving back. However, it's very important for a receiving back to fully master an offense's audibles and option-routes, and James' struggles as a young player to learn all that information on the fly after being signed late last season limited his ability to earn snaps on the field. The Dolphins likely hope that by participating in the Dolphins' playbook installation throughout the 2015 offseason, James will be fully comfortable altering his routes based on what he sees and hears, and that would improve his chances of earning playing time in his second season as a Dolphin. James will be competing with former UDFA Damien Williams for snaps as a receiving back after Williams made notable strides as a receiver late in his rookie year last season.