The Miami Dolphins started the weekend with 88 players on their roster, two under the 90-man roster limit used throughout most of the NFL's preseason schedule. That limit changes, however, on Tuesday, when the league mandates all teams cut their rosters down to 75 players. The Dolphins started that roster purge on Sunday, releasing their first 11 players.
Miami released defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, guard Bryant Browning, wide receiver LaRon Byrd, wide receiver Kevin Cone, defensive end Ray Drew, wide receiver Tyler McDonald, defensive end Kendall Montgomery, tight end Gerell Robinson, cornerback Sammy Seamster, safety Phillip Thomas, and offensive lineman J.D. Walton. The moves were not stunning, though there were some names who had at least flashed at times early in training camp or the preseason who will now be looking for work.
Byrd had demonstrated good hands and had made plays for the second-team and third-team offenses, but never climbed the depth chart to challenge a deep group for Miami. The team comes into the year with Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker locked into roster spots and Rishard Matthews likely just as secure. It will be difficult for any wide out to work their way into that group. Even if the Dolphins decide to keep six receivers this year, Matt Hazel appears to be the front runner for that slot.
Walton's release is notable as well, more because of what it says about starting center Mike Pouncey than anything it says about Walton. Pouncey appeared to sustain a knee injury during the team's Preseason Week 3 contest against the Atlanta Falcons, with Walton serving as the first player in to replace Pouncey. If Miami is comfortable releasing a reserve center, Pouncey's knee must not be a serious problem, which will be good news for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins previously released wide receiver Michael Preston and placed safety Louis Delmas on injured reserve with an ACL tear. With the 11 cuts on Sunday, the team now as 77 players on the roster, with two more cuts to be made before 4pm ET Tuesday. The final round of cuts, dropping from 75 to 53 players, are required before 4pm Saturday.