The Miami Dolphins trimmed their roster from the preseason 90-man limit to the regular-season’s 53-man roster limit on Saturday, letting 37 players go in the process. It was a rough day for many players, who suddenly find themselves hoping that a waiver claim or a practice squad offer happens today. As always, it was also a day when surprises and “snubs” happen - granted these surprises and snubs are from a fan’s point of view outside of the organization, but it still works.
Earlier this morning, Aaron Sutton explained his biggest surprise and biggest snub from the Dolphins’ cuts. He walked through both the surprise that the Dolphins kept both quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and David Fales as well as the snub of wide receiver Isaiah Ford.
Both are good options, but I went somewhere else with my reactions to the roster.
Cornell Armstrong. The sixth-round pick by the Dolphins making the roster was a surprise to me. I thought he was probably headed to the practice squad, with Tony Lippett making the roster. Lippett is returning from an Achilles tear, which is a tough ask for a cornerback, but he basically went from a starter in 2016 to injured in 2017 and released in 2018. Armstrong has been quiet this summer, but the coaching staff clearly saw something in him to keep him on the roster.
Isaac Asiata. Sutton mentions Asiata could be the answer here when he chose Ford, and I definitely agree with that. I was surprised that the Dolphins, after picking Asiata last year, then insisting that he was on a “red-shirt” season would cut him this offseason. He has been quiet this summer, but that is really a good thing when it comes to an offensive lineman. I did not think Asiata was going to secure a starting position, or even be the primary guard backup, but I also did not think the Dolphins would put so much time into working with him, then release him. Maybe he simply was not progressing as they thought he should be, but it still seemed like a cut that was not expected.
Brock Osweiler and David Fales both making the team should not be overly surprising. I did back off the prediction that they would both make it on Friday morning, using Osweiler’s slot to keep Maurice Smith (who also made the roster), but watching the team, there just really was not a way to separate the two backup quarterbacks right now. Fales looks good in practices, Osweiler struggled early in the preseason, but found a rhythm eventually and looked really strong on Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons. There could be more to come here, with Miami holding on to Osweiler in case of an injury somewhere in the league and the team being able to trade him, but, for now, the Dolphins have both players on the roster.
Cameron Malveaux was another surprise cut for me. On Thursday, I had him making the team as he has had a strong summer and looked like a good depth/rotational player to have on the roster. Keeping him would be asking the team to keep six defensive ends, which is tough when you only have a limited number of roster positions, and the Dolphins do want to bring back Malveaux on the practice squad, but I thought they may want to protect him by keeping him on the roster.
Mike Hull made the roster simply so the team can place him on injured reserve. Under the NFL’s rules, a player who is placed on injured reserve during the preseason is out for the year. If a player starts the season on the 53-man roster, then is placed on injured reserve, he is still eligible for the “designated to return” option, which appears to be what Miami is planning for Hull. That means the Dolphins have a built in roster spot right now for a waiver claim or to bring back a player they released yesterday.
My biggest area of concern right now is wide receiver. With DeVante Parker dealing with a broken finger and Jakeem Grant in the concussion protocol, it feels like the team could be short on receivers for Week 1. They must feel that both of those players are progressing and will be ready, as well as the team feeling that the tight ends and running backs can cover for any production lost if one or both of those players are not ready.