We move on to day four in our annual look at the Miami Dolphins’ offseason roster, a series we call “90-in-90.” Each day, we select one player from Miami’s roster and take a closer look at him. We will take a look at what he did in 2018, his current contract with the Dolphins, reasons he might progress in 2019, reasons he might regress in 2019, and the chances he makes the 53-man regular-season roster.
Over the first three days of this year’s series, we have taken a look at Jonathan Woodard, Shaq Calhoun, and Kalen Ballage. Today, we turn to a veteran free agent addition this offseason, who could find himself in a starting role when Week 1 arrives. Can Eric Rowe be the starter opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard?
Rowe’s 2018 began with him as the starting cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore for the New England Patriots. By the end of the season, he had been benched, inactivated, brought back to the lineup, and on injured reserve. It was definitely an up-and-down year for the 2015 second-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.
He was inactive for Week 3-5 with a groin injury in 2018, then returned to the field for Week 6s and 7 before the groin injury landed him on injured reserve and ended his season. In just four games played, Rowe tallied ten tackles with one pass defensed last year. For his career, he has 80 tackles with 16 passes defensed and two interceptions over four years played.
Signed a one-year, $2.775 million contract (via OverTheCap.com).
Why he will progress
Rowe is healthy. That should allow him to play in more than just four games this season, which would be a progression. He is just 26 (turns 27 in season), so there is still potential to be reached. Head coach Brian Flores, having served as the defensive play called for the Patriots last year, knows Rowe and is familiar with what he can do.
Why he might regress
There is a reason the Eagles were willing to trade Rowe to the Patriots after one year for a conditional fourth-round pick and he started the 2016 and 2017 seasons down on the New England Patriots, and why the Patriots were willing to let him go in free agency this year. With Howard making the Pro Bowl and looking like a shut-down, number-one type of cornerback, that is going to put more pressure on whomever is playing opposite him, and Rowe has to step up into that pressure or else he will regress.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Rowe appears to be the starter opposite Howard unless someone can mount a strong challenge in training camp and the preseason. He should be a lock for the roster.
Fun fact: Rowe was the 47th overall pick in 2015 by the Eagles. The Eagles traded up to select Rowe, giving up to fifth round picks and the 52nd overall pick to select Rowe and add a sixth-round pick. Their trade partner? The Dolphins. Miami used the 52nd pick to add Jordan Phillips, then used the two fifth-round picks on Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett.