The NFL is lowering the roster limit for training camp from the normal 90-man limit down to 80 for this year’s camp. The idea, which aligns with a request from the NFL Players Association, is to allow for more social distancing in locker rooms and training facilities due to fewer players, all as a part of the mitigation of risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. For the Miami Dolphins, who had 87 players on the roster on Thursday, it means some pre-camp roster cuts will be required.
The first of those cuts came on Thursday as the Dolphins announced they were waiving defensive tackle Ray Lima. Signed as an undrafted free agent this spring, Lima played three seasons at Iowa State, where he played in all 38 possible games with 33 starts. He recorded 28 tackles last season, and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection. He was named a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018.
The move drops Miami to 86 players on the roster, with at least five more cuts to go. The Dolphins were given a roster exemption this year for Durval Queiroz Neto, a second-year defensive tackle/guard from Brazil who was on Miami’s practice squad last year. A part of the league’s international development program, it is presumed that roster exemption continues with the roster-limit change this summer.
Miami’s rookies reported to the team facility on Thursday, starting the testing for COVID-19 required before they are allowed into the facility. Players and staff are expected to be tested again, with two negative tests required before being allowed to enter the building and begin training camp. The team’s veterans are expected to report on Tuesday to being their testing protocols.
Daily testing will be a part of the training camp requirements through at least the first two weeks.