The NFL completed the preseason portion of their 2021 calendar on Tuesday, with the final act featuring teams trimming their rosters from 80 players down to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players. All across the league, players who had hoped to play football in 2021 saw those hopes dashed as their were waived, released, or placed on injured reserve. Except, not all hope should be lost.
Throughout Wednesday, waiver claims will happen, with the player’s contract effectively moving over to a new team. Then comes the practice squad. Teams are allowed to sign players to the practice squad starting Wednesday afternoon, giving new life to players who had a bad day on Tuesday.
The NFL will again allow up to 16 players to be on each team’s practice squad, up from 10 just two years ago. Last year, the league and the NFL Players Association had come to an agreement to expand the practice squad to 12 players, then that was changed to 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic still ongoing, the league will again use the larger practice squad sizes.
The league in 2020 also adjusted the rules for who can be on the practice squad. In previous seasons, teams were limited to four players who had move than two accrued seasons in the league. The COVID-19 rule changes allowed for up to four players who have one- or two-years of service in the league, and up to six players with any amount of time in the league. The rest of the squad will consist of rookies or players who have not been on an active roster for more than nine games in a season.
Teams are allowed to poach players of another team’s practice squad if they are signing them to the active roster. A team can sign a player from their next upcoming opponent’s practice squad, but it must be done six days before the game, or 10 days if it is during the bye week. Teams can also protect up to four players on their practice squad to prevent them from being poached - though that goes into effect on Tuesday each week, so a player a teams wants to protect could still get signed by another team on Monday.
Starting in 2020, the league added a new rule for practice squad players, making them eligible to appear in a game without having to be signed to the active roster. Two practice squad players per week are allowed to be elevated to the active roster for game day, then will revert back to the practice squad immediately following the game. This gives teams some flexibility when dealing with injuries or illness - such as COVID-19 - without having to cut a player to make roster space, then after the game cut the practice squad player and hope he clears waivers to be re-signed to the practice squad. A player can be elevated in this manner twice during the season before he would have to be added to the 53-man active roster.
Younger practice squad players are set to make $9,200 a week this year, while players with over two years of experience in the league will have a weekly salary of $14,000. That equates to $165,600 or $252,000 for the 18 week regular season. That salary is not guaranteed, meaning a practice squad player can be released at any time, and the salary does count against a team’s salary cap.
We will continue to update this article throughout the day with all of the rumors and reports of Miami Dolphins practice squad signings. Just remember practice squad signings are not official until the team reports them. The Dolphins have the ability to sign up to 17 players on their practice squad season if they add guard Durval Queiroz Neto as part of the International Pathway Program. As long as he is in that program, Queiroz is not available to play on game day, but this year, the league will allow a team to release the player from the program and sign him to a regular practice squad position or to the active roster, giving him an ability to appear in a game.
In past years, there have been reports of a signing, with the player on the way to the team facility, only to have another team make a better offer and the player change to signing with the second club. It is a fluid day, with players being added to rosters quickly - especially with 16 (or 17) spots available per team this year - so we will keep up with everything as it becomes known.
2021 Miami Dolphins roster cuts:
We include the list of yesterday’s cuts because many of Miami’s practice squad targets will come from this list.
Josh Harvey Clemons, linebacker
Cre’Von LeBlanc, cornerback
Benardrick McKinney, linebacker
Adam Pankey, tackle
Matt Skura, center
Cameron Tom, center
Javaris Davis, cornerback
Gerrid Doaks, running back
Tino Ellis, cornerback
Shaquem Griffin, linebacker
Nate Holley, safety
Kylan Johnson, linebacker
Benito Jones, defensive tackle
Patrick Laird, running back
Jonathan Ledbetter, defensive end
Kai Locksley, wide receiver
Khalil McClain, wide receiver
Kirk Merritt, wide receiver
Calvin Munson, linebacker
Chris Myarick, tight end
Malcolm Perry, wide receiver
Durval Queiroz Neto, guard
Tyshun Render, defensive end
Jordan Scarlett, running back
Reid Sinnett, quarterback
Jason Strowbridge, defensive end
Carl Tucker, fullback
Larnel Coleman, tackle
2021 Miami Dolphins practice squad rumors
The Dolphins are interested in re-signing tackle Adam Pankey to the practice squad, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Pankey would fill one of the six veteran positions on the practice squad should he re-sign with the Dolphins. He is a free agent right now and able to sign with any team should someone want to bring him to their 53-man roster.
Jackson also reports the Dolphins have expressed interest in bringing rookie running back Gerrid Doaks back to the practice squad. This is not a surprise and, should he clear waivers, Doaks re-signing makes sense. The team likes him, but they needed roster space. The surprise may simply be that they are only carrying three running backs (Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, Salvon Ahmed) on the 53-man roster right now.
Shaquem Griffin is expected to return to the Dolphins practice squad, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Griffin was a late addition to the Miami roster, just prior to the start of training camp. He is a strong special teams player who has the speed to be a coverage or pass-rush linebacker. He probably needs more time to develop within Miami’s system. He could be a player who hangs on the practice squad for the start of the year, then gets pulled up as injuries happen.
Jackson writes that the Dolphins do plan on bringing back Queiroz, saying “they want to invest more time in him.” Miami was assigned the Brazilian member of the International Pathway Program in 2019 when he was a defensive tackle. They have moved him to guard and he is developing in the new role. It would not be a surprise to have him as an exception for the start of the year, potentially looking to use the new rule to allow him to provide depth later in the year if injuries happen.
Malcolm Perry will be re-signed to the practice squad if he is not claimed, according to Jackson. Perry, Navy’s triple-option quarterback in 2019, is a flex player, lining up at wide receiver and running back, able to move to quarterback if needed, and has done work as a returner. Keeping him and continuing his development is a smart move for Miami who love to have mismatches and versatile players able to line up in multiple positions all over the offense.
Non-Dolphins Update: 4:24pm ET
According to Herbie Tepoe of the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed former Dolphins defensive tackle Benito Jones to their practice squad.
Agent Paul Sheehy tweeted former Dolphins tight end Chris Myarick has signed with the New York Giants practice squad.
2021 Miami Dolphins practice squad
Update: 12:57pm ET
The initial roster moves for the day have started. The league announced the waiver claims awarded, with the Dolphins adding cornerback Elijah Campbell, but losing wide receiver Malcolm Perry in the moves. The Dolphins will have other roster moves announced in the second-round of transactions as they sign practice squad players and create roster space for Campbell.
According to Jackson, the Dolphins are signing cornerback Javaris Davis to the practice squad.
Update: 1pm ET
The Dolphins are signing quarterback Reid Sinnett to the practice squad, according to the NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. No surprise with this signing. The Dolphins like the development of Sinnett and could be looking to make him the primary backup to Tua Tagovailoa in 2022 if he continues to grow into the role.
UPDATE: 1:28pm ET
Jackson reports the Dolphins have signed running back Gerrid Doaks to the practice squad. This was an expected move and keeps Miami’s seventh-round pick with the club.
Wolfe adds the Dolphins are also signing wide receiver Kirk Merritt to the practice squad. Merritt was the definition of a bubble player this year, and just landed on the wrong side of the cut line as the Dolphins had seven players make the roster at the position.
UPDATE 1:40pm ET
Jackson continues to report on Dolphins practice squad signings, this time reporting linebacker Calvin Munson is returning to the team.
UPDATE 2:20pm ET
Jackson adds running back Patrick Laird to the list of Dolphins practice squad signings. The bubble for the running back position was thought to be either Laird or Doaks on the roster, then the other on the practice squad. It now appears it is both on the practice squad.
UPDATE 4:11pm ET
Dolphins have added defensive end Jabaal Sheard to the practice squad, according to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad. Sheard was a free agent after spending 2020 split between the New York Giants and the Jacksonville Jaguars. A 2011 second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns, he has also spent time with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. He has 53 career sacks and 406 tackles in 144 games played.
Jackson confirmed the Dolphins will bring back guard Durval Queiroz Neto as part of the International Pathway Program, allowing Miami a 17th practice squad player. This year, the Dolphins can elevate him or promote him if they need to use him as a depth player on the line.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has now confirmed the Dolphins will be re-signing linebacker Shaquem Griffin to the practice squad.
Jackson has also reported the Dolphins have signed tackle Adam Pankey to the practice squad.
Update: 5:52pm ET
Agent Eric Dounn, via a Jackson report, indicates the Dolphins are brining back running back Jordan Scarlett, signing him to the practice squad. That put three running backs on the practice squad (joining Gerrid Doaks and Patrick Laird) and three on the 53-man roster (Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, Salvon Ahmed).
Update: 12:46pm 9/2
Overnight, the Dolphins filled out several of their practice squad positions. According to a report from Joe Schad, offensive lineman Kion Smith and wide receiver Brandon Powell were both signed. Barry Jackson added to that report with the addition of defensive end Jason Strowbridge, cornerback Tino Ellis, and center Cameron Tom.
The Dolphins will likely confirm the list of all practice squad signings today as the players all start getting on the practice field and the signings become official in the NFL’s transactions listing. The team has one available spot remaining, assuming they are using the roster exemption on Queiroz. If they are not listing as a International Pathways Program player, they could just have him on the 16-man practice squad and elevate him when needed.
Slots filled: 16/17