The Miami Dolphins on Tuesday completed their roster cuts, bringing the team from the 80-man roster size to end the preseason into the 53-man limit required for the regular season. The team completed a series of releases and moving players to reserve lists to accomplish the roster trimming. The initial regular season roster is now complete.
Of course, the team could make changes with waiver claims or free agent signings over the next couple of days, so a “final” roster is never actually final. Players waived today will be awarded to teams tomorrow. Any player not claimed will then be free to sign with another team or join a practice squad. Teams are allotted 16 players on the practice squad this season.
Here is Miami’s initial 53-man roster:
Dolphins 53-man roster
Miami keeping three quarterbacks is not a surprise given Thompson’s preseason performances. He is in line to be the primary backup behind Tagovailoa next season.
Running backs (4)
The surprise here is probably that Sony Michel was cut, and he was cut in the initial rounds of moves. The bubble was thought to be on either Gaskin or Ahmed, but letting Michel go allowed both to make the roster.
No surprise here. Head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense likes to utilize a fullback, so it makes sense to keep Ingold.
Tight ends (5)
That is a lot of tight ends. Carter and Conner are the surprises to make the group. Carter brings special teams skills, so he remains with the team for that. Conner has a strong training camp, but he might have been able to be slid to the practice squad. Keeping five tight ends could lend credence to the idea of Gesicki moving out to more of a wide receiver role with the other four players picking up the traditional in-line blocking tight end role.
Wide receivers (5)
Cedrick Wilson, Jr.
Five wide receivers feels small, but again, if you are looking at Gesicki in more of a wide receiver role, despite all the blocking talk of the summer, you could essentially have six receivers. The sixth spot on the roster seemed to be ready for either River Cracraft or Lynn Bowden, Jr., but they fell on the wrong side of the cut line. A practice squad spot for either or both of them, should they get through waivers, would make sense.
Offensive linemen (8)
Larnel Coleman and Solomon Kindley both could have made the roster, but they both wound up waived. Either could land back on the practice squad. Coleman saw a ton of playing time this summer as the coaches looked to develop him as a reserve tackle. Kindley is a power guard on a team that is looking for pulling type of guards. He played better as the summer advanced and he is definitely worth keeping around if the team can.
Defensive linemen (5)
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know where my comment for the defense linemen is going to go. I wish there was a way to have kept Benito Jones. Hopefully he can land on the practice squad. He may never be a Pro Bowl type of player, but he is a solid lineman who just makes things better when he is on the field. There is no one in the linemen group who he should have pushed out to claim his spot, and these are the right five to have ahead of him, but if a sixth slot were available, keeping Jones would have been a consideration (at least for me). The group that did make the roster is going to be fun. Ogbah, Wilkins, and Jenkins are a really good starting group, while Sieler seems to make a play any time he is on the field and Davis is a solid player in the middle.
Andrew Van Ginkel
There is nothing really to complain about among the group. Now they just have to play up to their potential. Phillips, Baker, Roberts, Ingram might be the starters, but we should see plenty of playing time from Van Ginkel and Flowers, while Eguavoen seems to always make plays happen when he is on the field, though that may be more of special teams work than on defense. Riley provides good depth while Tindall continues to develop and should see an increased role as the season continues.
Depth at cornerback was the concern all summer and it continues as we head into the regular season. Howard is obviously the headliner, but he was supposed to be paired with Byron Jones, but Jones is starting the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list and will not be available for at least the first four games. Needham is set to be the nickel cornerback, but with Jones out could be moving from the slot to the outside. Igbinoghene, Crossen, and Kohou have to be ready for bigger roles as long as Jones is out.
Keeping five safeties seems deep, but it could be a sign of the concerns at cornerback. Could Rowe be asked to work more as a cornerback again, while Holland and Jones are the primary safeties? Campbell backing them up in that case is a smart move while Fejedelem is a special teams ace.
Long Snapper (1)
No surprises on the special teams unit.
Physically Unable to Perform (Can return after Week 4)
Byron Jones, cornerback
Injured Reserve (Out for Year)
Mackensie Alexander, cornerback
John Lovett, fullback
Calvin Munson, linebacker
Brennan Scarlett, linebacker
Adam Shaheen, tight end
Trill Williams, cornerback