We’ve officially reached the dead point of the offseason as there is roughly a month before teams around the NFL begin reporting for training camp in late July. This seems like a good time to revisit some more news and notes from the mandatory minicamp, which the Miami Dolphins hosted June 6-8.
1. Connor Williams, Robert Hunt, Christian Wilkins, and Zach Sieler are still hoping for new contracts
Starting center Williams skipped Miami’s mandatory minicamp as he hopes for a new contract. Williams, 26, has a cap hit of $8.375 in the final year of his deal with the Dolphins.
While they’re called mandatory minicamps, players don’t suffer massive fines for not showing up. Players who don’t attend training camp can be fined $50,000 a day. It isn’t clear if Williams will continue his holdout to training camp.
The Dolphins have roughly $13 million in cap space while Hunt, Wilkins and Sieler are all set to become free agents after the 2023 season. NFL senior insider Ian Rapoport mentioned that some teams sign players to extensions as a morale boost right before training camp — could that be Miami’s plan with at least a few of these players?
2. Liam Eichenberg won an orange jersey — for playing at center!
The Dolphins hand out orange jerseys to players who stand out in practice — Eichenberg claimed the orange jersey for some solid work at center during the mandatory minicamp.
While it’s hard to imagine that Eichenberg will start at center in Week 1, could the former second-round pick be finally coming into his own in his third season?
Left guard and right tackle are MIami’s largest question marks on the offensive line — a step forward by Eichenberg could be a difference-maker in the trenches.
3. More pass attempts to runningbacks?
“He doesn’t have good hands. He has excellent hands,” Fisher said on Travis Wingfield’s drivetime. “He has a great ability to judge the ball in the deep part of the field. He can catch the go balls and the post.”
Achane made a handful of impressive snags at camp — a possible sign of things to come as the Dolphins replace the targets of Mike Gesicki and Trent Sherfield. Miami targeted wide receivers on 67.1 pass attempts last season. Runningbacks were second with 112 total targets — 20.1 percent of the team’s offense.
The Dolphins targeted tight ends a league-low 12.8 percent of the time last season and that number could fall even further in 2023.
4. David Long Jr. is dealing with an injury
The Dolphins signed Long to a two-year deal early in free agency and the projected starting inside linebacker sat out of team drills during mandatory camp.
It’s rumored that Andrew Van Ginkel has gotten snaps at inside linebacker and free agent Reuben Foster could be on general manager Chris Grier’s radar. Long and Jerome Baker are Miami’s projected starters — could that change before September?
5. Vic Fangio more-or-less said that he would’ve been the Eagles defensive coordinator if there wasn’t a tampering issue
The Dolphins were docked a first-round pick for tampering with former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady but other teams get caught tampering, too!
The Arizona Cardinals tampered with then-Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon the week before the Super Bowl. Gannon has since become head coach of the Cardinals.
“Vic Fangio, for example, probably would not have taken the Dolphins defensive coordinator job and would be the defensive coordinator in Philadelphia today if everything was on the up and up,” ESPN senior insider Adam Schefter said. “And so it didn’t just impact the Cardinals and their job with Jonathan Gannon, it impacted others as well. . . . So I think that are certain people that might not be pleased with the way everything went down.”
If you don’t believe Schefter, take it from Fangio himself.
“That’s possible,” he told reporters in early June, “but I won’t — I’ll neither confirm nor deny it.”