The 2023 NFL preseason is complete and we are moving toward the regular season. With less than two weeks until the games begin, the league has one last offseason hurdle to overcome - the roster cut deadline. Every team has to trim their respective rosters from the 90-man limit for the preseason down to the 53-man limit allowed in the regular season by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
With that deadline looming, we take a look at the Miami Dolphins and how they could shape their initial 53-man roster. The team will be playing some games with the roster as the year starts, making sure they meet rule requirements with players who are injured. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey will lead this group, though there could potentially be more, with the Dolphins keeping him on the roster on Tuesday, despite an injury that will cost him most of the season, so they can slide him onto injured reserve, likely on Wednesday. According to NFL rules, if a team wants the ability to bring a player back from injured reserve during the season, he cannot be put on IR before the start of the regular season. For a player like Ramsey, that means he will have to be kept on the roster through Tuesday’s cuts, then can be moved to IR, freeing up a roster space.
How do the Dolphins build their 53-man roster? It is time for our final projection.
Released players: James Blackman (Released on 8/7, Re-signed on 8/21).
There is the possibility Miami releases Thompson and looks to bring him back to the practice squad, but teams are incentivized to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster to take advantage of the new emergency quarterback rules. Projecting Thompson to make the roster does not mean Miami is not looking for another option as the third passer.
Running backs (4)
De’Von Achane (R)
Jeff Wilson, Jr.
Changes: Myles Gaskin off.
Released players: Chris Brooks (R), Myles Gaskin
I could not do it, though I really wanted to find a way to keep Gaskin on the roster. I do think he will be waiver-claimed or signed by a new team if Miami chooses to cut him, but I cannot find a way to keep five running backs plus a fullback on the roster. If he is available, Gaskin is signed to the practice squad, but the fact that he is a solid option for a depth running back makes me think another team is taking him. Brooks should land on the practice squad.
Tight ends (3)
Elijah Higgins (R)
Released players: Tanner Conner, Julian Hill (R), Tyler Kroft
I will keep the tight ends the same as my last projection, but I would not be surprised if Kroft is kept over Saubert (who is injured), or if Hill replaces Higgins. Conner could make the roster, but I think he and either Hill or Higgins land on the practice squad.
Wide receivers (6)
Cedrick Wilson, Jr.
Changes: River Cracraft on.
Released players: Robbie Chosen, Chris Coleman (R), Daewood Davis (R), Keke Coutee (Signed 8/13), Braylon Sanders
Not keeping Gaskin at running back gave me back a slot at wide receiver. This came down to Cracraft or Chosen, and that might be a toss-up at this point. The coaches really seem to like Cracraft and he finds his way onto the roster. Chosen could be released and either re-signed in an empty slot once injured reserve moves are made or after Week 1 to prevent his salary from being fully guaranteed for the year.
Offensive line (9)
Terron Armstead, T
Lester Cotton, G
Liam Eichenberg, G
Dan Feeney, G/C
Robert Hunt, G
Austin Jackson, T
Kendall Lamm, T
Connor Williams, C
Isaiah Wynn, G/T
Released players: Geron Christian, Ryan Hayes (R), Robert Jones, Cedric Ogbuehi, Kion Smith, James Tunstall, Alama Uluave (R)
I know there is a lot of Eichenberg-hate around right now, but he should make the roster. Williams has to get his snapping issues under control, or else Miami might return to the idea of Eichenberg playing center and start working him there.
Defensive linemen (5)
Brandon Pili (R)
Released players: Josian Bronson, Da’Shawn Hand, Jaylen Twyman, Jamal Woods (R)
Per source, the Dolphins have waived DT Jaylen Twyman.— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) August 28, 2023
Keep an eye on this position over the next couple days. Not a lot of depth on interior defensive line, but this clears a path for Brandon Pili to make the initial 53
The depth along the defensive line may be the biggest question mark on the team, especially after seeing how easily the Jacksonville Jaguars ran through the middle of the line without Wilkins and Sieler on the field last week. With the report that Miami is waiving Twyman, Pili should easily make the roster now. Ogbah will likely have to see playing time at defensive end, despite the team playing him at linebacker as well, simply due to the depth here. Miami should be trying to find a trade partner for Ogbah, simply because he does not seem to fit what defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wants right now. Tindall makes the roster, though Miller has made it a closer battle than it should have been. This position will be in flux early this year as Miami looks for the right players to provide depth.
Jerome Baker (ILB)
Bradley Chubb (OLB)
David Long, Jr. (ILB)
Jalean Phillips (OLB)
Malik Reed (OLB)
Duke Riley (ILB)
Channing Tindall (ILB)
Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)
Released players: Mitchell Agude (R), Randy Charlton, Cameron Goode, Aubrey Miller (R), Garrett Nelson (R)
There is a possibility that either Agude or Miller make the roster, but due to numbers at this point, they are both headed to the practice squad.
Cam Smith (R)
Released players: Justin Bethel, Ethan Bonner (R), Keion Crossen, Parry Nickerson, Jamal Perry (Signed 8/13), Bryce Thompson (Tino Ellis was waived/injured 8/21)
Physically Unable to Perform List: Nik Needham
Ramsey will clear a roster spot once he is moved to injured reserve - that spot could be used to re-sign Chosen, Crossen, or a defensive lineman. Perry and Nickerson could be on the practice squad to start the year, giving Miami the depth for the position.
Verone McKinley III
Changes: Trill Williams off, Verone McKinley III on.
Released players: Keidron Smith (R), Trill Williams
Campbell sustained a knee injury last week, an injury that will force him to miss the start of the year, but should allow him to return at some point. That feels like an injured reserve designation, but again, Miami has to get him onto the 53-man roster first, then move him to IR. That would free up another roster spot, with the possibility of bringing back Williams or any of the players mentioned for Ramsey’s roster spot.
Special Teams (3)
Jake Bailey - Punter
Blake Ferguson - Long Snapper
Jason Sanders - Kicker
Released players: None.
Nothing really happening here.