- The Dolphins have named Frank Bush their assistant head coach/linebackers coach and promoted Chris Kuper from quality control coach to offensive line assistant, per Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel. Additionally, the team has designated special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi an associate head coach, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 54-year-old Bush will take over Miami’s linebackers from Matt Burke, who’s now the defensive coordinator. Bush spent the past four seasons coaching the Rams’ LBs.
The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.
Here are this year’s carryover totals:
- Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
- Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
- San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
- Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
- Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
- Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
- Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
- Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
- Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
- Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
- Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
- Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
- Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
- Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
- New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
- New England Patriots: $5,292,335
- Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
- Houston Texans: $4,935,924
- Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
- Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
- Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
- Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
- Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
- Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
- Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
- New York Giants: $1,800,000
- Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
- Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
- New York Jets: $371,487
- Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
- Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693
- The Dolphins offered cornerback Bene Benwikere a futures deal that would have kept him in the club’s plans throughout the offseason, but Benwikere instead opted to sign on with Green Bay’s practice squad, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Benwikere was somewhat surprisingly waived by Carolina in early October, and though the Titans and Redskins both put in claims on him, he landed with Miami (who subsequently waived him and signed him to their taxi squad). In Green Bay, Benwikere will offer depth for the rest of the postseason.
- The Dolphins held an “animated” December meeting in which they discussed moving linebacker Kiko Alonso from the middle to the weak side, but they opted against it so as not to “mess with Kiko’s head,” sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Now that the Dolphins’ season is over, they’re again weighing whether to make the switch. If the Dolphins are confident Alonso can play either spot, it would give them flexibility in finding upgrades at the other two linebacker positions, writes Salguero. “We’ll see what other type of players we bring in through free agency and the draft and where Kiko fits in,” said new defensive coordinator Matt Burke. In his first year in Miami, Alonso rebounded from a torn ACL in 2014 with Buffalo and a disastrous 2015 as an Eagle to pile up a Dolphins-leading 115 tackles and two interceptions.
- The Broncos have a couple candidates for their special teams coach job in Marwan Maalouf and Derius Swinton II, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). The Dolphins granted the Broncos permission to interview Maalouf, who’s Miami’s assistant special teams coach. Heading to Denver would mean once again working on the same staff as rookie head coach Vance Joseph, who was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2016. Swinton is currently the 49ers’ special teams coach, but his future there is in doubt with a new head coach on the way. He worked as the Broncos’ assistant special teams coach from 2013-14.
The Dolphins denied the Rams permission to interview offensive line coach Chris Foerster for their offensive coordinator vacancy, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (via Twitter). As our own Zach Links previously pointed out, teams are not required to allow position coaches to interview for coordinator gigs. Therefore, even though Foerster would be eyeing a clear promotion, the Dolphins still exercised their right.
The long-time coach spent the 2016 season serving as Miami’s offensive line coach. The unit actually showed plenty of improvement under Foerster. The Dolphins offensive line allowed 45 sacks (the eighth-highest total in the league) during the 2015 campaign, but that improved to only 30 sacks (10th-lowest total in the league) this past season. Furthermore, Miami’s running game also had a bounce-back season. After having compiled 1,496 rushing yards in 2015, the Dolphins rushed for 1,824 yards in 2016.
Prior to his tenure in Miami, Foerster served as the offensive line coach for the 49ers, Redskins, Ravens, and Buccaneers. Foerster actually worked alongside Sean McVay when the duo was in Washington, as the Rams new head coach served as the Redskins’ tight ends coach and offensive coordinator during Foerster’s tenure with the organization.
Foerster also has experience as an offensive coordinator, serving in that role with the Dolphins back in 2004. Miami finished 4-12 that season and only managed 275 points on offense.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- The Dolphins have signed former Olympian and San Francisco defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The 12th-place finisher in the discus throw at the 2012 London Summer Games, the 25-year-old Brit spent time with the Bears this season but did not see any game action. Chicago relocated Okoye to the offensive line, though, so it will be interesting to see where Miami uses him.
Following the Dolphins‘ season-ending loss to Pittsburgh, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald looks at potential changes to the squad. The writer believes that defensive end Dion Jordan has probably played his final game for the organization. The former No. 3 overall pick has been suspended twice and has undergone a pair of knee surgeries, and Salguero reports that “he’s having “issues” again that effectively will get him cut this offseason.”
Salguero doesn’t specify what kind of issues the oft-banned pass-rusher is having, but should this mark the end of Jordan’s tenure in Miami, it will conclude the tenure of one of the worst draft picks in team history. Jordan has not played in a game since 2014 and has just three career sacks. Waiving Jordan would save the Dolphins $3.225MM.
Here’s more from out of Miami.
- Kenny Stills comprises part of the Dolphins’ UFA contingent, and the former Saints wideout unequivocally wants to return to Miami. Stills enjoyed a bounce-back year after a down first season in south Florida, hauling in 42 passes for 726 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns. ESPN.com’s James Walker notes Stills could be the team’s top free agent. “I want to be back here,” Stills said. “I love this team. I love these guys. We did something special, just starting 1-4. So we’re going to do whatever we can to try to make it happen.” The Dolphins don’t have a veteran wideout contract on their payroll but are lining up a Jarvis Landry extension, and Stills could be an attractive commodity on the market, being just 24.
- Andre Branch wants to be back with the Dolphins as well but may be less enthralled than Stills about the certainty of a return. He could be a key part of this equation, with Cameron Wake set to turn 35 this month and Mario Williams almost certainly being a cap casualty. “I love this place,” the fifth-year defensive end said, via Walker. “They believed in me when not too many people did. I appreciate them for that. But we will see how it goes.”
- When assessing the Fins’ priorities in terms of their UFA strategy, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes re-signing Stills will be high on the list, along with finding a replacement for right guard Jermon Bushrod. But a Dion Sims re-up will factor in as well. An impending UFA, Sims said Adam Gase views him as a starter going forward. Miami does not intend to re-sign Jordan Cameron, who wants to keep playing despite rampant injury struggles. More known for his blocking, Sims caught 24 passes for 256 yards and four TDs this season. Beyond Sims, Miami didn’t boast much at tight end this season.
- When accounting for the $8.4MM in carryover from this year, the Dolphins figure to enter the offseason with approximately $36MM in cap space. The team moving on from Jordan, Williams and linebacker Koa Misi as expected should push that total up to $52MM, Jackson notes.
- Earlier today, the Dolphins filled Vance Joseph‘s DC position by promoting linebackers coach Matt Burke.
Ben Levine contributed to this report
The Fins hired Burke away from the Bengals roughly one year ago today as a contingency plan in the event that Joseph left. Joseph did not get a head coaching job in the last cycle, but he was quickly scooped up the Broncos this time and the Fins are glad that they had their replacement already queued up.
In other Dolphins news, the team signed a number of players to reserve/futures deals this week.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn is a candidate for the Broncos’ O-line coach role, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. That would mean following ex-Dolphins defensive coordinator and now-Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to Denver. Washburn previously worked as Detroit’s offensive line coach from 2013-15. For now, Clancy Barone is atop the Broncos’ O-line, though it appears that won’t be the case for much longer as a result of previous head coach Gary Kubiak‘s retirement.