The Dolphins announced that they’ve signed free agent defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche to a one-year deal and placed him on the active/physically unable to perform list. The pact is worth $1.19MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Nkemdiche, who was selected 29th overall by the Cardinals in 2016, was cut by Arizona in late July. He was quickly linked to the Dolphins, who were reportedly making “preliminary due diligence inquiry calls” on the former first-round pick. Miami left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a teammate of Nkemdiche at Ole Miss, was a “big advocate” for signing the interior defender, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.
In the midst of a rebuilding phase, the Dolphins can afford to take a chance on Nkemdiche, a player that clearly boasts talent but comes with question marks. Effort issues dogged Nkemdiche during his time in Arizona, and he reportedly showed up to training camp out of shape. Additionally, he’s facing a possible suspension due to a June arrest.
Still recovering from a December torn ACL, Nkemdiche won’t be able to practice with the Dolphins until he’s removed from the active/PUP list. It’s possible that he’ll be placed on the reserve/PUP list once the regular season begins, which would force him to miss the first six weeks of the year. When he is healthy, Nkemdiche will compete with first-round pick Christian Wilkins, Davon Godchaux, Akeem Spence, Vincent Taylor, and others for playing time on Miami’s defensive line.
Nkemdiche, who won’t turn 25 years old until September, appeared in only 27 out of a possible 48 games during his three-year run with the Cardinals, with injuries reducing his chances at playing time. Last season, he played in 10 games (six starts) before tearing his ACL, posting 4.5 sacks on 426 snaps. Among the 130 defensive tackles with at least 20% playtime in 2018, Nkemdiche ranked a lowly 114th in Pro Football Focus’ grades.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.