Dolphins, DB Justin Bethel Agree To Deal

Although Justin Bethel has turned his talents on special teams into a lengthy NFL career, he did not make the Patriots’ 53-man roster this year. But another AFC East team will provide an opportunity.

Bethel is signing with the Dolphins. As a vested veteran, Bethel bypassed the waiver process and will head to Miami after spending the past two-plus seasons in New England. To make room on their 53-man roster, the Dolphins placed safety Clayton Fejedelem on IR.

The former sixth-round pick has 10 seasons under his belt; three of those (2013-15) produced Pro Bowl nods. While those honors came during Bethel’s run as a part-time cornerback in Arizona, they were associated with his special teams acumen. Bethel, 32, never worked out as a corner but has become one of the league’s top special-teamers.

The Patriots used Bethel on 84% of their special teams plays in 2020 and had him out there on 79% of such sequences last season. High-level valuers of special teams performance, as Matthew Slater‘s career illustrates, the Pats still could not find a roster spot for the veteran this year.

While Bethel did not have a regular role on defense in New England, he will rejoin former Pats cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer, who is going into his third season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator. Bethel will see his previous teammates in Week 1.

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