Arian Foster

This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Sign Arian Foster

Three years ago today, the Dolphins signed running back Arian Foster. Although he was only 29 years old at the time of signing, it would prove to be his last NFL contract ever. 

At his peak, Foster was among the very best running backs in the game. In 2010, he led the NFL with 1,616 yards on the ground and 16 rushing touchdowns. He was a constant threat as a pass-catcher as well: he had 66 catches for 604 yards in that season and 53 grabs for 617 in the following campaign. Injuries sidetracked Foster in 2013 and 2015, but he turned in four campaigns with 1,200+ yards rushing while with the Texans.

Unfortunately, the sport tends to be cruel to standout running backs. After suffering a ruptured Achilles in 2015, Foster drew little attention in the initial waves of free agency. With Miami, Foster would merely support second-year pro Jay Ajayi after Miller fled to join his old friends in Houston. Despite his accomplishments, Foster netted just a one-year deal worth $1.5MM. The only guaranteed portion of his pact came in the form of a $400K signing bonus.

After appearing in four games for the Fins, Foster shocked everyone with his abrupt retirement.

“There comes a time in every athlete’s career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page. I’ve reached that point,” Foster revealed in a written statement. “My father always said, “You’ll know when it’s time to walk away.” It has never been more clear than right now. I’m walking away with peace. I know it’s not commonplace to do it midseason, but my body just can’t take the punishment this game asks for any longer. I want to thank the Miami Dolphins, with everything in me, for allowing me to bow out with grace and making this process as easy as possible.”

Foster cited the injuries as his primary motivation to move on from the game, but he later explained that he had fallen out of love with the game of football. In a 2017 interview with Joe Rogan, Foster said that he found himself on the sidelines of games thinking about physics and other topics of personal interest.

“I kind of just fell out of love with it,” he said of the game. He said that he would be on the sidelines at games thinking about physics of all things.

“Football is not a place for thinkers,” Foster said. “If you are inquisitive it comes off as disruptive.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Mario Williams, Arian Foster

Two years ago today, the Dolphins let go of a pair of former Pro Bowlers. The Dolphins terminated the contracts of defensive end Mario Williams and running back Arian Foster, two players who were expected to play bigger roles during their tenures in Miami.

Williams, a former first-overall pick, joined the Dolphins during the 2016 offseason after having been released by the Bills. Miami inked the lineman to a two-year, $17MM deal that included $11.98MM in guaranteed money, an indication that the organization was expecting at least starter-quality production from the four-time Pro Bowler.

Unfortunately, Williams’ lone season with the Dolphins proved to be a dud. Williams appeared in 13 games with the Dolphins, finishing the campaign with only 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defended. Miami released the defensive end on this date in 2017, marking the last time he’s been on an NFL roster. Considering he’s 34 years old and hasn’t played in the NFL in two seasons, his NFL career is presumably over.

The Foster move wasn’t as unexpected nor disappointing as the Williams transaction. Following a standout (albeit injury-riddled) tenure with the Texans, Foster joined the Dolphins to be a backup to Jay Ajayi. The veteran struggled in four games, compiling 55 yards on 22 carries (good for a 2.5-yard average) before being supplanted by rookie Kenyan Drake on the depth chart. Foster ended up announcing his retirement in mid-October, making his subsequent release predictable.

These weren’t the only two moves the Dolphins made two years ago today. The team also let go of defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who has proceeded to play in 30 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. The team also waived cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who hasn’t earned an NFL gig since that day.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/25/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Dolphins officially placed running back Arian Foster on the reserve/retired list, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Foster announced yesterday that he was hanging up his cleats.
  • After acquiring tight end A.J. Derby earlier today, the Broncos have cleared a roster spot by releasing safety Shiloh Keo, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
  • The Jaguars announced that they’ve officially placed defensive tackle Roy Miller on injured reserve and promoted fellow DT Richard Ash from the practice squad.
  • The Bills have promoted wide receiver Ed Eagan to the active roster. In a corresponding move, offensive lineman Michael Ola has been waived. Buffalo was in dire need of pass-catching help as both Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are dealing with injuries.
  • The Chargers have placed defensive lineman Caraun Reid on injured reserve and re-signed cornerback Pierre Desir, the club announced. As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, Reid is the 16th player San Diego has placed on IR, tops in the league.
  • The Bears announced that they have promoted defensive back Demontre Hurst to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. To make room, cornerback Jacoby Glenn has been waived.
  • The Seahawks have placed defensive end Quinton Jefferson on injured reserve and signed fellow DE Malliciah Goodman, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link).

Arian Foster Retires

In surprising news, Dolphins running back Arian Foster has announced his retirement (Twitter link via Uninterrupted).

“There comes a time in every athlete’s career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page. I’ve reached that point,” Foster revealed in a written statement. “My father always said, “You’ll know when it’s time to walk away.” It has never been more clear than right now. I’m walking away with peace. I know it’s not commonplace to do it midseason, but my body just can’t take the punishment this game asks for any longer. I want to thank the Miami Dolphins, with everything in me, for allowing me to bow out with grace and making this process as easy as possible.”

Arian Foster (vertical)

Unfortunately, as Foster alluded to, injuries derailed the four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro toward the tail end of his career. The 30-year-old suffered a torn Achilles last October, and that ultimately ended his seven-year tenure in Houston. The Texans elected in March to release Foster, who inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Dolphins in July.

A groin injury limited Foster in Miami, where he picked up only 22 carries for 55 yards in four appearances. Most of those attempts (13) and yards (38) came in Week 1. In the final game of his career, Foster rushed three times for 5 yards in the Dolphins’ 28-25 win over the Bills on Sunday.

Although Foster was a shadow of his previous self over the past two seasons, he’ll go down as one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history. The former Tennessee Volunteer burst on the scene in 2010, his second season, to lead the league in ground yards (1,616), rushing touchdowns (16) and yards from scrimmage (2,220). That was the first of four seasons with at least 1,200 rushing yards for Foster, who may have also eclipsed the mark in 2013 if not for a back issue that kept him out of eight games. All told, Foster tallied 6,527 yards (4.4 YPC) and 54 TDs as a rusher. He also proved himself as a serious pass-catching threat by hauling in 255 receptions and another 14 scores.

In the wake of Foster’s exit, the 3-4 Dolphins will go forward with breakout second-year man Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams as their main backfield options. Ajayi has rushed for 200-plus yards in back-to-back games, making him only the fourth player in league history to accomplish that feat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Major Roster Changes Looming For Dolphins?

At 1-4 with a minus-31 point differential, the Dolphins have been among the NFL’s worst teams this season. There are clearly weaknesses throughout the Dolphins’ roster, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that the team has plenty of players it no longer wants. As a result, executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, general manager Chris Grier and head coach Adam Gase are likely to oversee a significant makeover during the offseason.

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The Dolphins already began moving on from players who aren’t part of the solution earlier this week, cutting offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner on Tuesday. Turner is now with the Ravens, who claimed him on waivers, but Salguero reports that the Dolphins couldn’t find any takers when they shopped him and Thomas.

With Turner and Thomas gone, there are a slew of other Dolphins with iffy futures, according to Salguero. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and offensive lineman Branden Albert are among those with nebulous statuses beyond this year, though Salguero doesn’t expect Miami to move on from either. Running back Arian Foster, tight end Jordan Cameron and tackle Jermon Bushrod are all impending free agents who are doubtful to return in 2017 (Cameron could retire). Receiver Kenny Stills‘ deal also expires at season’s end, and Salguero notes that he has a fan in Gase, but the Dolphins haven’t been willing to commit a multiyear deal to him yet. Unless that changes prior to free agency, Stills could head elsewhere for a raise.

Mario Williams

Defensively, ends Mario Williams, Jason Jones and Andre Branch, linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi, and cornerback Byron Maxwell might be in new uniforms next year. Williams and Maxwell, two high-profile offseason additions, look as though they’ll be one and done in Miami, per Salguero. The two have underwhelmed with the Dolphins, who would save $14MM (compared to $5MM in dead money) by releasing them prior to next season. The only other member of the group who’s signed past 2016 is Misi. However, Misi’s career could be in jeopardy, and releasing him would free up $4.2MM in spending room at the cost of just $578K in dead money next season – the final year of Misi’s contract.

Given that the Dolphins’ season isn’t even halfway over, at least some of these individuals could play their way out of the doghouse over the next 11 games. The Dolphins are currently on track for a sizable house cleaning, though, and with the 4-1 Steelers and 3-2 Bills next on their schedule, they could enter their Week 8 bye at 1-6.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Cook, Dolphins, Browns, Eagles

Jared Cook appears to have avoided a season-ending injury, but the rare Packers free agent looks to be out for at least a game and possibly more following Green Bay’s Week 4 bye, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. It’s being determined whether Cook will be out through Week 5, or if the former Titans and Rams target will be forced to miss multiple full games.

Cook left Lambeau Field Sunday on crutches and remains in a walking boot. The Packers are off in Week 4 and host the Giants in Week 5, but they will likely do so without their starting tight end’s services. Richard Rodgers will be the next man up for Green Bay.

Here are some more injury-related notes from around the league.

  • Continuing the string of trouble at the tight end position this season, Jordan Cameron suffered a concussion against the Browns and won’t play on Thursday against the Bengals, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. This makes four concussions in the past four years for Cameron, who is in his second season with the Dolphins.
  • Gase also labeled Arian Foster as unlikely to return this week, per Beasley. He remains out with a groin injury. Foster sustained a groin tear during his final Texans training camp last summer and underwent surgery for it at the time. Foster missed three games last season due to that malady before going down with the Achilles tear that ended his time in Houston.
  • Browns linebacker Nate Orchard has a high-ankle sprain, which he sustained on the final play of Cleveland’s overtime loss in Miami, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter). Orchard is expected to be out “a while.” Additionally, Tramon Williams suffered an AC joint sprain during the loss, Hue Jackson said Monday. It’s unclear how long the veteran corner will be out.
  • As long as Ryan Mathews is healthy, he will remain the Eagles‘ top running back, per Doug Pederson (via Zach Berman of Philly.com). The problem, as it’s been for much of the running back’s career, stems from the fact the second-year Eagle again might not be healthy. Mathews left Sunday’s game against the Steelers after playing just eight snaps due to a left ankle injury. Mathews struggled with left ankle trouble in training camp as well.
  • The Eagles expect Zach Ertz and Leodis McKelvin to return after the team’s Week 4 bye, Berman reports. Philadelphia’s starting tight end has missed the past two games with a displaced rib, and McKelvin has missed the same amount of time due to a hamstring ailment.
  • Safety Darian Thompson‘s foot injury is not serious and not “the end of the world,” a source tells Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). Thompson will probably be out another week or two before suiting up for the Giants.

Extra Points: Cards, Falcons, Fins, 49ers

The Cardinals made an under-the-radar move in sending a 2018 seventh-round pick to Kansas City for cornerback Marcus Cooper on Sept. 2. Cooper failed to register a tackle in his Week 1 Cardinals debut, but he racked up seven and intercepted two passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown, in the team’s 40-7 win over the Buccaneers last Sunday. As a result, Cooper earned NFC defensive player of the week honors.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim spoke to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic earlier this week about acquiring Cooper, saying, “We liked him coming out of Rutgers (2013) and he fit what we did schematically. He’s longer. And from Quentin Harris to Terry to all of our pro scouts, to Adrian Wilson to Malik Boyd, they all loved what he did on tape in the preseason. He was a guy we focused on. We weren’t sure if he was going to be released or not but liked him enough to call John Dorsey (Chiefs general manager) to see if he’d be willing to move Marcus for a conditional pick.”

Cooper’s picks Sunday were his first since his rookie year, 2013, when he hauled in three. In three seasons with KC, he made 38 appearances and totaled 11 starts.

More from around the NFL:

  • Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow suffered a groin injury and will miss three to four weeks, his agent told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Worrilow has been the Falcons’ leading tackler over the past three seasons. Prior to Worrilow’s injury, second-round rookie Deion Jones knocked him out of the starting lineup.
  • Dolphins running back Arian Foster is a long shot to play Sunday, but there is a chance he’ll play in two weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Foster is dealing with a groin injury on top of his hamstring issue.
  • The 49ers worked out linebackers Curtis Grant, Kyrie Wilson and Josh Kaddu on Wednesday, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). Grant ended up joining their practice squad.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

East Notes: McDaniels, Dolphins, Bills

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, whose brief stint as Denver’s head coach from 2009-2010 was generally a disaster, has more than rehabilitated his reputation since reprising his role as New England OC in 2012. He is mentioned as a top head coaching candidate each offseason, and as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, McDaniels has never been more decisive about his desire to return to the head coaching ranks than he was when speaking with media this week.

McDaniels said, “[New England] is an incredible place to work, I love being here and I’m happy to do this job as much as I can, as long as they’ll have me. I do want to be a head coach again at some point in my life. I’ve learned a lot over the last so many years and hopefully gained a lot of wisdom and if and when that time comes, I’d look forward to the challenge of doing it again.” Those statements have led Reiss to wonder if McDaniels might be more aggressive about pursuing a head coaching job in the near future.

Now for some more news and notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • The Dolphins placed Dion Jordan on the non-football injury list today, and there is some intrigue surrounding the move. Per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter), head coach Adam Gase and the rest of the Miami brass were unaware that Jordan had knee surgery prior to his reinstatement, and as Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets, Jordan declined to say how he injured his knee while not playing football since 2014. For what it’s worth, Gase did say that Jordan “has a fresh start with me. Whatever happened in the past is irrelevant” (Twitter link via Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald).
  • In addition to placing Jordan on the NFI list, the Dolphins made a couple of cornerback moves and activated Arian Foster from the PUP list, according to this team’s official website (via Twitter). Foster practiced with his new club this morning.
  • The Bills have made a habit of acquiring players with troubled pasts in recent years (see, e.g., Kiko Alonso, Richie Incognito, etc.), and some of those decisions have worked out better than others. But as John Kryk of The Toronto Sun writes, Buffalo GM Doug Whaley is not changing his philosophy in that regard anytime soon, despite the recent troubles of running backs Karlos Williams and Jonathan Williams. Said Whaley, “We always have the same philosophy of taking every player on a case-by-case basis. Granted, we’re disappointed (in the Williamses). But I think what we have here with the support system, with the locker room, the coaching staff, our player-engagement staff, once we get them here I think we do a good job.”
  • Justin Durant, whom the Cowboys recently signed to give them a viable option at middle linebacker in Rolando McClain‘s absence, was seriously contemplating retirement before coming back to Dallas, according to Clarence Hill of The Star-Telegram. But the 30-year-old Durant said, “You just get that itch. Once I started looking at TV and seeing everybody going back to OTAs and stuff, I just figured I wasn’t done yet. I feel like I still have the ability to play, and I guess this organization felt like I could still play.

Dolphins Sign Arian Foster

The Dolphins have added another running back to their depth chart, as they’ve signed veteran free agent Arian Foster, the club announced. The one-year deal is worth $1.5MM and has a maximum value of $3.5MM. However, the only guaranteed portion of the contract is Foster’s $400K signing bonus.

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Coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon last October, Foster had previously been connected to three teams this offseason, including the Dolphins. The Lions were also connected to Foster as a team in need of backfield depth, but he’s slated to enjoy much better weather now in Miami.

Ranked as our No. 3 available offensive free agent in the late stages of free agency, Foster offers both name value and major upside, if he can stay healthy. It was said earlier this offseason that the Dolphins would consider Foster only if they had an injury at running back or if one of their young backs faltered.

Now that Foster has been added to the mix, one has to wonder if Miami isn’t satisfied with what they had in-house. Second-year back Jay Ajayi has been projected to be the team’s starter with third-round pick Kenyan Drake as his main backup. Isaiah Pead, Daniel Thomas, and Damien Williams are also on the depth chart.

This offseason, the Dolphins saw former starter Lamar Miller join up with the Texans in free agency. After Miller took Foster’s job, Foster may have an opportunity to take Miller’s place.

Foster averaged approximately 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns from 2010-12 but saw injuries limit him to 25 games from 2013-15. Foster still rushed for 1,246 yards in 2014, however, and took only 184 handoffs in the ’13 and ’15 seasons combined. So, he’ll be relatively fresh for a player his age and could still have value, even if he comes with obvious risk.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) first reported the signing. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reported the length of the agreement. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) reported the base and max value. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) reported the signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of PFR on Instagram.

Arian Foster To Work Out For Dolphins, Lions

Arian Foster will attempt to find a second NFL employer this week, making commitments to visit the Dolphins and Lions, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The former All-Pro will first visit the Dolphins, being scheduled to do so on Monday, and then meet with Lions representatives later this week.

Coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon last October, Foster had previously been connected to three teams this offseason. It’s looking like two could well be the Dolphins and Lions, both in need of backfield depth.

The Dolphins were pretty clearly one of those monitoring his situation since Foster already visited Miami in March. However, the team’s latest known stance on the veteran was regarding him as a fallback option in case of injury. Miami appears to have moved off that status, one that as recently as early June did not indicate much interest.

Potential late-July workouts have served as Foster’s plan for months, so the 29-year-old former rushing champion appears to have remained on schedule as he attempts to play an eighth NFL season.

Miami lost starting running back Lamar Miller to Houston, where he will take over for Foster, and attempted to find several replacements. The Fins signed C.J. Anderson to an offer sheet that the Broncos ended up matching and then tried to sign James Starks and Chris Johnson. Both eventually returned to their respective teams. Miller’s 2015 backup, Jay Ajayi, and Derrick Henry‘s backup at Alabama, Kenyan Drake, look to be Miami’s top two ball-carrying options right now.

Detroit parted ways with Joique Bell this offseason and is seemingly in need of running back help, with Ameer Abdullah coming off of an offseason surgery and Theo Riddick profiling as more of a passing-down specialist. The Lions also picked up Stevan Ridley, who hasn’t enjoyed a significant role since a season-ending injury ended his Patriots tenure prematurely in 2014.

However, neither Ajayi nor Abdullah have proven to be surefire starting backs, so a healthy Foster would have a clearer path to a first-unit role by signing with one of these franchises.

The former UDFA averaged approximately 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns from 2010-12 but saw injuries limit him to 25 games from 2013-15. Foster still rushed for 1,246 yards in 2014, however, and took only 184 handoffs in the ’13 and ’15 seasons combined. So, he’ll be relatively fresh for a player his age and could still have value, even if he comes with obvious risk.