Bobby McCain

Dolphins’ McCain, Kilgore Suffer Injuries

Sunday’s loss to the Patriots was rough, and this Monday isn’t looking any brighter for the Dolphins. The club has learned that cornerback Bobby McCain and center Daniel Kilgore both suffered injuries in Sunday’s 38-7 drumming, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). McCain is dealing with a knee injury while Kilgore has a torn triceps. 

There is no timetable for Kilgore, but a torn triceps is a serious injury with a high risk for a repeat tear if the player is not given enough time to heal properly. Logic dictates that Kilgore is a candidate to go on injured reserve with a chance to return later this year, but we’ll have to wait for more info on that front.

McCain, meanwhile, is expected to miss two or three weeks. The slot specialist is an integral part of Miami’s defense – as evidenced by his four-year, $27MM extension – so the Dolphins are hoping to get him back on the field as soon as possible. At minimum, he’ll miss contests against the Bengals and Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Rumors: Fales, Osweiler, DBs, LBs

David Fales completed just 1 of 6 passes in the Dolphins’ second preseason game, and although Brock Osweiler is the bigger name, the team’s internal preference is believed to be for the incumbent to back up Ryan Tannehill, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. As for Bryce Petty, he’s still behind both aforementioned backups, Jackson adds. Osweiler signed for the league minimum, making the Dolphins’ 2018 quarterback depth chart much cheaper than last year’s setup of Tannehill, Jay Cutler and Matt Moore — which represented more than $30MM against the 2017 team’s cap. A former sixth-round Bears pick in 2014, Fales has 48 career pass attempts — 43 of those coming last season with Miami.

Here’s the latest out of south Florida.

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick is primarily working as a slot defender for the Dolphins, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com passes along. The first-round pick out of Alabama was billed as a versatile performer entering the draft, with safety or cornerback potential. It looks like, for now, the Dolphins are taking advantage of that. Previous slot bastion Bobby McCain has moved to the outside, and that looks to have been done to give Fitzpatrick a role. Prior to the move, the Dolphins didn’t have a place for Fitzpatrick, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. Fitzpatrick, though, also played sparingly as a pure safety in Miami’s initial two preseason games.
  • Mike Hull may begin the season on IR, Jackson notes. The Dolphins would carry their fourth-year veteran linebacker onto the 53-man roster before placing him on IR, which would allow him to return during the season once he recovers from the sprained MCL he sustained earlier this month. Hull started three games last season. Raekwon McMillan is Miami’s middle linebacker starter.
  • Second-year UDFA Chase Allen looks to have a job as a Dolphins backup linebacker, but former Saints first-round pick Stephone Anthony may not. Jackson writes the 2015 first-rounder’s put together a poor preseason that has him on the bubble. Anthony played in eight Dolphins games upon being traded to Miami last year. He played 130 defensive snaps but did not stand out. However, with Hull out, the Dolphins need bodies to fill out their linebacking corps. UFA addition Terence Garvin isn’t a lock to survive cutdown weekend, either, Jackson adds.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, McCoy, Jets

The Dolphins are desperate for cornerback help, so much so that they’re working usual slot corner Bobby McCain on the outside, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. During this week’s practices, Miami used McCain opposite No. 1 corner Xavien Howard, with versatile first-round defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick in the slot. McCain became of the NFL’s highest-paid slot corners after agreeing to a four-year, $27MM extension earlier this year, but if he can stick on the outside, the 25-year-old would become a bargain. The Dolphins could conceivably look to the trade or free agent market in search of a new cornerback, but one of their recent visitors — former Redskins defender Bashaud Breeland — is reportedly unlikely to sign with Miami.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • While a few more details have emerged regarding Bills running back LeSean McCoy and the pending lawsuit against him (which alleges McCoy was responsible for a recent physical attack on his ex-girlfriend, Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane said “nothing’s changed” with regard to McCoy’s status with the club. “You take all allegations seriously, but until the police say there’s something there, we’re not going to act on anything without them saying there’s legit evidence,” Beane told Kate Brumback and John Wawrow of the Associated Press. “It’s an open investigation. Nothing has come forward that said any of these things are true. So until that would happen, I don’t think anything will ever change.” McCoy could potentially be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list depending on the state of the NFL’s investigation, but at this point, it appears he’ll be on the Bills’ active roster for Week 1, barring any further developments.
  • Bills punter Cory Carter suffered a torn ACL in Friday night’s preseason game, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Carter, who went undrafted out of Texas Southern in 2016, spent training camp with the Texans last summer but has never appeared in an NFL contest. While he was unlikely to unseat starting punter Colton Schmidt in Buffalo, Carter was one of only two punters on the Bills’ roster, so the team could conceivably add another specialist in the coming days. Carter, meanwhile, will likely be waived/injured and subsequently moved to injured reserve, where he’ll spend the 2018 campaign.
  • Speaking of injuries, the Jets will be cautious with guard Brian Winters as he continues to recover from the abdomen issue he dealt with in 2017, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Winters played through the ailment last season, but New York has no interest of rushing him back this year, and he’s not expected to play in any preseason games. The 26-year-old Winters has made 56 starts for the Jets over the past five seasons, and last year graded as the league’s No. 59 guard among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Edelman, Jets

There’s some mystery surrounding Julian Edelman‘s positive test for a performance-enhancing substance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Edelman will get off scot-free, as Mike Florio of PFT writes.

Edelman reportedly tested positive for a substance that wasn’t immediately recognizable, but the PED policy dictates that players can be suspended for “substances with a similar chemical structure and similar biological effect(s)” to the 71 specifically banned substances. The league will have to make its case in Edelman’s appeal, but the presence of the catch-all language in the PED policy could swing arbitration in its favor.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

Dolphins, Bobby McCain Agree To Extension

The Dolphins have made Bobby McCain the league’s highest-paid nickelback. McCain has agreed to a four-year, $27MM extension with the team that includes $13MM guaranteed, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

McCain, a fifth-round pick back in 2015, was slated to enter the final year of his contract. After the Dolphins carved out an additional $17MM thanks to Ndamukong Suh‘s post-June 1 release, the Dolphins quickly moved to put their cap room towards a new deal with the talented young corner.

McCain, 25 in August, has appeared in every Dolphins regular season game over the last three years. Last year, he set new career highs in interceptions (two), passes defensed (seven), and total tackles (45). Pro Football Focus ranked McCain as the 46th best qualified cornerback in the NFL in 2017. He was easily the Dolphins’ best cornerback according to the advanced metrics (and by any measure, really), as he outperformed outside starters Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley.

McCain’s deal bests the four-year, $20MM deal ($8MM fully guaranteed) signed by Patrick Robinson with the Saints this offseason. Although McCain is five years younger than Robinson, it’s impressive that he came away with more considering Robinson’s stellar 2017 performance and the fact that McCain did not have the added leverage of the open market.

The Dolphins project to return Howard and Tankersley as their starters on the outside with McCain covering the slot. First-round safety Minkah Fitzpatrickwho formally inked his rookie deal on Friday – will start in between along with standout strong safety Reshad Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Kendricks, Eagles, McCain, Seahawks

Mychal Kendricks visited with the Vikings earlier today. While the free agent left without an offer, it sounds like he’d certainly welcome playing in Minnesota. After all, it’d provide the linebacker with an opportunity to play with his brother, Eric Kendricks.

“Oh, man, it’d be a dream come true. I’d be awesome. That’s my best friend,” the former Eagles defender told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). “To strive for a championship (with Eric) would be awesome…Playing with my bro would be cool, and it’s a rare opportunity.’’

Predictably, Kendricks indicated that his brother is putting on the full-court press when it comes to recruiting.

“He’s doing all that he can,” Kendricks said (Twitter link). “He’s let me know what the team’s all about…But he knows in the end I’m going to make my decision based off the things that are presented to me.’’

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the league…

  • Kendricks, who was released by the Eagles last week, said he wasn’t surprised by the transaction. “I didn’t ask to be released but I asked for a trade a year prior to this,” he told Tomasson (via Twitter). “[S]o, yeah, I’m trying to be in a situation where I can play big role and really contribute.’’
  • Dolphins‘ cornerback Bobby McCain had a breakout campaign in 2017, rating out as one of Pro Football Focus’ top players at the position. The former fifth-rounder finished the campaign having compiled 48 tackles, one sack, seven passes defended, and two interceptions. After such a productive season, reporters naturally asked the 24-year-old if he’s been approached about an extension. “I mean, I um, I mean I…” McCain stammered (via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald). “No, I’m just going out and trying to play my best ball.” The defensive back is an impending free agent, but the Dolphins currently have little money to work with… until this weekend, when the team will free up $17MM in cap space due to the Ndamukong Suh move.
  • For what it’s worth, it sounds like McCain is more focused on helping his team succeed. “It’s a contract year,” McCain said. “There’s no secret at the end of the day, but me personally, I think just go out and play. If you go out and play ball, it will end up well for you at the end of the day. You win ballgames, everybody gets paid. Period. That’s just how it is. You go out, take a team to the playoffs, go deep in the playoffs, go to the Super Bowl, everybody gets paid.”
  • Players are starting to get used to Seahawks new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer. It’s the first time for many of these players (including Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin) playing under a new coordinator, but the offensive standouts are excited for the opportunity. “It has been a change, obviously,” Baldwin told John Boyle of Seahawks.com. “We’re excited about it though. There’s two ways you can go with the unknown: you can be fearful of it or you can be excited about it. With a lot of new faces, the young guys, a new system, a new, different energy, we’re excited about it. We’ve got an opportunity to put something special together again—I don’t want to say starting over—but kind of reloading if you will. It’s an exciting time for us.”

AFC Notes: Rivers, McCain, Browns

Before the dust had even settled after Hunter Henry‘s season-ending ACL tear, rumors began to swirl about the Chargers potentially bringing back Antonio Gates. It had just recently been reported that the Chargers were moving on from Gates after his historic 15-year run with the team.

A wrench was possibly thrown into those plans when Henry went down with a devastating non-contact injury during OTAs. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco refused to rule out re-signing Gates when asked about it last week. Now, Gates has at least one public supporter in his longtime quarterback Philip Rivers.

Well, shoot, I’d always be excited if he walked back in the door obviously,” Rivers said (transcription via PFT). “That’s something that [GM] Tom [Telesco] and [owner] John [Spanos] and coach [Anthony Lynn] and those guys I’m sure will discuss and see about bringing anybody in for that matter, but certainly [Gates’ return] would get my vote.”

Rivers sounds excited about the potential reunion, which makes sense considering his history of utilizing tight ends. For years, Rivers had a reliable target in Gates and he continued that trend last year with Henry. Now, with Gates in limbo and Henry sidelined, Rivers lacks a quality middle-of-the-field and red zone threat at the tight end position.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Dolphins will look to extend cornerback Bobby McCain, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) speculaties. McCain, a fifth-round pick back in 2015, is heading into the final year of his contract. Salguero thinks the Dolphins will look to lock up McCain with an extension sometime after June 1, when the cap space they freed up from the release of Ndamukong Suh becomes available.
  • The Browns may look to trade one of their surplus wide receivers, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. After trading for Jarvis Landry and drafting Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley, the Browns’ wide receiver room is a bit crowded. Cabot thinks returning players Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, and Rashard Higgins all will be available for trade at some point this summer. With Josh Gordon in the mix as well, the Browns simply have too many receivers, and will need to deal or cut at least a couple of them.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

AFC Notes: Broncos, Bolts, Fins, Ravens

Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly will likely spend his rookie season on injured reserve, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link), who indicates 2017 will be something of a redshirt campaign for Kelly. This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Kelly is currently on the non-football injury list after undergoing wrist surgery in April. With Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch set to act as Denver’s top two quarterbacks, Kelly wouldn’t have played a role this season anyway, so the Broncos would rather not waste a roster spot. Denver will have to wait until final cutdowns to move Kelly to IR, or else risk losing him to waivers.

More from the AFC:

  • Chargers first-round wide receiver Mike Williams said last weekend that he expects to avoid surgery on his ailing back. The Bolts are also optimistic that will be the case, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com, who notes that Mike Williams will likely begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. That wouldn’t necessarily rule out the ex-Clemson star for regular-season action, however, as the team’s hope is that he’ll be able to return during camp to work his way back in time for Week 1. General manager Tom Telesco revealed that the wideout has “been responding well” to treatment.
  • Alterraun Verner‘s one-year deal with the Dolphins is a minimum salary benefit pact and doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. As such, Verner will earn $900K if earns a spot on Miami’s roster, but will only count for $615K against the club’s salary cap. The veteran defensive back is expected to be given “every opportunity” to displace Bobby McCain as the Dolphins’ slot corner, per Jackson, but it’s also possible that Verner will fail to make the squad at all. In 2016, Verner appeared in all 16 games for Tampa Bay but played on only 22.8% of the team’s defensive snaps.
  • Even after signing veteran Bobby Rainey earlier this week, the Ravens may not be done adding running back help, opines Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Baltimore’s running game was already among the league’s worst in 2016, ranking 24th in DVOA and 25th in yards, and is now without Kenneth Dixon, who will miss the season after undergoing meniscus surgery. Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Rainey are still on the roster, but the Ravens could consider free agent signings or trades as search for another back, per Hensley, who tosses out Ryan Mathews, Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, and Carlos Hyde as potential options.
  • Texans receiver Deante’ Gray has suffered a torn ACL, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It has been a short but injury-marred career for Gray, an undrafted rookie who suffered a torn hamstring in the spring. Although he’s a Houston native, the ex-TCU Horned Frog was already facing long odds of making the Texans’ roster before his injury issues arose, given that he joined the team on a paltry $2K bonus.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

Dolphins Notes: Miller, McCain, Tannehill

Here’s a look at the Dolphins as they get set to face the Ravens on Sunday:

  • Dolphins starting running back Lamar Miller, a pending free agent, has about a 60% chance of staying in Miami in the estimation of ESPN.com’s James Walker. So far in 2015, the fourth-year running back has amassed 567 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Miller hasn’t produced as many would have hoped and it will be interesting to see if he thrives now that Bill Lazor has been dismissed as offensive coordinator. One also has to wonder if talented rookie Jay Ajayi could be viewed as the Dolphins’ best option, which could lead to a lowball offer for Miller.
  • Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain has hired agents Drew Rosenhaus and Michael Katz of Rosenhaus Sports for representation, according to NFL.com’s Rand Getlin (on Twitter). As a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft, McCain signed a deal worth roughly $2.5MM over the course of four years with a $228K signing bonus. The 22-year-old has appeared in 11 games (1 start) for Miami in 2015, tallying three pass deflections and 10 total tackles. McCain was formerly represented by Elevate Football.
  • Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be allowed to audible and make suggestions with Zac Taylor calling the plays, Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. “He’s got ownership in it as well,” head coach Dan Campbell said. “I think it’s like anything else. If you have an idea and you’re willing to step up on a table for it, you’re going to do everything it takes to make it work. … I’m a big believer that your quarterback should have influence on what he likes and what he doesn’t like in the game plan.”