Laremy Tunsil

Dolphins Interested In Laremy Tunsil Extension

The Dolphins exercised left tackle Laremy Tunsil‘s fifth-year option in April, which keeps the 2016 first-rounder under club control through 2020. However, Miami is apparently interested in working out an extension that would run beyond 2020.

Now that Tunsil has three years of service time, he is eligible for an extension, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the Fins would like to explore negotiations on a new contract. Miami, of course, is in the early stages of a full rebuild, but Tunsil is young enough that he could be a key part of the club when it returns to competitiveness.

Plus, he plays a critical position and appears to be trending upwards. Pro Football Focus viewed 2018 as Tunsil’s best season, one that ended with the site grading the Ole Miss product as the No. 36 overall tackle. He has started 44 regular-season games in his brief career, moving from left guard to left tackle full-time in 2017. After an infamous pre-draft slide, Tunsil’s career is very much on track.

However, he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, and the Dolphins may want to lock him down now before his price tag continues to grow. Titans OT tackle Taylor Lewan is at the top of the market with a $16MM AAV and $50MM in guarantees, while Dallas’ Tyron Smith currently owns the most valuable contract ($97.2MM).

Tunsil is not at that level just yet, so if he prioritizes long-term security over the biggest payday, the Dolphins may be able to extend him for something like a five-year, $65MM pact with $30-35MM in guarantees.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Exercise Laremy Tunsil’s Fifth-Year Option

Although many high-profile Dolphins from last year’s team are elsewhere now, some stalwarts remain firmly in the organization’s plans. Laremy Tunsil is one of them.

The Dolphins will pick up their left tackle’s fifth-year option, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets. This will push Tunsil’s rookie deal through 2020.

After a pre-draft slide, Tunsil wound up in Miami three years ago. He has started 44 regular-season games, moving from left guard to left tackle full-time in 2017. Tunsil will be a constant for an offensive line that has since lost Ja’Wuan James, Ted Larsen and Josh Sitton. Miami returns Daniel Kilgore, but the 24-year-old Tunsil obviously profiles as a longer-term starter.

Pro Football Focus viewed 2018 as Tunsil’s best season, one that ended with the site grading the Ole Miss product as the No. 36 overall tackle. His salary will spike to around $10MM in 2020, barring an extension in the meantime. These options are guaranteed for injury only.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Gronk, Dolphins, Jets

Rob Gronkowski‘s contract has come up in several news cycles in recent years, the all-world tight end still being attached to a deal he signed back in 2012. But the future Hall of Fame Patriots pass-catcher said he wasn’t agonizing over the team adjusting his deal, which it did for the second straight year via incentive package. Gronk did sit out the voluntary portion of New England’s offseason program and considered retirement, but he says the drama’s in the past as he prepares for his ninth NFL season.

It didn’t weigh on me at all,” Gronkowski said of his near-offseason-long negotiations with the Pats (via NESN.com). “Everything’s always in the works. Nothing’s just going to happen in a day, something like that. It’s in the past now. It happened last week, so it’s go time now.”

Gronkowski also said had he not been satisfied with his situation, he would have followed Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack‘s footsteps.

I’m super satisfied with my situation,” Gronkowski said. “If I wasn’t, I would try to pull a move like they did. It works out. You get rewarded for holding out. But I’m not frustrated at all or anything. I’m super satisfied and just ready to go.”

The Patriots will need Gronkowski plenty while Julian Edelman sits and a thin receiving corps attempts to become a reliable source for Tom Brady targets. Here’s the latest from the Pats’ rivals:

  • The Dolphins submitted an unsuccessful waiver claim for a Bills cut, linebacker Tanner Vallejo, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Vallejo ended up in Cleveland because of the Browns’ top waiver priority position, one they’ve used frequently over the past week. Miami also wanted to keep two of their own cuts — running back Buddy Howell and tackle Eric Smith — but saw the former land with the Texans via waiver claim and the latter end up choosing to sign with the Patriots’ practice squad instead of the Dolphins’.
  • Dolphins skepticism is rampant around the NFL-following world going into this season, with Miami sitting as one of Las Vegas’ longest-odds Super Bowl propositions, but one reason the team believes it will improve from a disappointing 2017 is its offensive line. The Dolphins believe Laremy Tunsil is set for a “monster” season and that Daniel Kilgore has filled in nicely for Mike Pouncey — as both a leader and a player, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Kilgore and Josh Sitton are now in place on a Miami front that’s endured questions about its interior line — be it Pouncey’s health or guards’ underwhelming performance — for years.
  • Shifting back to practice squad gets, the Jets paid a premium for two of their 10 taxi-squadders. Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and running back De’Angelo Henderson will make four times as much as league-minimum practice squad players will, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reporting (via Twitter) Kaufusi will earn $32K per week and Henderson will receive $30K per week. The practice squad minimum for 2018 is just less than $8K weekly. The Broncos liked what they saw from Henderson in the 2017 preseason, but the 2017 sixth-round pick did not see much game action behind C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker. Additions of Royce Freeman and UDFA Phillip Lindsay routed Henderson out of Denver this year.
  • The Jets have one of the league’s least established tight end situations, but the team is high on rookie Chris Herndon, Albert Breer of SI.com writes. A fourth-round pick, Herndon’s caught the Jets’ eye as both a receiver and blocker and is a player the team believes will be a long-term cog. Jordan Leggett, a 2017 fifth-rounder, resides as the Jets’ other primary tight end candidate after Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ defection to the Jaguars.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Lewis, Dolphins

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Bengals coach Marvin Lewis denies reports indicating that he’s going to leave the team to pursue other opportunities, but nine unnamed members of the organization tell Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer that they’re not buying it. Meanwhile, Lewis recently told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) that he would “listen to” opportunities to transition a GM role somewhere. Rapoport adds that special teams coach Darrin Simmons could be an internal candidate to take over as head coach.
  • The Dolphins do not have any plans to shift Laremy Tunsil from tackle to guard, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Tunsil, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 draft, has 12 penalties this year, the second-most in the NFL. Still, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is insistent that he will remain on the outside.
  • More from Jackson, who writes that defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has erased any questions about whether he should be part of the team going forward. That’s no surprise given the year he is having. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke went so far as to say that he is a reliable player, something that he probably wouldn’t have said over the summer. “Snap count was a little down last week, but he has been really good,” Burke said. “The two weeks before that, he was at his best in a long time. I feel he has been more consistent this year — to the point where I had conversations with him, ‘Hey man — you’ve got to be one of our leaders now.’ He has found his way a little bit. Even last year, he he wasn’t as outgoing as he’s been this year — I am encouraging him to be more of an energy guy — part of that comes with being consistent and being reliable.” Phillips, a former second-round pick, has a decent 72.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus for his eleven games this year.

Dolphins Notes: Tunsil, Albert, Stills, Lacey

As the Patriots play for the championship, here’s a look at one of their divisional rivals, courtesy of The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

  • A prominent Dolphins front office executive has been telling people that the Dolphins have a future Hall of Fame tackle in Laremy Tunsil, a source tells Jackson. If Tunsil’s immediate future is at the tackle position, that could prompt the team to shuffle some things on the O-Line. The Dolphins have not indicated to left tackle Branden Albert that he will be released, but they have been non-committal about whether Tunsil will move to the outside in 2017. Albert would carry a $10.6MM cap hit if he’s on the team in 2017 but he’d only be on the books for $3.4MM if he’s cut or traded. Last year, Albert had a career-worst 42.2 score on Pro Football Focus. He also missed four games due to injury.
  • An “associate” of Kenny Stills says the wide receiver likes the West Coast and an offer from an AFC West or NFC West team could be attractive. At the same time, both Stills and the Fins have expressed interest in a reunion. Stills figures to be a popular guy if he reaches the open market in March and the Eagles reportedly are among the teams eyeing him.
  • The agent for linebacker Deon Lacey claims the Dolphins have such high regard for his client that they told him he can compete for a starting job. Of course, as a reserve/futures signee, he’ll first have to make the team. The agent said 12 teams, including the Patriots, made offers on the former CFL standout.

East Rumors: Johnson, Wentz, Dolphins

Lane Johnson became embroiled in a debate with the NFLPA regarding the nature of the 10-game suspension he faces. But the Eagles‘ fourth-year right tackle expects that ban to stick regardless, Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com reports, and be out until November.

The recently extended lineman, who previously tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2014, claimed he was taking an amino acid he purchased online and the app the NFLPA provides for players to gauge whether or not a supplement will result in a positive drug test informed him he was in the clear. Standing to see the guarantees in his $56MM+ contract void if he’s suspended for a second time, Johnson asserted the NFLPA isn’t fully behind its constituents regarding this issue.

I want that to be clear that the NFLPA does not stand up for players. They don’t check the supplements,” said Johnson, who added the Eagles probably wouldn’t test the supplement if he brought it to them for financial reasons. “They give us an app, and then when you call them and ask them if you test positive for something they approve, it doesn’t matter.”

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah denied Johnson was approved to take the supplement. The Aegis Shield app, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk points out, isn’t a surefire safety precaution due to supplements at times containing substances not included on the product’s label.

We always stand up for the rights of our players,” Atallah said in a statement. “Mr. Johnson’s statements are factually inaccurate and we have been in touch with both Lane and his agent, who now understand the facts. The NFLPA does not approve any supplements or substances.”

The Eagles appear set to lose their right tackle for much of 2016 while also could be without their rookie quarterback until the regular season starts.

  • Carson Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs during Philadelphia’s preseason opener and could miss the rest of the preseason, Zach Berman of Philly.com reports. The No. 2 overall pick sustained the injury on the second-to-last play of his debut outing, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter).
  • Dolphins coaches have viewed Dallas Thomas‘ training camp work as superior to Laremy Tunsil‘s, hence the veteran receiving the call to start on Friday night in the team’s preseason opener, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. A fourth-year Fins guard, Thomas started every game last season. But Jackson writes the Dolphins shouldn’t be withholding first-team reps from Tunsil since he’s likely going to get the call there once the regular season begins.
  • Miami’s brass told free agents they intended to use Cameron Wake as a pass-rush specialist this season, Jackson reports. Despite signing the 34-year-old defensive end to an extension, Wake could be set for an off-the-bench role. Dolphins staffer Nat Moore expects Jason Jones to start alongside Mario Williams. Wake is coming off a torn Achilles that resulted in him playing just seven games in 2015, the first season of Wake’s NFL career featuring fewer than 14 appearances. Wake’s started 85 of the 100 Dolphins contests he’s suited up for, including every such appearance since 2012.
  • Check out the details of Tyrod Taylor‘s complex extension with the Bills.
  • Patriots president Jonathan Kraft provided some detailed reasoning for why the team traded Chandler Jones.

Impact Rookies: Miami Dolphins

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Miami Dolphins’ draft class:

Well, I must say, the folks in South Beach surely know how to make draft day proceedings interesting. On Day One, they somehow managed to walk away with a player most had been calling the best prospect in the draft – Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil slid to the Dolphins at No. 13 due to a myriad of off-field issues back in college that was capped by a social media disaster (love your head gear, Laremy, but in the NFL, you have to wear a Riddell model).

The Dolphins entered the draft with eight selections and went home with the same, but they played a little bit of musical chairs in swapping out draft slots before they were done. They even ended playing doing ping-pong with the No. 186 overall selection in round six. Miami had first made a deal with Minnesota, sending two mid-round 2017 slots, along with pick No. 186 to the Vikings in order to move up and select Rutgers receiver Leonte Caroo with the draft’s 86th pick (round three). As the draft continued, the two teams again came to a deal – this time, Minnesota returned that No. 186 selection to South Beach for the No. 196 and No. 227 overall choices. They then used that choice to snatch another receiver, taking Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant.

After an entertaining and active draft weekend, here are the Dolphins rookies that I expect to make a mark in 2016:

First Round – Laremy Tunsil, OT (Ole Miss, No. 13 overall)

The new Miami coaching staff is looking to make major changes to their offensive front wall and Tunsil, if he lives up to his college hype, could be that unit’s foundation, much like high-priced veteran Ndamukong Suh is for the defensive line. Despite some poor decisions in life, there is no questioning Tunsil’s talent, but now comes the task of getting him into the lineup from Day One.

The coaches have slotted the rookie into the left guard spot, lining him up next to a man he will eventually replace at left tackle – Branden Albert. Gone from the first unit is 2015 left guard starter, Dallas Thomas. The team also signed New Orleans castoff, Jermon Bushrod. If the former Saint has anything left in the tank, he gives the Dolphins left side of the line three capable bodies to move around, if injuries do occur during the season.

Continue reading about Tunsil and the rest of the Dolphins’ rookie class..

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AFC Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Chiefs, Broncos

On the heels of his six-interception 2015 campaign, third-year cornerback Marcus Williams could be the Jets’ most underrated player, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. The former undrafted free agent from North Dakota State and ex-Texans practice squad member showed off impressive ball-hawking prowess last season despite serving as a fourth corner and playing just 27 percent of the Jets’ defensive snaps, and he’ll spend the next couple months battling Buster Skrine for a starting job opposite Darrelle Revis. As a contract-year player, Williams stands to earn a significant raise over his $600K salary by next offseason if he proves capable of filling a bigger role – whether as a starter or slot corner – in 2016.

Elsewhere in the AFC…

  • There’s a chance Dallas Thomas will beat out first-round pick Laremy Tunsil as the Dolphins’ starting left guard, which would be a nightmare for the team’s fans, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Thomas – whom Pro Football Focus ranked as the league’s second-worst guard among 81 qualifiers last season – seems to be ahead of Tunsil in the pecking order after the rookie struggled in minicamp, per Jackson. Tunsil, the 13th overall pick, was a dominant left tackle at Ole Miss and acknowledged that it’s not easy to learn a new position and playbook.
  • Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 draft, sees himself “on a steady incline” after transitioning back to the left side midway through last season, he told BJ Kissel of the team’s website. Fisher, whose pro career hasn’t lived up to his draft status, added that his impressive performance against the J.J. Watt-led Texans in the Chiefs’ 30-0 wild-card round victory “almost seemed like a little bit of a turning point in my career.” Having picked up Fisher’s $11.902 fifth-year option for 2017 in early May, the Chiefs are also clearly encouraged by the progress he made last season. That option is guaranteed for injury only, though, so if Fisher stays healthy and fares poorly this year, Kansas City will have the opportunity to reverse course.
  • Broncos general manager John Elway‘s competitiveness could be a roadblock in the way of a Von Miller deal, according to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. Kiszla wonders if the Hall of Fame quarterback can put aside his hatred of losing to reach a compromise with Miller, the franchise-tagged linebacker who’s fighting with the Broncos over the lack of guaranteed money in their six-year, $114.5MM offer. The two sides have until July 15 to reach an agreement; if that doesn’t happen, the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s only choices would be to sign the $14MM-plus franchise tender or continue sitting out.

AFC East Notes: Richardson, Giacomini, Dolphins

Yesterday, Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was suspended one game for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. After having previously been arrested for driving 143 mph, the 25-year-old was actually grateful that he didn’t earn a longer suspension.

“So the league has sent down there decision,” Richardson wrote on Instagram, “I have to live with it I’m grateful it could have been more but this is overspill from a silly offseason on my part but I’ve grown from it been pass it….I’m still smiling like its draft day.”

Fortunately, as RosterResource.com shows, the Jets should have enough depth on the defensive line to make up for Richardson’s one-game absence. Of course, there’s still lingering concern over the status of fellow d-lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.

While we await some clarity on that situation, let’s check out some more notes from the AFC East…

  • This upcoming season could be right tackle Breno Giacomini‘s final year with the Jets, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post. The lineman didn’t have a strong 2015 campaign, and the writer sees little reason why the 30-year-old will improve in 2016. The organization could save $4.5MM against the cap by cutting Giacomini following the season.
  • The Dolphins added plenty of reinforcement to the offensive line this past offseason. The team selected Laremy Tunsil in the first round, and they also added free agents Jermon Bushrod, Kraig Urbik and Sam Young. With this newfound depth, Mike Pouncey is expecting a bounceback season from the unit. “Obviously, we feel like we got a lot of talent on [the] offensive line,” Pouncey told ESPN.com’s James Walker. “We feel comfortable about the guys that we got in our room. This will be one of the first years in a long time we’ll have depth going into the season. As long as everyone stays healthy, we look forward to having a good year.”
  • Speaking of Tunsil, ESPN.com’s AFC East reporters explain how the first-round pick could ultimately help Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

AFC Notes: T-Rich, Manziel, Dolphins

Trent Richardson may be down to his last chance to continue his NFL career, and he may be firmly on the Ravens‘ roster bubble, but one still has to give him credit for dreaming big. In an interview with Comcast SportsNet, Richardson said he would end his NFL story by “Putting on a yellow jacket. People wrote him off, he came back and did some amazing things. He always had the pedigree. He just had to get back to the guy that we know” (link via Clifton Brown of CSNMidAtlantic.com). T-Rich, the former No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 draft, has a career average of just 3.3 yards per carry, and he has struggled with injuries and weight throughout the course of his once-promising career. Just 25, Richardson realizes there will probably not be another opportunity for him if he fails to make Baltimore’s roster, but as he fights to carve out a place for himself on the Ravens–who are well-stocked at the running back position–a little self-confidence can’t hurt.

Now for a few more links from the AFC:

  • Johnny Manziel‘s attorney, Jim Darnell, says his client is preparing as though he will play in the NFL in 2016, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Per Fowler, Darnell concedes that a return to the league in 2017 is more realistic, but it would take a confluence of positive outcomes for even that to happen. Manziel’s pending assault charge, for which he has a status hearing on June 24, would have to be resolved in his favor, he would have to weather whatever punishments the league levies upon him, and he would have to find a team willing to gamble on him and his fledgling football abilities.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the NFL has not yet contacted Dolphins rookie left tackle Laremy Tunsil about the now-infamous bong video that precipitated Tunsil’s fall in April’s draft. As Florio notes, however, the league could come calling any day.
  • The top of the Dolphins‘ wide receiver depth chart is largely settled, but there is some intrigue among a few of the less-heralded players on the roster, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Barring injury, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Leonte Carroo will be the club’s top four wideouts, but rookie Jakeem Grant, despite being a raw route-runner, has flashed in OTAs, and players like Griff Whalen and Matt Hazel also have their supporters among the Dolphins’ coaching staff.
  • New Jets left tackle Ryan Clady still has a chip on his shoulder as a result of the unceremonious end to his tenure with the Broncos several months ago, and he is determined to prove he is still the same player he was during his peak years in Denver, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida-Times Union takes a look at six returning Jaguars who could be on the roster bubble, a list headlined by Tyson Alualu and Dwayne Gratz.