Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins Sign Rookie RB Malcolm Perry

The Dolphins have signed seventh-round pick Malcolm Perry, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The fleet-footed quarterback out of Navy is expected to play running back as a pro. 

Last year, Perry racked up 2,017 yards for the Midshipmen, who run a variation of the triple-option. He was listed as a QB, but Perry only threw for ~1,000 yards in 2019 while spending a good chunk of snaps in the “A-back position” – in essence, that means lining up as a running back.

Perry’s versatility should come in handy for the Dolphins, though they’ll have to carve out practice reps as a receiver. The feeling is that Perry’s athleticism will lend itself well to WR assignments, but he had just 22 catches in college and zero receptions last year.

The Dolphins have now inked the majority of their gargangtuan draft class. Here’s the full rundown, via PFR’s tracker:

1-5: Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Alabama): Signed
1-18: Austin Jackson, T (Miami)
1-30: Noah Igbinoghene, CB (Auburn)
2-39: Robert Hunt, OL (Louisiana)
2-56: Raekwon Davis, DL (Alabama): Signed
3-70: Brandon Jones, S (Texas): Signed
4-111: Solomon Kindley, OL (Georgia): Signed
5-154: Jason Strowbridge, DT (UNC): Signed
5-164: Curtis Weaver, DE (Boise State): Signed
6-185: Blake Ferguson, LS (LSU): Signed
7-246: Malcolm Perry, WR/RB (Navy): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Bell, Patriots, Dolphins

The Jets missed on many of their top targets this year, but they did manage some upgrades to the offensive line. Coming off of his worst season ever, Le’Veon Bell is excited about having improved protection up front. “Can’t wait,” Bell told ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler with Bart Scott-esque enthusiasm.

The Jets’ new-look offensive line will feature first-round pick Mekhi Becton and newcomers Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant. Between the three free agent deals and the re-signing of Alex Lewis, the Jets dropped $80MM to fortify their O-Line. They also bypassed this year’s top wide receivers to select Becton, a nightmare for defenders and pickup trucks alike. The Jets hope this will all result in a more reliable pocket for Sam Darnold and larger holes for Bell to run through. In 2019, Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and didn’t get much yardage off of his 66 catches.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • Joe Flacco‘s one-year, $1.5MM Jets deal includes $550K guaranteed, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The full breakdown gives the quarterback $1.05MM in base pay, a total of $450K in per-game active roster bonuses, and the opportunity to earn another $3MM through incentives. The Jets have been encouraged by Flacco’s progress as he works his way back from neck surgery, though the QB admits that he won’t be ready for the season opener. If Flacco’s recovery stalls, they’ll be able to escape the deal fairly easily.
  • The Dolphins are nowhere near ready to give up on quarterback Josh Rosen, according to a source who spoke with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Rosen was a disappointment in his six appearances (three starts) last year, but the ‘Fins source says he showed some promise in practice towards the end of the year. Another factor: The Dolphins probably don’t want to trade Rosen for pennies on the dollar one year after coughing up a second-round pick for him.
  • Will Hastings‘ relationship with quarterback Jarrett Stidham could help his chances of making the Patriots‘ roster as their slot receiver. Still, the Pats have other options to consider alongside the UDFA out of Auburn, as Doug Kyed of NESN writes. They could change their slot philosophy entirely, utilizing a bigger WR like Jakobi Meyers or Mohamed Sanu on the inside. They could also lean more on two-tight end sets with rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi in the fold, sacrificing speed for better blocking.

Dolphins S Bobby McCain Expects To Be Ready For Week 1

Dolphins safety Bobby McCain saw his 2019 campaign cut short by a shoulder injury, and he subsequently underwent surgery. Per Barry Jackson and Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald, McCain’s recovery is going well, and he plans to be ready for the start of the 2020 season.

As Jackson and Beasley note, McCain is likely to remain at safety. The 2015 fifth-rounder spent the first four years of his career at cornerback, but he converted to safety last season and held up reasonably well in coverage. In nine games (eight starts), he recorded 25 tackles and two interceptions.

For his part, McCain is willing to play anywhere. “It’s not my decision to make decisions,” he said. “My job is just to play football. So you know I love playing football. I love doing what I do. I am able to do it all.”

McCain also indicated that, even though safety is generally a more physical position than corner, he is not worried about another injury. “You can get hurt doing anything, making a simple tackle,” he said. “Sometimes the easiest plays to make are the ones that hurt the most. It’s just football. Things happen.”

Miami is deeper at corner than it is at safety, which is one of the reasons why McCain is likely to stay put in 2020. The Dolphins did select Texas safety Brandon Jones in the third round of this year’s draft, but the starting FS job appears to be McCain’s for now.

Pursuant to the four-year, $27MM extension McCain signed in June 2018, he is due a base salary of $6.4MM this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Rosen, Patriots

The Dolphins might be receiving some interest in Josh Rosen, but they’re probably not in a rush to trade him, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Rosen is slated to count for just $2.17MM against the cap and GM Chris Grier would be admitting defeat by trading the former first-round pick for substantially less than he gave up for him. In 2019, the Dolphins shipped a second-round pick plus a fifth-round choice to the Cardinals for Rosen. Right now, there’s no way they’d get anything close to a Round 2 selection in return.

Instead, Salguero expects the Dolphins to wait things out and see if his value improves with time. A QB injury elsewhere coupled with a solid preseason from the former No. 10 overall pick could get the job done. In the meantime, the Dolphins will focus on Tua Tagovailoa – their latest quarterback of the future – and proven veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • In his final season under contract with the DolphinsRaekwon McMillan is expected to be used mostly on run downs, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. That’s not an ideal platform for the linebacker, who has had limited opportunities to show his stuff. As a second-round pick in 2017, McMillan was set to start before a preseason ACL injury robbed him of his first pro season. In 2018, he started in every game and saw 831 snaps, but in 2019 he saw just 515 snaps and missed a chunk of the year. Jerome Baker and Kyle Van Noy are likely to be the Dolphins’ two leading LBs, ahead of McMillan.
  • The Patriots‘ offensive line seems more or less set, but Jeff Howe of The Athletic wonders if Marcus Cannon‘s recent change in representation is a sign that the club has approached him about reworking his contract. The right tackle took a step back in 2019 and he’s set to count for $9.6MM in 2020. If the Patriots want Cannon to take a pay cut that isn’t suitable for the veteran, a summer shakeup could be on the way.
  • New Jets quarterback Joe Flacco has been cleared to throw, but he won’t be ready for Week 1 against the Bills.

AFC East Notes: O’Shea, Warford, Ryan

The Dolphins fired former OC Chad O’Shea after just one season in his post, and the move surprised many at the time. After all, Miami’s offense wasn’t exactly brimming with talent, but O’Shea’s unit actually ranked in the top-10 in passing offense and top-15 in scoring offense after QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reentered the starting lineup in Week 7.

We had previously heard that O’Shea’s offense was overly complex for the young Dolphins talent, but as Barry Jackson, Adam H. Beasley, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald write, the term “overly complex” may not be strong enough.

O’Shea, who brought in elements of the Patriots’ notoriously difficult offensive system after spending 10 years as New England’s WRs coach, tried to install especially advanced and complicated portions of the Pats’ scheme, which went over the heads of his new charges in Miami. And though he can’t be faulted for trying to replicate an offense that has thrived for years, players complained that he was a terrible teacher to boot, with one player calling his instruction during film study a “disaster.”

Head coach Brian Flores had O’Shea pulled out of his exit meeting with Fitzpatrick to advise him of his dismissal. O’Shea was reportedly blindsided by the news, and Fitzpatrick was apparently taken aback as well. It’s unknown if Flores asked Fitzpatrick about Chan Gailey — who was immediately hired as O’Shea’s replacement — prior to O’Shea’s firing. Fitzpatrick has played under Gailey for five seasons.

Let’s round up several more items from the AFC East:

  • In his most recent mailbag, Connor Hughes of The Athletic says the Jets should pursue former Saints guard Larry Warford, who was released by New Orleans earlier this month. Hughes believes Warford would represent an upgrade over incumbent RG Brian Winters — whose release would create a cap savings of $7MM — but he does not get the sense the Jets are interested. Warford does not fit the mold of the athletic, quick O-linemen that head coach Adam Gase wants in his system.
  • Hughes also notes that while the Jets are definitely interested in free agent corner Logan Ryan, Ryan will have to come off his current $10MM/year ask in order to reach an accord with Gang Green. We recently heard that New York believes it will sign Ryan, and it seems as if no team is willing to touch the $10MM sticker price at this point.
  • The Patriots have a talented crop of undrafted free agents, and their UDFA wideouts are particularly intriguing. Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes Miami product Jeff Thomas has the best chance to make the team, though Will Hastings — who received a salary guarantee of $57.5K and who served as Jarrett Stidham‘s slot receiver at Auburn — also has a good shot.

NFL To Vote On Major Rule Changes

The NFL figures to look mighty different in 2020. On Tuesday, owners will vote on the following rule proposals, per a press release from the league office: 

  • From the Eagles: An alternative to the onside kick, that would allow the trailing team a chance to keep the ball after scoring by going for it on a 4th-and-15 play from the kicking team’s 25-yard line. As Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) notes, this is similar to the rule used by the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.
  • From the Eagles: A permanent expansion of automatic replay to including “scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful/ unsuccessful try attempt.”
  • From the Dolphins: Give the defense the option to have the clock to start on the referee’s signal, if the defense declines an offensive penalty late in the first or second half.
  • From the Ravens and Chargers: The addition of a “booth umpire” as well as the addition of a “Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee” to assist officials.
  • Increased “defenseless player protection” for a kick or punt returner who is “in possession of the ball but who has not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.” (from the Competition Committee)
  • Cutting down on game clock manipulation by disallowing “multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.” (from the Competition Committee)

The Eagles’ proposed amendment to the league’s onside kick is the boldest of the bunch, and support is growing among owners, Pelissero hears (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Ravens/Chargers idea for a “sky judge” also has momentum (Twitter link). Either way, Pelissero gets the sense that some version of that concept will be tested in the preseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Receiving Calls About QB Josh Rosen’s Availability

The Dolphins’ quarterbacks depth chart is plenty crowded, and other teams have apparently caught on. NFL Network’s Michael Giardi reports that Miami has received calls regarding quarterback Josh Rosen‘s availability (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com).

The front office is reportedly in “no hurry” to make a trade, and Williams opines that the organization hasn’t received an offer to their liking.

Rosen, the 10th-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, has struggled to find a home in the NFL. The Cardinals moved him to Miami last offseason after they opted for Kyler Murray with the first-overall pick. Rosen found himself playing behind Ryan Fitzpatrick during much of his first season in Miami, and he’s fallen further down the depth chart after the Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth-overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Dolphins gave up a second-rounder to acquire Rosen last offseason, but it’s unlikely they’d be able to recoup that value in another trade. The quarterback has gone only 3-13 as a starter during his brief career, completing 54.8-percent of his passes for 2,845 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.

We heard back in February that the 23-year-old could end up sticking around Miami, but that was before the organization used their top pick on a quarterback. For what it’s worth, it sounds like Rosen is optimistic about his future in the NFL, even if that means being a temporary backup.

I’m very encouraged just in general day to day, in how I’ve developed and watching Fitz do his thing,” Rosen said in December, some time after losing his starting job. “It’s not really the window is opened and closed like that. But there’s a sense of understanding time and opportunity. I’m aware of it, but it’s all for you guys to write about more than for me to worry about. Opportunities will come and I’ll try to seize them.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tua, Fitz, Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick is “really excited” to have Tua Tagovailoa in the Dolphins‘ locker room, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. He gushed about the Alabama product in a chat with former Bills teammate Eric Woods, though he’s not quite ready to pass the torch as the team’s starting quarterback.

I also want to be out there playing,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also want to be on the field. And that’s why I’m still doing it, because I still enjoy playing the gameHopefully some of the lessons I’m able to teach him are from him watching me play. But if it’s the other way around, I’m going to do my best to help him succeed in the best way he can.”

Ultimately, the Dolphins will do what’s best for business, but Fitzpatrick may have a leg up on the rookie, thanks to his relationship with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Chan and I have worked together for three years … He’s the guy who has given me the longest leash in my career in terms of being able to do things,” Fitzpatrick said. “And I trust him completely, and he has ultimate trust in me as well. This will be a little bit different in that if I’m out there playing there’s going to be a little bit longer leash because of the history we have together.”

Here’s more from the AFC East:

Tagovailoa, Brown Have Offset Language

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown have offset language in their contracts, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. So far, they’re the only two first-round picks to have their deals in place, so that’s an indication most of the Top 32 will follow suit. 

Rookie contracts for NFL draft picks are cut-and-dry, for the most part, thanks to the slotting system. However, offset language is usually the biggest barrier to an agreement. If a player with offset language is released midway through the contract and signs elsewhere, the original team is only on the hook for the difference in salary between the two deals. Without offset language, the player can effectively collect two paychecks. Naturally, agents try to preserve that potential earning power while owners push back.

Breer expects just about every first-round pick to make the same concession, except for Jaguars first-round picks C.J. Henderson (No. 9 overall) and K’Lavon Chaisson (No. 20 overall). Historically, the Jaguars have not pushed offsets on players, but most teams do. It would only make sense for teams to insist on offsets, particularly following this truly unprecedented evaluation period. In essence, offset language serves as a bit of insurance against the possibility of a draft bust.

On the whole, the Dolphins are excited about Tagovailoa’s potential, despite his surgically-repaired hip and other past issues on his medical chart. In accordance with his slot at No. 5 overall, he’ll make just over $30MM over the course of a four-year deal. Brown, meanwhile, is set to make just under $24MM over the course of his four year deal with the Panthers. As first round picks, both deals will include fifth-year options. They’ll also come with a bit of extra protection, thanks to the offset language included within.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.