Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins Sign T Jermaine Eluemunor

Former Patriots offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor will migrate to another AFC East team. The Dolphins agreed to terms with the veteran tackle Monday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. They waived tackle Timon Parris to clear a roster spot.

Eluemunor spent the past two seasons in New England but was not with the team during Brian Flores‘ Foxborough tenure. The Pats used Eluemunor as a starter in 2020 but made other moves at the position this offseason. Eluemunor was part of the veteran contingent to visit the Broncos after Ja’Wuan James‘ injury, but he did not land the gig. The 26-year-old blocker will instead try to make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.

New England deployed Eluemunor as a first-stringer in eight games last season. Marcus Cannon‘s opt-out and Isaiah Wynn‘s latest injury trouble depleted the Pats at tackle, and Eluemunor also saw action inside. The Pats, however, picked up Wynn’s fifth-year option and reacquired Trent Brown via trade. Brown is set to play right tackle in his second New England stay.

The Dolphins have a slightly younger tackle group. Austin Jackson is set to return as Miami’s top left tackle, and the team drafted Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg in the second round. The Dolphins are moving 2020 right tackle Robert Hunt to guard. Eluemunor, Jesse Davis and D.J. Fluker represent veteran options for an O-line that could be one of the NFL’s youngest.

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This Date In Transactions History: Texans Extend Benardrick McKinney

Today marks the three-year anniversary of Benardrick McKinney‘s five-year, $50MM extension with the Texans. If you forgot to get the inside linebacker a gift, that’s alright. He probably doesn’t need much in the way of gadgets and home furnishings for his new Miami-area pad. 

McKinney, a 2015 second-round pick out of Mississippi State, emerged as one of the Texans’ top defenders in his sophomore NFL season. He was solid as a rookie, but as a second-team All-Pro nod in 2016, he finished out with 129 tackles, five sacks, and a forced fumble, ensuring that he would see a sizable pay bump in the offseason. His 2017 stat sheet wasn’t quite as gaudy – 95 tackles and three sacks – but he was still impressive and placed as Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 ranked linebacker in the NFL.

Because he was a second-round pick, the Texans didn’t have the fifth-year option as a safety net. By 2018, McKinney was set to enter his walk year, when he could potentially send his sticker price through the roof. McKinney, meanwhile, was 25 and wanted the security of a multi-year deal. It was the right time for both parties to come to the table and the Texans were happy to oblige. The deal also gave them a clearer picture of their budget as they considered an extension for Jadeveon Clowney (though they ultimately couldn’t make it work).

McKinney went on to earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 and racked up 100+ tackles again in 2019. Last year, however, a shoulder injury limited him to just four games. Then, the Texans were in a bit of a pickle as they had to replace franchise icon J.J. Watt. Earlier this year, they shipped McKinney to the Dolphins for edge rusher Shaq Lawson. In cap terms, the deal was pretty much a wash. But, on the field, the Texans effectively swapped Watt and McKinney for Lawson and newcomer Christian Kirksey.

Now, McKinney is set to start alongside Jerome Baker, who just landed a sizable extension of his own. When McKinney was at his best, he formed one of the league’s best run-stuffing tandems with Zach Cunningham. This Dolphins duo has the potential to be even better, if McKinney can match Baker’s strides in pass coverage.

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Dolphins To Extend Jerome Baker

The Dolphins and Jerome Baker have agreed to an extension (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The linebacker is now inked for another three years at a max value of $39MM. The deal includes $28.4MM guaranteed, though it’s not clear how much of that is fully guaranteed at signing. 

Just recently, Baker told reporters that the Dolphins “haven’t really” approached him about a new contract this offseason. Apparently, he was playing coy. Baker has quietly turned himself into a solid starting linebacker for the Dolphins, averaging 119 stops over the past two seasons. He also showed a knack for pass rushing last year, compiling seven sacks. Now, he has a contract to match his performance.

Previously, Baker was set to make $2.433MM in 2021. His new deal gives him an average annual value of $13MM/year, ahead of fellow ‘Fins inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney. In terms of new money, Baker now ranks as one of the ten highest-paid ILBs in the NFL.

The Dolphins believe in Baker, though he did miss ten tackles last year while ranking as a middle-of-the-pack LB, per Pro Football focus. Still, the Dolphins are clearly encouraged by his evolving coverage and pass rushing skills.

I definitely look myself in the mirror and know what I need to do to get better,” Baker said earlier this month (via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald). “For me, locking in on the run game, being one of those linebackers that secures the inside, not just in the pass game but in the run game.”

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No Contract Talks Between Dolphins, LB Jerome Baker

2018 third-rounder Jerome Baker has quietly turned himself into a solid starting linebacker for the Dolphins. He has averaged 119 tackles over the past two seasons, and he even displayed some real pass-rushing chops in 2020, compiling seven sacks.

The Ohio State product is entering the final year of his rookie deal, but it doesn’t sound as if there have been any substantive contract talks between player and team at this point. When asked if the Dolphins had approached him about a long-term accord, Baker said, “I guess? We haven’t really talked about anything. We’re just going into this year” (via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald).

Baker is due to earn $2.433MM in 2021, though he would surely love a multi-year deal with an eight-figure average annual value. His new running mate at inside linebacker, Benardrick McKinney, has a $10MM AAV — which positions him just outside the top-10 for ILBs — and given Baker’s performance to date and potential for further growth, that seems like a fair starting point in negotiations.

Still, Baker understands that there are things he can work on. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics painted him as a fairly average defender in 2020, and he received a subpar 47.4 mark in run defense. As Beasley points out, Baker missed 10 tackles last season, though those deficiencies were largely counterbalanced by his improvements in coverage and the pass rush.

“I definitely look myself in the mirror and know what I need to do to get better,” Baker said. “For me, locking in on the run game, being one of those linebackers that secures the inside, not just in the pass game but in the run game.”

He added that he would be perfectly content to continue his career in South Beach. “I want to play here the rest of my career. I love it here. I love the fans, I love the organization. I love everyone here. I can definitely see myself playing here a long time. … The contract stuff’s the contract stuff. I really don’t care for that right now.”

We heard earlier this year that it could be extension-or-bust for Baker and the Dolphins, as the club is unlikely to use the franchise tag on him in 2022.

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This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Sign Chad Johnson

In the summer of 2012, the Dolphins were less-than-enamored with their options at wide receiver. The Dolphins had just recently traded Brandon Marshall – fresh off of his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season – to the Bears for a pair of third-round picks. Then, in the draft, they did not select a wide receiver until the sixth round. 

‘‘You would like to have some players make it easy and distinguish themselves, maybe make the picture a little bit clearer,’’ head coach Joe Philbin said (via The Boston Globe). ‘‘We have to catch the ball more consistently at every position on offense, because it is not quite where it needs to be.’’

After missing out on the first and second wave of free agent wide receivers, the Dolphins placed a call to Drew Rosenhaus to inquire on Chad Ochocinco (née Chad Johnson). On June 11, 2012, the Dolphins inked the eccentric veteran to a one-year deal.

Ochocinco’s career credentials were as impressive as his touchdown celebrations were inventive. To that point, he had 766 catches for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns, six Pro Bowl nods, and two First-Team All-Pro selections.

However, the receiver’s best days were spent with the Bengals and he looked like a shell of his former self with the Patriots in the 2011 season. In his lone campaign with New England, Johnson had just 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown and was targeted just 32 times in total. Johnson clearly didn’t mesh with the Patriots’ offense and he didn’t impress in his two intra-divisional games against the Dolphins either. Against Miami, he had just one catch in each of those two games.

Ochocinco – who changed his name back to Johnson shortly after signing with Miami – didn’t mesh with Philbin and the rest of the staff. The melding of personalities turned out to be the least of his issues. In August, Johnson was arrested on domestic battery charges. Johnson proclaimed his innocence, but the Dolphins released him the very next day. Thanks to “Hard Knocks,” we have video of Philbin’s final conversation with Johnson.

Johnson’s deal with the Dolphins up being his final NFL contract. Johnson went on to play for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 2014 and was suspended for the 2015 season when he skipped mandatory practices. He re-emerged in 2017 to play in a single game for the Monterrey Fundidores of the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional de México, where he scored on a 41-yard touchdown reception in the Fundidores’ winning effort.

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Dolphins Sign First-Round DE Jaelan Phillips

The Dolphins have their other first-round pick under wraps. After quickly signing Jaylen Waddle in mid-May, they’ve now inked the 18th overall pick from that weekend.

Miami has signed defensive end Jaelan Phillips to his rookie contract, the team announced Wednesday. A Miami product, Phillips won’t have to move very far to start his pro career. A decorated recruit out of high school, Phillips started his college career at UCLA and was very highly regarded. Unfortunately concussions and other injuries caused him to medically retire from football in 2018, before he reversed course and returned to play at Miami last year.

Phillips was a second-team All-American for the Hurricanes last season, as he finished with 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 10 games. Scouts were very high on his talent, although there were naturally some concerns about his medicals.

Clearly teams felt comfortable enough, as he was a consensus first-rounder entering the draft. It’s often been stated that had it not been for his medical issues at UCLA, he would’ve been a top-ten pick.

The Dolphins don’t have a ton at edge rusher after cutting Kyle Van Noy this offseason, so Phillips should see a lot of immediate playing time if he’s ready. Miami now has four of their seven picks locked up.

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Details On Jason McCourty's Fins Deal, Role

  • The Dolphins added Jason McCourty early this month. The veteran cornerback is expected to play a key depth role in Miami, and Brian Flores said (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald) some work at safety is possible for the three-year Patriots corner starter. McCourty saw most of his snaps at corner in 2020 but did work as a safety on 75 plays. The Dolphins let Bobby McCain go this offseason but have ex-Pats corner Eric Rowe and second-rounder Jevon Holland at safety. As for McCourty’s compensation, Jackson adds the 33-year-old defender signed for the veteran minimum. His base salary is nearly fully guaranteed, with OverTheCap noting McCourty is locked into $987K of that $1.1MM figure.

Tua Tagovailoa: Hip Feels ’10 Times Better’ Than In 2020

Had Tua Tagovailoa‘s November 2019 hip injury not occurred, the 2020 draft may have played out differently. But the Dolphins still selected the prized Alabama prospect fifth overall. Tagovailoa battled inconsistency as a rookie, however.

The young southpaw quarterback acknowledged Wednesday he dealt with hip pain during his rookie season. Tagovailoa added (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Safid Deen, on Twitter) his hip feels “10 times better” than it did last season.

Tua is now 18 months removed from the right hip dislocation that ended his Crimson Tide career. The 23-year-old passer said he has been able to go through an extensive full-body strength regimen this offseason, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, whereas his 2020 offseason consisted largely of medical exams and rehab. The Dolphins passed Tua on a physical last February, and he continued to trend in the right direction ahead of the season. Despite owner Stephen Ross being concerned about Tagovailoa’s health, Brian Flores promoted him to the starting role in mid-October — less than 11 months after the hip injury.

Tagovailoa ranked 26th in Total QBR as a rookie — behind No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and well behind No. 6 choice Justin Herbert — and was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick on multiple occasions. The second-year QB now admits his playbook comprehension left a bit to be desired.

Last year, for me, I wasn’t as comfortable just in general. I wasn’t comfortable calling plays,” Tagovailoa said, via ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe. “I just didn’t have the comfortability of checking plays, alerting plays. I just rode with the play, even if I knew it wasn’t going to work. I was going to try to make it work.

I didn’t actually know the playbook, necessarily, really, really good, and that’s no one else’s fault but my fault. Our play calls were simple when I was in. I didn’t have alerts and checks. Where now, I feel comfortable and I can maneuver my way through these things.”

Though they were loosely connected to Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins equipped Tagovailoa with new wideouts Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. With Fitzpatrick now in Washington, Tagovailoa will have the chance to start 17 games. Though the Dolphins are expected to push for the playoffs, inviting more scrutiny on their quarterback, he will almost certainly be in better position to succeed in 2021.

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Melvin Ingram To Visit Dolphins

Melvin Ingram‘s market has been quiet, but it looks like things could be heating up. The free agent pass-rusher is visiting with the Dolphins on Monday, a source told Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald.

Ingram visited with the Chiefs back on March 20th, and this is the first we’ve heard about him since. Miami has made overhauling their edge rushing group a priority this offseason, cutting Kyle Van Noy and then drafting Jaelan Phillips in the first-round last month. The Chargers drafted Ingram 18th overall back in 2012, and he spent his first nine seasons with the team.

Ingram had a lot of success with the Chargers, making three straight Pro Bowls from 2017-19. He struggled with injuries early in his career, but became a late bloomer and eventually formed one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league next to Joey Bosa.

Unfortunately his run of good health came to an end this past year, when multiple knee injuries limited him to seven games. After finishing with at least seven sacks in each of his previous five seasons, he had zero last year. Now 32 and coming off an injury plagued year, it’s not shocking his market has been slow to develop.

As Beasley points out, it’s not even clear if he’s 100 percent healthy since there hasn’t been much reporting on his knee. Either way, Ingram was a Pro Bowler just two seasons ago, and the South Carolina product could be a nice veteran presence for a young team. He was a vocal leader on the Chargers the past few seasons.

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Raiders, Dolphins Tried To Claim Geron Christian

On Friday, the Texans claimed former Washington left tackle Geron Christian. But, they weren’t the only team to submit a claim for him. Had the WFT passed, Christian would have joined the Raiders (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). The Dolphins also submitted a claim on the 2018 third-rounder.

Christian was less-than-stellar in D.C., but quality tackles are hard to come by at this stage of the offseason. He’s also on the final year of his low-cost rookie year deal, making him an affordable pickup for teams in need. That was a definite selling point for the Texans, who have spent most of their offseason inking free agents to short-term contracts.

The 6-foot-6 blocker has played in 24 games over the course of his pro career, which started as a reserve behind Trent Williams. Injuries have held Christian up along the way, including an MCL tear as a rookie. Last year, Christian saw just six games and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 60 ranked tackle in the league. On Friday, Washington brought an end to Christian’s tenure while also dropping the durable Morgan Moses.

Now, Washington has new options in rookie Samuel Cosmi and veteran Charles Leno. The Texans are well covered with Laremy Tunsil, Tytus Howard, Marcus Cannon, and Christian. Meanwhile, the Raiders and Dolphins will continue to search for outside protectors.

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