Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins’ Andrew Van Ginkel To Return From IR

The Dolphins have designated rookie linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel to return from injured reserve, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Van Ginkel suffered a foot injury during the preseason that sidelined him until now.

Van Ginkel will become the second and final Miami player designated to return from IR this year, joining offensive tackle Julien Davenport, who was designated for return in late October but hasn’t yet officially returned to practice. Because NFL teams are only allowed to bring two players off injured reserve, other injured Dolphins like cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter, are officially done for the season.

Van Ginkel, 24, spent the final two years of his collegiate career at Wisconsin after originally playing at both South Dakota and Iowa Western Community College. In his two years as a Badger, Van Ginkel appeared in 26 games, posting 98 tackles, 12 sacks, and two interceptions during that time. In Van Ginkel’s pre-draft profile, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said the 6’4″, 234-pounder plays with “consistent energy” but can also be “manhandled” by opposing offensive tackles.

Because he was placed on IR shortly after initial 53-man rosters were set, Van Ginkel has yet to make his NFL debut. When he does, he’ll likely play in a reserve and special teams role behind Dolphins starting outside linebackers Charles Harris and Samuel Eguavoen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/13/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: C Nate Trewyn

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

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Broncos, Dolphins To Attend Colin Kaepernick Workout

When Colin Kaepernick works out for NFL teams on Saturday in Atlanta, the Dolphins and Broncos will be among the teams in attendance (Twitter links via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Mike Klis of 9News). The Cowboys and many other clubs are expected to attend the audition, which is open to all 32 clubs. 

The Dolphins’ interest in Kaepernick makes plenty of sense, given their uncertainty at the quarterback position for 2020 and beyond. It seems unlikely that anything could stop the Dolphins from selecting a quarterback high in the 2020 draft, but Kaep could be an intriguing option to consider.

The Broncos could also use a QB, though their interest in Kaepernick is puzzling, given the history between him and GM John Elway. The Broncos attempted to trade for Kaepernick in 2016, but the deal fell apart when Kaepernick declined the Broncos’ proposed pay cut. When asked about the near deal in 2018, Elway seemed to close the door the former 49ers star.

He had his chance to be here,” Elway said. He passed it.

After that, Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos alleged that Elway violated the gag order issued in Kaepernick‘s collusion case with his comments.

Mr. Elway, clearly he violated the protective order that the NFL has been wielding like a club at me,” Geragos said on his podcast. “And he’s apparently suffering from some real brain trauma.”

Now, in 2019, the Broncos are at least curious enough to send a scout to watch Kaepernick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gronkowski, Darnold, Folk, Dolphins

It’s no secret that the Patriots have been searching for a weapon to replace the production they received from now retired tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wide receivers Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown both looked like solutions at various points earlier in the season, but neither remain on New England’s roster. However, it appears the team’s owner Robert Kraft still hopes to get Gronkowski back on the field.

When Gronkowski was cleaning out his locker after announcing his retirement in March, Kraft told him the team would remain hopeful that he would return late in the season for another playoff run, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While it has been known that the organization hoped Gronkowski would change his mind, no one had reported Kraft’s involvement.

Rapoport notes in his story that, according to sources, Gronkowski remains content with his decision, but if he wants to return this season he has to decide soon. The deadline for retired players to return during the season and play is November 30. New England will obviously plan ahead without him, but they surely will be hoping for a change of heart.

Here more from around the AFC East:

  • Kicker Nick Folk has meshed into the Patriots locker room well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Folk already knew the man he replaced, Stephen Gostkowski, and offensive lineman Joe Thuney and Ted Karras. All four had been enrolled in some of the same classes as they worked toward master’s degrees in past offseasons. Folk was signed after Gostkowski suffered a torn labrum in his left hip. Reiss also notes that Folk suffered the same injury in 2009 and could offer Gostkowski valuable insight during his recovery.
  • Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is “taking charge” in the locker room, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. After Darnold’s poor performances against both the Jaguars and Patriots, he has become more assertive in meetings with the coaching staff. Cimini reports that Darnold had previously been very deferential to head coach Adam Gase, but now offers feedback and his own opinion more readily.
  • NFL draft experts and scouts were watching this weeks game between LSU and Alabama closely. The Dolphins sent an especially large contingent, which included two scouts and general manager Chris Grier, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Miami has long been tied to Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through the #Tank4Tua trend. However, even if Miami does have the top pick in the draft, some experts are beginning to place LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow above Tagovailoa. It appears Miami’s top brass got an up-close look at both players on Saturday.

Dolphins Offered Reshad Jones To Steelers Before Minkah Fitzpatrick Trade

The Dolphins were shopping veteran safety Reshad Jones this summer, and the Steelers, who had made it clear to rival teams that they were in the market for secondary help, were an obvious match. As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, Miami did indeed attempt to deal Jones to Pittsburgh at the start of the season.

However, the Steelers said they preferred Minkah Fitzpatrick, though the Dolphins initially suggested Fitzpatrick was not going to be moved. Of course, Miami quickly changed its stance in that regard and said it would deal Fitzpatrick if a first-rounder was included in the trade.

La Canfora says several teams were willing to meet the Dolphins’ asking price, but Miami chose Pittsburgh’s offer because it believed the Steelers’ 2020 first-rounder would be higher than those of the other suitors. Of course, that may not turn out to be the case, as Fitzpatrick has provided a jolt to the Steelers’ defense and has helped Pittsburgh (4-4) climb back into the AFC playoff picture.

Fitzpatrick was publicly unhappy with the way he was being deployed in Miami, but he and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin established from the beginning that the Alabama product would be used in a centerfielder role that would highlight his playmaking abilities. And Fitzpatrick has certainly made plays, recording four interceptions in his six games in the Steel City, including a critical pick-six in Pittsburgh’s win over the Colts last week.

Jones, meanwhile, is under contract with the Dolphins through 2022, and while he indicated he is open to staying with Miami through its rebuild, the Fins may choose to cut bait this offseason to save about $5.5MM against the cap, even though they would incur a big dead money charge by doing so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Former NFL DT Earl Mitchell Retires

Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell has announced his retirement from the NFL after nine seasons, as he announced on his Instagram.

“I thought that I would be sad when I decided to let go of something I’ve loved for so long. I feel grateful to walk away with no regrets knowing I gave it my all. After 9 great years, I’m officially retiring from the National Football League. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Since 2002 I’ve dedicated my life to this game. When I first stepped into the locker room at North Shore, I decided to put my all into learning something that I knew nothing about. If it wasn’t for this game I would have never been able to achieve my original dream of going to and graduating college. I’m extremely proud of my career and I appreciate all of those who have supported me along the way.”

A third-round pick out of Arizona in 2010, Mitchell spent the first four years of his career with the Texans before inking a four-year, $16MM deal with the Dolphins in 2014. After three seasons in Miami, another four-year deal followed, this time with the 49ers. Mitchell played in San Francisco for two years before getting released.

Mitchell briefly latched on with the Seahawks this summer, and may have still been able to draw free agent interest, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports the 32-year-old still had some suitors (Twitter link). Instead, Mitchell will hang up his cleats having appeared in 130 career games (66 starts) and collected more than $23MM in career earnings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/19

Today’s minor moves:

Miami Dolphins

  • Claimed off waivers (Seahawks): WR Gary Jennings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted from practice squad: DE Kahzin Daniels

Dolphins Won’t Activate Cordrea Tankersley

The Dolphins will not activate cornerback Cordrea Tankersley from the physically unable to perform list by today’s deadline, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Tankersley suffered a torn ACL just over a year ago and has been working his way back to full health ever since. The 2017 third-round pick came back to practice in October, opening a three-week window during which Miami had to either activate Tankersley or keep him on PUP for the remainder of the year. After assessing his progress, the Dolphins have decided on the latter option.

A Clemson product, Tankersley became a starter in Week 4 of his rookie campaign and ended up starting for the rest of the season. The results weren’t great, however: among the 93 cornerbacks who played at least 500 defensive snaps in 2017, Tankersley ranked just 79th in Pro Football Focus’ grades. In 2018, Tankersley spent most of his time on special teams before tearing his ACL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/5/19

Today’s workout notes:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • OL Brandon Hitner

Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/5/19

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: CB Marcus Sherels, RB De’Lance Turner (off Ravens’ practice squad)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Activated from PUP: G Phil Haynes
  • Waived: WR Gary Jennings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers