Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins Cooling On Tua, Warming Up To Justin Herbert?

The Dolphins have been heavily connected to Tua Tagovailoa for months, but they’re far from locked in on him. The Dolphins have concerns about Tagovailoa’s ability to recover from his serious hip injury and, beyond that, they’re worried about his long-term durability, sources tell Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. At the same time, they’ve been drawn more and more to Oregon star Justin Herbert, sources say.

[RELATED: Charges Against Dolphins’ Xavien Howard Dropped]

Even owner Stephen Ross has spoken on the record about Tagovailoa’s question marks. It’s a debate that will take place in the front office of any team considering the quarterback – had he stayed healthy, Tagovailoa likely would have been the consensus No. 1 overall pick. Now, teams need to take a close inspection of his hip and also weigh the effects of his previous ankle injuries.

With the No. 5 pick, the Dolphins could have every QB available to choose from, with the exception of LSU’s Joe Burrow. Their concerns about Tagovailoa could lead them to Herbert, who boasts arm strength, size (he stands at 6’6″; one inch taller than Ben Roethlisberger), and the ability to escape pressure in a collapsing pocket.

By the same token, Tagovailoa has been the much more accurate passer of the two and has demonstrated superior field vision. The latest news doesn’t mean that the Dolphins will select Herbert at No. 5 overall, but it’s a strong reminder that draft plans are far from settled in February.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Charges Against Dolphins’ Xavien Howard Dropped

The domestic battery charge against Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has been dropped, as ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe writes. Howard will not face jail time for the late December incident, but NFL discipline remains possible. 

[RELATED: Dolphins Sign WR Ricardo Louis To Extension]

According to the police report, a verbal argument between Howard and his fiancee allegedly turned physical when he grabbed her arm and shoved her against a mirrored wall. Then, cops say, she fell on her right arm when Howard let her go.

On the heels of a Pro Bowl campaign, Howard inked a five-year, $76.5MM deal with the Dolphins last spring. After nabbing an NFL-high seven interceptions in just 12 games, Howard saw his 2019 season cut short by a knee injury.

Howard, at the very least, will not be facing legal consequences for the alleged event. Still, the NFL is expected to conduct a full investigation on the incident, which could lead to a suspension at the start of the 2020 season.

This year, Howard is slated to count for a $13.325MM charge against the Dolphins’ cap. His position-leading deal is set to run through 2024, his age-31 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign WR Ricardo Louis To Extension

The Dolphins re-signed wide receiver Ricardo Louis to a one-year extension to take him through the 2020 season, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Louis missed the last two seasons due to neck and knee injuries, but he won’t turn 26 until March and the Dolphins believe in his talent. 

Louis entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Browns back in 2016. As a rookie, he hauled in 18 grabs for 205 yards. In 2017, he took another step forward with 27 catches for 357 yards.

The Dolphins signed Louis as a free agent last April, but he never got the opportunity to suit up for his new team. He’ll get a shot to stick this year, though the competition will be fierce. Already, the Dolphins’ WR room has DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford, Albert Wilson, Gary Jennings, and Mack Hollins. On the plus side, the Dolphins recognize that they’re deeper at wide receiver than most other positions and they’re not planning on using a high pick to add another.

The Dolphins will, however, scope out a quarterback with their No. 5 overall pick. They’ve been linked to Tom Brady quite a bit in recent days, but it doesn’t sound like Tom Terrific will be taking his talents to South Beach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Rumors: Draft, Howard, WR

The Dolphins have lots and lots of holes to fill this offseason, but they’re more or less set at wide receiver, a league source tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Currently, the Dolphins have DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Allen Hurns, Jakeem GrantIsaiah Ford, and Albert Wilson on the WR depth chart, though they’ll likely ask Wilson to restructure his deal, Jackson writes. There’s others in the mix, too, including Gary Jennings – who didn’t really get a chance to show his stuff in Miami thanks to a season-ending injury – and former Eagle Mack Hollins. Given their depth at the position, Jackson doesn’t see the Dolphins using a Day 1 or 2 pick on a receiver.

Some have wondered about the team’s need at WR after Williams suffered an ACL tear in November. However, Williams says he’ll be good to go for the 2020 season, giving him an opportunity to build off of his strong eight-game showing. Before his early exit, Williams caught 32 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Grant will also be ready to roll for OTAs, so they have plenty of options from which to choose.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Cornerback, meanwhile, is a higher priority. Jackson hears that the Dolphins are intent on addressing the position in free agency and/or the first two days of the draft. The Dolphins still plan to move forward with Xavien Howard, but they are looking to find him a suitable partner that can step up if Howard is suspended for his late December arrest. Rising NFL sophomore Nik Needham could be part of the solution, but he’s still green. The Dolphins believe that they can use their ample cap room and draft stockpile to fortify, and improve, at corner.
  • Frank Gore will turn 37 in May, but he’s not ready to give up football. After wrapping up his one-year deal with the Bills, the veteran recently said that he wouldn’t mind returning to the Dolphins as a free agent this offseason. Since entering the league in 2005, Gore has amassed more than 15,000 rushing yards with 79 touchdowns on the ground and 18 more scores through the air. Last year, he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in Buffalo, but continued to show his durability as he appeared in all 16 games.
  • Speaking of 37-year-olds, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has confirmed that he’ll return in 2020. The Dolphins are happy to have him back and plan to pair him with a young QB to be groomed for the future.

Dolphins Unlikely To Make Strong Push For Tom Brady

Will Tom Brady join up with the Dolphins this offseason? Owner Stephen Ross says that’s not likely to happen. 

We’re a team that’s building, and I don’t know why he’d really want to come to the Dolphins,” Ross said recently (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). “He’s been one of the fiercest competitors there is and we’re at the stage with the Dolphins trying to really build a team for the future,” Ross said.

That’s more or less what you’d expect to hear from an owner who doesn’t want to deal with tampering accusations, but Jackson hears that Ross was telling the truth – he’s not expecting Brady to walk through that door and the Dolphins are unlikely to make a strong push for him.

For the last couple of weeks, there has been increasing buzz about the future Hall of Famer taking his talents to South Beach. The theory goes something like this: Brady is close to Bruce Beal, a business partner of Stephen Ross. Beal holds an option to buy the Dolphins from Ross and could, in turn, sell a minority stake in the team to Brady. Brady, potentially, could boost the value of the club in his twilight years by playing in Miami, but Ross, 79, says he plans on being the Dolphins’ owner for the rest of his life.

The Dolphins might not build their offseason around a Brady pursuit, but the Raiders are expected to make a strong push for him and there’s also buzz around the possibility of the Chargers making a play for him as Philip Rivers nears free agency. Meanwhile, the incumbent Patriots are prepared to pay Brady upwards of $30MM/year on his next contract, if he’s willing to stay.

Brady, 43 in August, completed just 60.8% of his throws last year – his lowest success rate since 2013. His 88.0 QB rating wasn’t anything to write home about, either, though he still managed to throw for 4,057 yards with 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions.

2020 Draft Order

Super Bowl LIV is in the books, which means the order for the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is set. By virtue of their 31-20 win Sunday night, the Chiefs will have the final pick in the first round. The 49ers dropping to 5-2 in Super Bowls will result in the NFC champions approaching the podium at No. 31.

Here is the full first-round order:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

29. Titans (9-7)

30. Packers (13-3)

31. 49ers (13-3)

32. Chiefs (12-4)

Jakeem Grant Will Be Ready For OTAs

Frank Gore Wants To Return For 16th Season

Frank Gore has authored one of the more remarkable careers in modern NFL history, and the player who now sits third on the league’s all-time rushing list is still not ready to retire.

The 36-year-old running back is once again a free agent, after his one-year Bills deal led to a playoff appearance. Rather than pause on exploring his next opportunity to consider retirement, Gore will explore his options on the market.

I want to play,” Gore said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I feel I showed people I can play when I got my opportunities. Just seeing if a team wants me.”

Gore reached one-year agreements with the Dolphins and Bills in 2018 and ’19, respectively. Although the rebuilding Dolphins moved on from him, Gore said he would welcome a return to his native Miami for the 2020 season, per Jackson. Gore will turn 37 in May.

The Bills gave Gore a key role for much of the season, starting him in eight games and keeping him in their rotation throughout the season. He gained a season-high 109 rushing yards against the Patriots in Week 4 and surpassed Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list. The future Hall of Famer trails only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton now. However, Gore averaged a career-worst 3.6 yards per carry — after a 4.6 YPC season in Miami — and has now logged 3,548 career carries. That ranks third all time. Excluding Adrian Peterson, Gore has totaled over 1,000 more carries than any other active back who played a full 2019 season.

Since the merger, Marcus Allen is the only running back (non-fullback) to play an age-37 season. Gore’s carry total already surpasses Allen’s by 500, but the former 49ers Pro Bowler’s pattern of landing work and continued durability (two missed games over the past nine seasons) since leaving San Francisco point to a 16th season being in play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins' Owner Expresses Concern Over Tua's Hip

There’s been a lot of buzz about former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa going to the Dolphins in the draft. We heard recently that the southpaw’s family wanted Miami to nab him, and there’s been a connection there for a while. Tagovailoa is obviously dealing with a serious hip injury, and it’s clearly a concern for the Dolphins. Miami’s owner Stephen Ross spoke to reporters earlier today and said “he’s a great player. I just worry about his health,” per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That would seem to indicate Tagovailoa to the ‘Phins is far from a done deal. We heard a couple of weeks ago that Miami wanted Joe Burrow, and that they were willing trade up to go get him. Of course, this all could be some gamesmanship from Ross to throw other teams off the scent. Despite the injury, Tagovailoa will reportedly throw for scouts in a private workout at some point before the draft. That workout will go a long way toward determining where he goes in the draft.