Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins LB Vince Biegel Signs RFA Tender

Vince Biegel will play next season under the RFA tender. The restricted free agent linebacker signed his deal with the Dolphins today (per the team’s Twitter account). Biegel will earn around $2.13MM next season.

We heard back in January that the two sides were working on a long-term, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets that that was indeed the case. However, the two sides couldn’t agree to terms, resulting in today’s transaction. Biegel was initially tendered at his original-round level by the Dolphins back in March.

The 2017 fourth-round pick spent his first two professional seasons in a backup role for the Packers and Saints. Prior to the start of the 2019 regular season, he was traded to Miami for Kiko Alonso, and he proceeded to have the best season of his career. The 26-year-old established career-highs across the board, finishing with 59 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception in 15 games (10 starts).

Biegel isn’t the first restricted free agent to sign his tender with the Dolphins. Last week, punter Matt Haack inked his new deal with Miami.

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FIU QB James Morgan Drawing Interest

FIU quarterback James Morgan is starting to generate some buzz as we get closer to draft day, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Morgan made his way onto our site for the first time today, when we wrote that the Patriots have shown some interest, and New England is not the only team sniffing around.

Per Wilson, a number of clubs are closely vetting Morgan, though COVID-19 restrictions obviously mean that he can’t visit teams or work out privately for them. Wilson’s sources say that in addition to the Patriots, the Packers, Bears, Colts, Raiders, Giants, Bills, Jets, and Dolphins are among the teams intrigued by Morgan.

It is not surprising to see most of the teams on that list. New England, of course, is in the market for a collegiate passer after watching Tom Brady sign with the Buccaneers, and the Dolphins have long been connected to this year’s top rookie QBs. The Raiders, Bears, and Colts have varying degrees of long-term uncertainty at the quarterback position, and the Packers had planned to host the best QB prospects before pre-draft visits were cancelled (Morgan is actually a Green Bay native, and the Packers may be starting to prepare for life without Aaron Rodgers).

Meanwhile, all three New York outfits seem to have a long-term solution under center already, although none of their incumbents are sure things at the moment. And given that Morgan is a mid- to late-round prospect, it couldn’t hurt for those teams to at least have a look.

Morgan performed well at this year’s scouting combine and at the East-West Shrine Game, and a Southeast Area NFL scout said Morgan has one of the three strongest arms in the draft, along with the intelligence and leadership qualities that teams covet. After an uneven tenure at Bowling Green, Morgan transferred to FIU in 2018 and earned Conference USA Newcomer of the Year honors by completing over 65% of his passes for 26 TDs and seven interceptions.

His 2019 effort was not quite as strong, but he has put together enough quality tape to start rising up draft boards.

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Dolphins Prefer Herbert Over Tua?

While the expectation is still that Burrow is the pick, there is “a lot of buzz in scouting circles that the Bengals will at least listen to calls” on potential trades for the top choice, Miller writes. Since there’s no one ahead of them, it wouldn’t make all that much sense for the Bengals to be playing games if they weren’t actually planning to listen to inquiries. As of a couple of weeks ago we had heard that the Dolphins were still interested in trading for the first pick and selecting Burrow.

  • Speaking of the Dolphins, if they aren’t able to pull off the shocking trade up for Burrow, their situation is pretty up in the air. Although there has been a ton of talk over the last year linking Miami to Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa, multiple sources told Miller the team isn’t “convinced Tua is the best option and could instead target Oregon’s Justin Herbert.” In fact, the “buzz around the league is that Herbert has the most fans in the Dolphins’ draft room,” Miller writes. This echoes what Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote back in February, when he reported that Miami had an “increasingly positive” view of Herbert and that the Dolphins were concerned about Tagovailoa’s hip as well as his long-term durability.

Latest On QB Jordan Love

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where Utah State QB Jordan Love will land in this month’s draft, and as such, he is generating interest from plenty of teams. Kevin Patra of NFL.com says that the Saints, Packers, Chargers, Raiders, Dolphins, and Colts have all been in contact with Love via FaceTime and other virtual means.

Despite an uneven 2019 season, Love possesses all the physical tools that a team could want in a signal-caller and showed enough of his ability at the scouting combine to create some buzz. So while teams like the Chargers and Dolphins have more immediate needs at quarterback, it’s not surprising that clubs like the Colts and the Packers would be taking a look as well, as they could have Love learn from their current starters while he continues to refine his game. Indeed, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Green Bay had planned to host Love and most of this year’s top QB prospects at its facility before pre-draft visits were cancelled (Twitter link). Of course, the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was still playing at a high level, so if Love falls to them, perhaps they could make a similar move.

The Saints’ involvement is somewhat surprising since we heard last month that New Orleans was not interested in Love. But while the team holds Taysom Hill in high regard and views him as the heir to Drew Brees, the fact remains that Hill will be 30 in August and has thrown 13 passes in his professional career, so a little due diligence couldn’t hurt.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are reportedly very high on Love. While Miami’s dream scenario remains one in which it acquires the No. 1 overall pick from Cincinnati to select Joe Burrow, the ‘Fins will definitely walk away from the draft with a high-end signal-caller in tow.

Love looked like such a player in 2018 by throwing 32 touchdowns against six interceptions. Unfortunately, his arm strength and stature didn’t yield the same results last year, as he had 20 TDs against 17 INTs while playing with a lesser supporting cast. But plenty of QBs have had disappointing final seasons in college and have gone on to do big things in the pros, and apparently a number of teams believe Love can do just that.

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East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of SI.com writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of ESPN.com that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).

POLL: Where Will Cam Newton Sign?

The quarterback carousel has mostly come to a stop, and a few big names were left without starting gigs when the dust settled. The highest profile signal-caller on the open market is Cam Newton, and it’s going to be very interesting to see where he ends up signing.

Newton won an MVP and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, but his past two campaigns have been derailed by injuries. Last year he was limited to only two games because of a foot injury. The year before that he started the season off hot, but fell apart down the stretch once he started having shoulder issues. Since teams are unable to host free agents on visits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it might be harder for Newton to find a home for a while with teams’ doctors being unable to examine him in person.

The Chargers are the betting favorite at sportsbooks offering odds on where Newton will end up, and it’s not hard to see why. Los Angeles is arguably a quarterback away from being a legit Super Bowl contender, and on paper they might have the most talented defense in the league. Tyrod Taylor is currently slated as the team’s starter and while he has been solid at times in the past with Buffalo, he doesn’t have the upside that Newton does.

The Chargers own the sixth overall pick however, and they’ve been linked to drafting a passer in the first-round. We also heard a couple weeks ago that they were no longer looking to add a veteran after they whiffed on Tom Brady, although that was before Newton became a free agent.

The Jaguars are another option, as they’re currently rolling with second-year player Gardner Minshew at quarterback and not much else. Minshew showed flashes last year, but he was hardly consistent. The Redskins are another conceivable suitor as they could reunite Newton with his old coach Ron Rivera, although we heard before he was released that they weren’t expected to be interested.

The Dolphins don’t have a firmly entrenched starter right now, but they’re widely expected to draft a quarterback in the first-round. If they surprisingly decide to pass on one, Newton could make sense as an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then there’s the Patriots. New England has a lot of uncertainty at the position after Brady’s departure, and all they have right now is the unproven Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Newton being paired with Bill Belichick would certainly be interesting, to say the least.

So where will the former first overall pick be playing next year? Vote in the poll below (link for app users) and show your work in the comments!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins' Ogbah, Howard Back At Full Strength

Despite Shaq Lawson being in trade rumors for much of his tenure with the Bills, the current regime was interested in bringing him back. However, it does not appear Buffalo’s interest in retaining the former Doug Whaley first-round pick was extensive. The Bills were open to re-signing Lawson, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic notes such interest was contingent on Lawson returning at a certain price (subscription required). But once the Dolphins guaranteed two years of Lawson’s $10MM-AAV contract, the Bills let him walk. Buffalo signed both Mario Addison and versatile D-lineman Quinton Jefferson to cover for Lawson’s exit.

  • Shifting to Lawson’s new team, the Dolphins received good news on the health statuses of two of their recent free agent additions. Emmanuel Ogbah said he has been cleared for football work for around a month but has yet to partake in workouts because of COVID-19 concerns, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets. Ogbah will receive a Chiefs Super Bowl ring, but the defensive end’s contributions ended midseason because of a torn pectoral muscle.
  • Jordan Howard also will be full-go when the Dolphins reconvene, Wolfe adds. After a strong start to his Eagles season, Howard suffered a shoulder injury that derailed his momentum. He played in just one game after Week 9 but did not log any carries. Howard was inactive for Philadelphia’s playoff game. The Dolphins gave him a two-year, $9.75MM contract.
  • Sam Martin ended up signing with the Broncos, but the Jets were interested in adding the former Lions punter, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. The Broncos gave Martin a three-year, $7.05MM deal; Mehta adds the Jets were not budgeting that much for their punter position. Martin’s $2.35MM salary ranks 15th among punters. The Jets have opted not to re-sign incumbent punter Lac Edwards, their four-year punter, and Mehta adds they have remained in contact with former Dolphins and Bills punter Matt Darr. Ian Berryman, a 2019 Steelers UDFA, is the only punter on the Jets’ roster. The team remains interested in another addition here. Bringing considerable punter news to the table, Mehta adds that the Jets are doing their homework on Texas A&M’s Braden Mann — the 2018 Ray Guy award winner.

Dolphins, Bengals Interested In WR Cam Phillips

Following a standout showing in the XFL, Cam Phillips is drawing some interest from the NFL. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that both the Dolphins and Bengals have expressed interest in the wideout.

The 24-year-old led the XFL in receiving yards with 455, and he also hauled in 31 receptions and nine touchdowns in only five games. Thanks to his consistent performance with the Houston Roughnecks, the six-foot, 202-pound wideout won a handful of Player of the Week awards.

The former undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech had a previous NFL gig, as he caught on with the Bills back in 2018. He spent much of that season on the practice squad, but he did haul in a nine-yard reception in two games. He was waived by Buffalo at the end of the 2019 preseason.

As we noted earlier today, a number of Phillips’ Roughnecks teammates have already signed NFL contracts. That grouping includes quarterback P.J. Walker, cornerback Deatrick Nichols (Saints), linebacker DeMarquis Gates (Vikings), and linebacker Edmond Robinson (Falcons).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Shaq Lawson's Dolphins Deal

  • Shaq Lawson signed a three-year, $30MM Dolphins deal. While many teams prefer to backload free agency contracts, the Dolphins set Lawson’s up so he has a $10.3MM 2020 cap number, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Miami did this in order to lessen Lawson’s 2021 and ’22 cap hits, which OverTheCap lists as $9.3MM (’21) and $10.3MM (’22) figures.