Michael Deiter

Dolphins Place Michael Deiter On IR

The Dolphins have placed center Michael Deiter on injured reserve (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). It’s not clear what Deiter is dealing with, but he’ll be out for at least the next three games.. 

[RELATED: Dolphins To Place Tagovailoa On IR]

Deiter, a 2019 third-round pick, went from starting guard, to backup, to starting center this year. Without him, the ‘Fins will pivot to Greg Mancz, a longtime Texans lineman acquired via trade from the Ravens. Mancz may not be a world-beater, but he does offer a resume with 58 career appearances, including 28 starts.

It’s another blow to the Dolphins offense, following Tua Tagovailoa‘s rib fracture. At minimum, the young quarterback will be out for the next two games against the Colts and Buccaneers. Deiter, meanwhile, cannot return any sooner than Oct. 24 against the Falcons. On the plus side, the Dolphins expect wide receiver Will Fuller to suit up against Indy this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Make Changes On Offensive Line

Trading for 2019 second-round pick Greg Little, the Dolphins continue to shuffle their offensive line group. But they are making more changes among their in-house personnel as well.

They have shifted second-round pick Liam Eichenberg from tackle to guard, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While Dolphins offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre initially said the move was to give the Notre Dame product experience at guard, Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com notes the Dolphins view versatile veteran Jesse Davis as a better option to start at right tackle this season than Eichenberg. Davis, a former UDFA, was the Dolphins’ primary right tackle in 2019. Eichbenberg was an All-American left tackle with the Fighting Irish, starting there for three years.

Eichenberg is working as Miami’s first-string left guard, however. The team’s directions with Davis and Eichenberg have resulted in two starters from last season — Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley — vying for the starting right guard role, Beasley adds. The Dolphins moved Hunt from tackle to guard this offseason. While they have been high on the 2020 second-round pick, viewing him as a possible Pro Bowler inside, the Louisiana product is currently battling for a starting spot in camp.

Additionally, Miami appears to be moving toward giving 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter — a full-time guard starter as a rookie but a backup in 2020 — its starting center position over free agent acquisition Matt Skura, per Beasley. Skura represents a veteran presence on a group that lost D.J. Fluker early in camp, but Davis could end up being the only seasoned starter tabbed to be part of the Dolphins’ O-line in Week 1. Deiter played more games at guard at Wisconsin but was a 16-game center starter with the Big Ten program.

Pro Football Focus ranked the 2020 Miami O-line 28th, and it is possible only one player — left tackle Austin Jackson — will end up in the same position he primarily played last season. The team traded 2020 guard starter Ereck Flowers this offseason as well, and that change may be one of many at this Dolphins position group this year. It will certainly be interesting to see how Miami’s O-line configuration looks come Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Newton, Tua, Fins, Bills

The Patriots made a big splash last night when they signed former league MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract. The assumption is that Newton will be the team’s starting signal-caller, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says the Pats made no promises in that regard. Still, while there is technically an open competition between Newton and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, it would be stunning if Newton did not win the job (video link). Garafolo also points out that Newton still has to pass a physical, but the Patriots are confident he will do so.

Garafolo also passes along a fun fact (via Twitter): New England is the third team in NFL history to lose one MVP and sign another in the same offseason. The 2000 Dolphins parted ways with Dan Marino and brought in Thurman Thomas, and the 2005 Cardinals bid farewell to Emmitt Smith and signed Kurt Warner.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the belief that he will be the franchise signal-caller the team has been seeking for the past 20 years. He may not start right away, but Albert Breer of SI.com believes the southpaw will be put into the starting lineup at some point this season. While the 2020 Dolphins should be an improved squad over last year’s iteration, Miami is still probably at least a year away from playoff contention, so the team will have no reason to keep Tagovailoa on the sidelines for the entire campaign.
  • Miami is set at the LG and C spots with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, respectively. Beyond that, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins are still undecided as to whether second-round rookie Robert Hunt would be a better fit at RG or RT in 2020. If Hunt gets a shot at RT and performs well, that could bump 2019 starter Jesse Davis back to the interior or to the bench. Meanwhile, Michael Deiter will compete for the starting RG and backup C slots.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are working out WR Gary Jennings in the slot — where he thrived in college — and on the outside. Jennings was a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2019, but Seattle waived him in November and Miami scooped him up. He played in just one game for the ‘Fins before getting hurt, but his draft pedigree and upside will give him a good chance to make the club as the fifth or sixth WR.
  • In a minor trade last summer, the Bills acquired OL Ryan Bates from the Eagles in exchange for DE Eli Harold. Philadelphia subsequently cut Harold, but Buffalo hung on to Bates, who was active for nine games. Per Adam Caplan of InsideTheBirds.com, the Bills view Bates, a 2019 UDFA, as a viable right tackle, guard, and center, so they expect him to be a key backup in 2020 who may take on a bigger role down the road.
  • Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, meanwhile, views Bates as a potential trade candidate. Buscaglia also looks at a few other players that the Bills could put on the trade market, a list headed by WR Robert Foster and TE Jason Croom.

Dolphins Sign Michael Deiter

The Dolphins have signed third-round guard Michael Deiter, according to a team announcement. With that, the Dolphins have wrapped up their entire 2019 NFL Draft class. 

Deiter, a Wisconsin product, spent time at guard, center, and tackle during his collegiate career. A self-described “mauler,” Deiter will compete with Isaac Asiata and Chris Reed for the starting left guard job. Even if he falls flat, the versatile rookie could see a decent amount of burn as a backup.

Here’s the full rundown of the Fins’ draft class, via PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.