Mike Hull

Dolphins Sign DT Sylvester Williams

The Dolphins announced the signing of defensive tackle Sylvester Williams on Wednesday morning. They’ve also activated linebacker Mike Hull off injured reserve, giving the front seven a bit of a midseason lift. 

Williams started eleven games and made 15 total appearances for the Titans last year, his first campaign outside of Denver since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2014. He was strong against the run in 2017, but he didn’t fare well with the Lions this year. Last week, Detroit cut him loose after trading for Damon Harrison.

At the time of his release, Williams ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 78 overall defensive tackle in the league with a subpar score for run defense. He didn’t fill the traditional stat sheet much either with six tackles in six games.

Last season, Williams played on roughly a third of the Titans’ defensive snaps, good for third-most among the club’s defensive linemen. Pro Football Focus gave him high marks against the run and some not-so-great marks for his work on passing downs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Designate OL Jake Brendel, LB Mike Hull As IR/Return

The Dolphins will designate offensive lineman Jake Brendel and linebacker Mike Hull to return from injured reserve, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who reports both players were back at Miami’s practice on Wednesday.

Both Brendel and Hull were placed on injured reserve in September after initially being carried through to the Dolphins’ initial 53-man roster. NFL rules stipulate that any player who returns from IR must have been on his club’s original 53-man roster, and also mandates a minimum eight-week absence. As such, both Brendel and Hull can be activated in advance of Miami’s Week 9 matchup against the Jets.

Brendel, 26, joined the Dolphins’ practice squad in 2016 after going undrafted out of UCLA. He went to appear in all 16 games for Miami in 2017, although he didn’t see much action on the field. Brendel played 67 snaps on offense and 87 snaps on special teams, serving in a backup role for the entire campaign. Once he returns from IR, Brendel will give the Dolphins another interior option behind veterans Travis Swanson and Wesley Johnson, the former of whom has taken over at center following Daniel Kilgore‘s season-ending injury.

Like Brendel, Hull has mostly served as a backup since joining the Dolphins in 2015. He played in 32 games from 2016-17, making four starts during that time. But Hull’s main contribution has come on special teams, where he racked up a whopping 631 snaps over the past two seasons. His return could bolster a Miami special teams unit that already ranks third in DVOA, and give the Dolphins linebacker depth after the club placed Chase Allen on injured reserve earlier today.

Because each team is only allowed to IR/return players, Brendel and Hull’s activation will prevent the Dolphins from bringing any other injured players — such as offensive linemen Josh Sitton or Kilgore, or defensive end William Hayes — back in 2018.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Buffalo Bills

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Miami Dolphins

Claimed:

Placed on injured reserve:

Cut:

Practice squad:

New England Patriots

Claimed:

Placed on injured reserve:

Practice squad:

New York Jets

Practice squad:

Dolphins Rumors: Fales, Osweiler, DBs, LBs

David Fales completed just 1 of 6 passes in the Dolphins’ second preseason game, and although Brock Osweiler is the bigger name, the team’s internal preference is believed to be for the incumbent to back up Ryan Tannehill, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. As for Bryce Petty, he’s still behind both aforementioned backups, Jackson adds. Osweiler signed for the league minimum, making the Dolphins’ 2018 quarterback depth chart much cheaper than last year’s setup of Tannehill, Jay Cutler and Matt Moore — which represented more than $30MM against the 2017 team’s cap. A former sixth-round Bears pick in 2014, Fales has 48 career pass attempts — 43 of those coming last season with Miami.

Here’s the latest out of south Florida.

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick is primarily working as a slot defender for the Dolphins, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com passes along. The first-round pick out of Alabama was billed as a versatile performer entering the draft, with safety or cornerback potential. It looks like, for now, the Dolphins are taking advantage of that. Previous slot bastion Bobby McCain has moved to the outside, and that looks to have been done to give Fitzpatrick a role. Prior to the move, the Dolphins didn’t have a place for Fitzpatrick, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes. Fitzpatrick, though, also played sparingly as a pure safety in Miami’s initial two preseason games.
  • Mike Hull may begin the season on IR, Jackson notes. The Dolphins would carry their fourth-year veteran linebacker onto the 53-man roster before placing him on IR, which would allow him to return during the season once he recovers from the sprained MCL he sustained earlier this month. Hull started three games last season. Raekwon McMillan is Miami’s middle linebacker starter.
  • Second-year UDFA Chase Allen looks to have a job as a Dolphins backup linebacker, but former Saints first-round pick Stephone Anthony may not. Jackson writes the 2015 first-rounder’s put together a poor preseason that has him on the bubble. Anthony played in eight Dolphins games upon being traded to Miami last year. He played 130 defensive snaps but did not stand out. However, with Hull out, the Dolphins need bodies to fill out their linebacking corps. UFA addition Terence Garvin isn’t a lock to survive cutdown weekend, either, Jackson adds.

AFC Notes: Jets, Brady, Fowler, Dolphins

The Jets‘ quarterbacks looked solid during last night’s preseason win over the Falcons, completing 21 of 27 pass attempts for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While veteran Josh McCown sits atop the depth chart, head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged that any of the team’s three signal-callers (a grouping that also includes Teddy Bridgewater and first-rounder Sam Darnold) could end up earning the starting gig.

“We’ll see how the preseason goes,” Bowles said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “Like I said, I’ll make my decision when it happens. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions after one game. I’m going to take my notes and watch practice and compare with the coaches and we’ll come up with a decision. It’s a tough decision. We’ve got three good players and we’re happy to have them.”

As ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith points out, Bowles previously said that the team would wait until the end of the preseason to make a decision on their starting quarterback. In other words, there’s still plenty of time for the depth chart to sort itself out.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • ESPN’s Field Yates has even more details on Tom Brady‘s revised contract (Twitter links). The Patriots quarterback had $10MM of his $14MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, which means he’ll get that chunk of cash now instead of spread out over 17 weeks. His 2018 cap number will not increase (allowing the Patriots to maintain cap flexibility), but his 2019 cap hit has increased from $5MM to $27MM. If Brady decided to keep playing in 2019, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says the team would presumably sign their franchise quarterback to a new deal, thus pushing some of that money to 2020.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe believes the revised contract is an indication that Brady intends to keep playing in 2019 (Twitter link). While his 2019 dead cap number was previously $7MM, that’s since been boosted to $12MM. If the Patriots weren’t confident that their quarterback was going to stick around the NFL, there wouldn’t have been much of an incentive for the salary-to-bonus conversion.
  • There was good news for the Jaguars this morning, as the team took defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. off the physically unable to perform list (via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco on Twitter). The former third-overall pick had missed offseason programs, training camp, and the team’s preseason opener as he continued to recover from a shoulder injury. “I’m just happy to see him back to start playing,” said head coach Doug Marrone (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “Obviously, he’s worked hard to get back, strengthening and everything, and we’ll return him to practice. He’ll come back out and we’ll work him there. I’m excited to see him. He’s put in a lot of work and we’ll see him on the field and see what he can do.” The 24-year-old finished last season 21 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games.
  • Dolphins linebacker Mike Hull has a sprained MCL and is expected to be out for several weeks, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The 27-year-old has been an important bench piece for Miami over the past two seasons, and he finished last season with 35 tackles in 16 games (three starts). Terence Garvin, Chase Allen, Jerome Baker, and Quentin Poling will receive more backup reps during Hull’s absence.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Dolphins Waive Rey Maualuga

The Dolphins are planning to waive veteran middle linebacker Rey Maualuga after he was arrested in Florida overnight, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. The team has since announced the move.

Multiple other media outlets are confirming the Dolphins are parting ways with Maualuga, and the arrest was for battery at a nightclub, Andy Slater of 940 WINZ reports (on Twitter). The 30-year-old is currently in jail.

This marks Maualuga’s second arrest during his career. The then-Bengals linebacker pleaded guilty on a drunken-driving charge in 2010.

The Dolphins are planning to fill Maualuga’s roster spot with running back De’Veon Smith, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Smith previously resided on Miami’s practice squad.

Maualuga made four starts for the Dolphins and played in six games since being signed over the summer. This continues a tumultuous year for Miami linebackers, one that included with Raekwon McMillan‘s season-ending injury and Lawrence Timmons‘ suspension to start the season.

A ninth-year vet, Maualuga made 23 tackles for the Dolphins this season. Mike Hull is the leading candidate to take over at middle linebacker, Salguero tweets. Pro Football Focus has not offered kind analyses regarding the play of Maualuga or Hull. The advanced metrics website graded both as suboptimal ‘backers this season, with Maualua playing 176 snaps and Hull taking part in 145. Hull started three games for the Fins this season; the third-year UDFA’s made 19 stops.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Rumors: Tannehill, Pouncey, LBs

Adam Gase expects Ryan Tannehill to “absolutely” be ready for the 2018 season, the second-year coach said Saturday (via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald). Tannehill made the decision to undergo reconstructive knee surgery to repair a partially torn left ACL. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported the Dolphins expect Tannehill to be back by the time they convene for training camp next summer. Gase said the sixth-year quarterback told him of the surgery decision in the past few days; it became final on Friday night. Tannehill will rehab with the Dolphins and at other facilities, Gase said. He was at Dolphins practice Saturday aiding Jay Cutler‘s assimilation, per Beasley.

Here’s the latest coming out of south Florida.

  • The Dolphins are monitoring the UFA linebacker market after Raekwon McMillan was lost with a torn ACL, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. This study will continue for a few weeks, Jackson said, until it’s determined if backup middle linebacker Mike Hull can handle the job. Jackson notes the Dolphins would also be open to adding a ‘backer via trade. Jackson adds Hull or an outside addition will be summoned for base-defense duty, since Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso will be the Fins’ second-level cogs in nickel sets. This is Hull’s third season with the Dolphins. The ex-UDFA played in 16 games last season and started one. Gase said he likes the trio of Alonso, Timmons and Hull together. But that’s not set yet, it appears.
  • Mike Pouncey returned to 11-on-11 work for the first time since suffering the hip injury that shelved him for all but five games last season, Jackson reports. The three-time Pro Bowler had done individual work leading up to the return to team drills. A decision hasn’t been made if Pouncey will play in the preseason, but the 28-year-old snapper said he has no doubt he’ll return for Week 1.
  • Jay Ajayi suffered a concussion on July 31 and hasn’t returned to practice. The third-year running back remains in concussion protocol, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports. Smith notes the Dolphins would like to have Ajayi play some with Cutler in the preseason so the duo can begin to develop a rapport, but it’s uncertain when Ajayi will return. Miami did not make any major additions to its backfield corps this offseason. The team has Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams behind Ajayi.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/17

The latest minor moves…

  • Raiders defensive end Denico Autry has signed his RFA tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). The Raiders gave the 2014 undrafted free agent an original-round tender, leading to speculation that he could draw interest from elsewhere. Instead, Autry will return to the Raiders on the heels of back-to-back three-sack seasons. ERFAs Seth Roberts (WR) and Denver Kirkland (G) are also back in the fold, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Kache Palacio, writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Palacio, a former fullback who went undrafted out of Washington State last year, spent most of 2016 on Seattle’s practice squad.
  • Lions ERFAs Brandon Copeland (DE), Kerry Hyder (DT) and T.J. Jones (WR) have signed their tenders, tweets Birkett. Dolphins ERFAs Mike Hull (LB) and Anthony Steen (C) did the same earlier Monday, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have re-upped restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell and a pair of exclusive rights free agents – center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy – writes Bryan Strickland of their website. Carolina used a second-round tender on Norwell, who will earn $2.746MM in 2017. Norwell combined for 29 starts over the previous two seasons and ranked 11th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last year.
  • Steelers RFA cornerback Ross Cockrell has inked his original-round tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Cockrell went in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, so the Steelers would have been entitled to a fourth-rounder had Cockrell signed elsewhere and they elected against matching the offer. The 25-year-old caught on with the Steelers in 2015 and has since totaled 31 appearances, 23 starts and two interceptions. Cockrell started in every Steelers game last year, and his performance ranked an improve 28th among 111 qualified corners at PFF.
  • Chiefs RFA kicker Cairo Santos has signed his tender, per Schefter (on Twitter). Santos, undrafted in 2014, received a low tender; as such, Kansas City wouldn’t have been entitled to compensation had he gone elsewhere. The three-year veteran has connected on 84.3 percent of field goal attempts, including 88.6 percent last season (good for fifth in the league).
  • Lions offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas has signed his RFA tender, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions assigned Lucas an original-rounder tender last month, so they wouldn’t have gotten a pick had the 2014 undrafted free agent signed elsewhere and they chose not to match. Lucas is now slated to make $1.797MM this year in Detroit, where he has started in six of 35 career appearances.
  • The Buccaneers have re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin, cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Adarius Glanton, and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino, per Scott Smith of the team’s website. As a restricted free agent, Griffin is the only one of the bunch who could have potentially gone elsewhere (the rest were exclusive rights free agents). The Bucs tendered the 2013 undrafted free agent at an original-round level last month, and he’ll now try to win the No. 2 role behind Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay’s previous second-stringer, Mike Glennon, is now the Bears’ starter.
  • RFA defensive back Marcus Burley and ERFA running back George Atkinson III are returning to the Browns, per a team announcement. Burley, undrafted in 2013, received an original-round tender. The former Seahawk is coming off his first year in Cleveland, where he appeared in 12 games and played just under 40 percent of the Browns’ special teams snaps.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon and receiver Larry Pinkard have signed with the Jaguars, tweets the team’s account. Bohanon is the only with NFL experience, having logged 36 appearances and 14 starts as a Jet from 2013-15.
  • Speaking of the Jets, they have re-signed linebacker Julian Stanford (via Randy Lange of the team’s site). The Jets could Stanford on Friday, but both sides knew that was only a procedural move. Last season was the first as a Jet for the 26-year-old Stanford, who appeared in nine games (two starts) and played about a quarter of their defensive snaps and a third of their special teams snaps.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: 

ERFAs:

Tendered: