Austin Jackson

Latest On Dolphins’ OT Depth

The Dolphins are hoping second-round pick Patrick Paul can eventually replace Pro Bowl offensive tackle Terron Armstead, but the rookie wasn’t expected to play a significant role in 2024. However, Adam H. Beasley of believes Paul could quickly climb the depth chart and displace incumbent swing OT Kendall Lamm.

Lamm is entering his third year in Miami and is coming off a 2024 season where he got into 613 offensive snaps, the second-highest total of his career. With Armstead having missed 11 regular season games through his first two years in Miami, the team’s OT3 will surely be counted on at several points during the upcoming campaign.

At the moment, that would be Lamm, who is penciled in behind Armstead and Austin Jackson on the depth chart. But Beasley believes Paul “has a real chance” at jumping into that role for the 2024 campaign. On some teams, Paul might be in line for a starting role after establishing himself as one of the draft’s top OT prospects. The Houston product was first-team All-Big-12 in 2023 before being selected by the Dolphins with the No. 55 pick. The six-foot-seven, 331-pound lineman was obviously lauded for his size, but Dolphins OL coach Butch Barry recently noted that the rookie has displayed other elite skills.

“You can see that he’s got great length and great athleticism,” Barry told Beasley. “A guy that wants to learn, a guy that wants to be the best that he can be. I think that we have quality veterans that can really help in that…But he’s got so much upside for us to work with, and we just have to keep honing in.”

As the coach noted, Paul will lean on his veteran teammates throughout training camp. He’s already found a mentor in Armstead, who has been more than happy to help his newest teammate.

“I’ve had a short time with Patrick so far. I’ve seen some great things on the field, impressive for sure,” Armstead said. “Got a lot to learn, a lot of areas to improve in, but you see it — for sure, you see the potential. You see why he’s here. Smart young man, but any and everything that I can possibly give, show, say, see is going to be offered to him.”

Lamm doesn’t bring the same upside as his newest teammate, but he obviously provides more experience. The former UDFA has managed to stick around the NFL for nearly a decade, getting into 104 career games. The veteran inked a new one-year, $2.5MM deal with Miami this offseason, and the team could clear $900K if they decide to move on from the 32-year-old during training camp.

Dolphins, Austin Jackson Agree On Extension

After missing almost all of the 2022 season, Austin Jackson has been in place for the Dolphins’ offensive surge this year. The team did not pick up its right tackle’s fifth-year option, but it has seen enough to reinvest via an extension.

The Dolphins and Jackson are in agreement on a three-year deal,’s Ian Rapoport reports. The extension is worth $36MM in base value and includes $20.7MM guaranteed. Although Jackson was months from free agency, he will lock in a nice contract now.

This represents a significant turnaround for the 2020 first-round pick. Jackson missed 15 games last season, playing all of 84 snaps. A Week 1 ankle injury derailed Jackson’s first right tackle season, and an attempt to come back led the USC product to season-ending IR. A year later, Jackson has been a constant on an injury-plagued offensive line.

As the only right tackle to be protecting a quarterback’s blindside this season, Jackson has played in all 12 Dolphins games. This season has also brought rare continuity for a player the team had once identified as its post-Laremy Tunsil left tackle. Miami traded Tunsil to Houston in August 2019, as it shed talent during an aggressive rebuild. Jackson, however, bounced from left tackle to guard to right tackle over his first three seasons, never settling at one spot. This offseason brought his first opportunity to play the same position in consecutive years.

Pro Football Focus ranks Jackson 36th among tackles this season, but his availability has been important for a Dolphins O-line that has seen every other starter miss time. Big-ticket UFA addition Terron Armstead has again battled injuries, while left guard Isaiah Wynn is likely out for the season. Connor Williams, who angled for a new deal this offseason, has missed multiple games. Right guard Robert Hunt, who also looms as an extension candidate, has battled a hamstring injury. Despite Jackson’s ankle issue and nomadic positional past leading the Dolphins to pass on his $14.18MM fifth-year option, he will lock in an upper-echelon RT deal seven months later.

This is not a top-tier RT accord. The Texans gave 2019 first-rounder Tytus Howard a more lucrative three-year deal this summer; that pact checked in at $18.7MM per year, putting Howard in the top five at the position. Jackson’s deal profiles as a team-friendly contract. The AAV puts the 24-year-old blocker 11th among right tackles. While Jackson could have attempted to bet on himself and maximize his leverage by heading toward the market or hitting free agency in March, he opted to lock in Dolphins-favorable terms now.

Adding intrigue to Jackson’s decision, two right tackles — Jawaan Taylor and Mike McGlinchey — signed deals north of $17.5MM per year as free agents this offseason. Jackson’s deal, however, does check in north of the contract the Falcons gave Kaleb McGary (three years, $34.5MM) on the market. Considering Jackson does not have a multiyear sample size of quality play, this could be looked at as a reasonable middle ground for team and player.

The Dolphins now have both their tackles signed through 2026, though Armstead’s injury troubles continue to impede him. Williams and Hunt are on track for 2024 free agency, leaving Miami with some work to do. But Jackson’s unavailability forced the team into some patchwork RT solutions last season — a year that brought Tua Tagovailoa concussion issues that overshadowed the team’s season. The ascending southpaw quarterback suffered two confirmed concussions, and an apparent head injury in Week 3 led to an overhaul of the NFL’s concussion protocol. Jackson was not on the field when any of these injuries occurred.

Tagovailoa and Jackson’s rebounds have coincided with Miami leading the NFL in total offense (second in points scored) and soaring to a 9-3 record, one that has the team three games up on Buffalo in the AFC East. The Dolphins are closing in on their first division title since the Chad Pennington-piloted 2008 season. With Tagovailoa likely on the cusp of an extension, the team now has his blindside blocker locked in.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Dolphins, Hamlin, Bills

The Patriots will join the list of teams to lose OTA days due to minor violations. The NFL docked the Pats two OTA sessions, Mike Reiss of tweets. New England did not practice Wednesday and will see another of its sessions nixed next week. The violation is believed to stem from the NFLPA expressing concern about the Pats’ meeting schedule. A 15-minute special teams meeting appearing on the team’s internal schedule was deemed mandatory in nature, and not voluntary, by the union, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Bill Belichick incurred a $50K fine, Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal tweets, noting Joe Judge was involved in the violation as well (Twitter links). Pats players were aware they were being asked to stay longer than allowed, per veteran reporter Mike Giardi (on Twitter), with Reiss adding the team was fully cooperative with the NFL inquiry.

While on-field contact has triggered these penalties at various points in the recent past, the Pats’ violation is believed to pertain to only the meeting issue. This punishment certainly can be interpreted as steep for the reported infraction, though the NFLPA made reduced offseason work a key component during the 2011 and 2020 CBA talks.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Austin Jackson is back at work for the Dolphins, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, participating in OTA sessions after undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery (Twitter link). Jackson did not undergo surgery upon initially injury his ankle — in Week 1 — as Miami’s starting right tackle attempted to return in Week 12. Jackson played 70 offensive snaps in that December game but did not suit up again last season. The Dolphins said before the draft they are planning to give Jackson another shot as their top right tackle, though they subsequently passed on his fifth-year option.
  • Miami did not draft a tackle, but the team did add ex-New England starter Isaiah Wynn. The former first-rounder is working at multiple positions during OTAs, Mike McDaniel said (via Jackson). League rules prohibit media from reporting which positions Wynn is playing, but the former Patriots left tackle did play guard for three seasons at Georgia. Wynn has spent most of his NFL time at left tackle and struggled on the right side following a 2022 position switch. The Dolphins have Terron Armstead locked in at left tackle, but the ex-Saints blocker has run into numerous injury issues during his career. He missed four games last season. Wynn’s Dolphins path could feature a starting right tackle role, a spot as the team’s swingman or potentially a guard gig. Left guard Liam Eichenberg has not solidified his position like right guard Robert Hunt has.
  • Damar Hamlin has made remarkable strides in his recovery and is fully expected to resume his career this season. But the Bills are playing it cautiously. Hamlin received full clearance to return and has worked out with teammates this offseason, but The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia notes the third-year safety is not yet participating in OTAs (Twitter link). Hamlin’s progress continues to be a situation to monitor in Buffalo, considering the historically rare circumstances he encountered after making a routine tackle in January.
  • A year after re-signing Matt Milano, the Bills let Tremaine Edmunds walk in free agency. The five-year starting linebacker signed a monster Bears contract and left a hole in the Bills’ lineup. Buffalo is likely to look in-house to replace Edmunds, with WGRZ’s Vic Carucci indicating Tyrel Dodson and 2022 third-round pick Terrel Bernard will compete for the middle ‘backer job. A former UDFA, Dodson made three starts last year. He played 220 defensive snaps. Starting one game as a rookie, Bernard played 110. The Bills also brought back veteran A.J. Klein, who has 82 starts on his resume (16 with Buffalo), in April.

Dolphins To Decline Fifth-Year Options On T Austin Jackson, CB Noah Igbinoghene

While the Dolphins picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option early this offseason, they have long been expected to pass on the 2024 guarantees for their other two 2020 first-round picks. The team will officially head in that direction soon.

Near the deadline for teams to decide on 2020 first-rounders’ options, the Dolphins will pass on the options for tackle Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Jackson would have been tied to a $14.18MM salary — Tier 3 for tackles on the four-tier option structure — while Igbinoghene would have seen a fully guaranteed $11.51MM (Tier 4 for corners) had the Dolphins exercised his option. Both players are now in contract years.

Igbinoghene is far from certain to even stay on Miami’s roster this coming season, but the team still has big plans for Jackson. Despite the USC alum’s ankle injury costing him 15 games in 2022, the Dolphins are still eyeing him as their right tackle starter. The team has moved Jackson around its line, shuttling him from left tackle to guard to right tackle in three offseasons. This will be the first time Jackson will work at the same position in consecutive offseasons as a pro.

Although the Dolphins did not draft a tackle until Round 7, the team expressed interest in veteran George Fant earlier this offseason. With the deadline for signings to affect teams’ 2024 compensatory formulas in the rearview mirror, the Dolphins are freer to proceed with a veteran addition. Brandon Shell, who became the team’s primary Jackson replacement despite signing in-season, is also a free agent.

The Dolphins drafted Jackson 18th overall to replace Laremy Tunsil, whom they traded to the Texans in a late-summer blockbuster in 2019. Tunsil has remained one of the league’s top left tackles and has since signed two Houston extensions. After not seeing enough from Jackson at that position, the Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a long-term deal. Jackson started 12 games as a rookie, primarily working as Miami’s left tackle, and finished his second season as the team’s left guard. Moved to right tackle in 2022, the 23-year-old blocker suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and was unable to overcome it.

Miami’s Igbinoghene pick — at No. 30 overall — surprised in the moment. The Auburn alum was ticketed to win the slot corner job alongside Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, but he has not shown enough to stay on the field. Igbinoghene, 24, has played only 603 career defensive snaps. Even with Jones unavailable for all of last season, the former SEC defender managed just 238 snaps. The Dolphins also used their top draft choice (No. 51) on a corner, South Carolina’s Cam Smith.

2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2020 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the third-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($29.5MM): Exercised
  2. DE Chase Young, Commanders ($17.45MM): Declined
  3. CB Jeff Okudah, Falcons* ($11.51MM): N/A
  4. T Andrew Thomas, Giants ($14.18MM): Exercised
  5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($23.2MM): Exercised
  6. QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($29.5MM): Exercised
  7. DT Derrick Brown, Panthers ($11.67MM): Exercised 
  8. LB Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals ($12.72MM): Declined
  9. CB C.J. Henderson, Jaguars** ($11.51MM): Declined
  10. T Jedrick Wills, Browns ($14.18MM): Exercised
  11. T Mekhi Becton, Jets ($12.57MM): Declined
  12. WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders: N/A
  13. T Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers ($18.24MM): Exercised
  14. DT Javon Kinlaw, 49ers ($10.46MM): Declined
  15. WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14.12MM): Exercised
  16. CB AJ Terrell, Falcons ($12.34MM): Exercised
  17. WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($17.99MM): Exercised
  18. OL Austin Jackson, Dolphins ($14.18MM): Declined
  19. CB Damon Arnette, Raiders: N/A
  20. DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars ($12.14MM): Declined
  21. WR Jalen Reagor, Vikings*** ($12.99MM): To decline
  22. WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($19.74MM): Exercised
  23. LB Kenneth Murray, Chargers ($11.73MM): Declined
  24. G Cesar Ruiz, Saints ($14.18MM): Declined
  25. WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($14.12MM): Exercised
  26. QB Jordan Love, Packers ($20.27MM): Extended through 2024
  27. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks ($12.72MM): Declined
  28. LB Patrick Queen, Ravens ($12.72MM): Declined
  29. T Isaiah Wilson, Titans: N/A
  30. CB Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins ($11.51MM): Declined
  31. CB Jeff Gladney, Vikings: N/A
  32. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs ($5.46MM): To decline

* = Lions traded Okudah on April 11, 2023
** = Jaguars traded Henderson on Sept. 27, 2021
*** = Eagles traded Reagor on August 31, 2022

Dolphins Expect Austin Jackson To Remain Right Tackle Starter

The Dolphins have given Austin Jackson chances at a few spots on their offensive line. Most recently, they plugged the 2020 first-round pick into their lineup at right tackle. But an injury nixed that opportunity and moved Jackson to a career crossroads of sorts.

Although Jackson played in just two games last season, GM Chris Grier said Wednesday the Dolphins still view the USC product as their starting right tackle. The draft can change teams’ situations, but this follows a report from the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson that indicated the fourth-year blocker indeed remains in play to be the Dolphins’ right-edge starter.

[RELATED: Dolphins Not Expected To Pick Up Austin Jackson’s Fifth-Year Option]

Austin Jackson’s Week 1 ankle injury last season essentially wiped out his third NFL campaign; he wound up playing in just two contests and 84 total snaps. The Dolphins ended up needing to use an in-season free agent pickup — ex-Jets and Seahawks starter Brandon Shell — as their primary right tackle. Shell, who started 11 games last season, also missed time due to injury. Subsequent signing Eric Fisher did not stay healthy long enough to play in a game for the team.

Tua Tagovailoa being both the only current left-handed starting QB and coming off a multi-concussion season amplifies the importance of Miami’s right tackle gig. The Dolphins need to bring in competition for Austin Jackson, Barry Jackson adds, but the veteran writer points to a post-draft free agent signing rather than the team using its top pick (No. 51 overall) on this position.

As far as free agents go, multiyear Jets starter George Fant remains available. So does Cameron Fleming, who spent a chunk of last season as the Broncos’ right tackle starter. Shell is also currently unsigned. Seeing how the Bengals’ situation shakes out could be prudent for the Dolphins as well. Jonah Williams has not generated too much trade interest and does not want to play right tackle, but incumbent starter La’el Collins could lose his job if Williams returns and wins a competition to start opposite Orlando Brown Jr. While Collins, 29, is coming off a December ACL tear, the longtime Cowboys starter figures to have some run left once he recovers.

Jackson, 23, keeping the gig would mark his first chance to stay in the same role for two straight years. The Dolphins have used Jackson at guard and left tackle. He worked primarily at guard in 2021, starting 16 games. The team also has flexibility in guards Robert Hunt and Liam Eichenberg. Both have tackle experience, with Hunt starting his career at right tackle. As the Dolphins continue to search for post-Ja’Wuan James right tackle stability, Grier said the team plans to keep Hunt at guard. The former second-round pick is going into a contract year.

Dolphins Interested In George Fant, Unlikely To Exercise Fifth-Year Options On Austin Jackson, Noah Igbinoghene

Towards the end of February, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote that the Dolphins are unlikely to exercise the fifth-year option on right tackle Austin Jackson. In the ensuing weeks, there has been nothing to suggest that the ‘Fins are reconsidering that stance.

Indeed, as Barry Jackson tweeted on Friday, Miami has shown interest in free agent tackle George Fant, lending credence to previous reports that the club is expected to bring in competition for Austin Jackson. That also represents the first reported interest in Fant since free agency opened several days ago.

Austin Jackson, the No. 18 overall pick of the 2020 draft, has yet to live up to his first-round billing. Miami hoped that the USC product would become its long-term answer at left tackle, but in 13 games (12 starts) at the position in his rookie year, Jackson largely struggled. While he got some run at LT in his second professional season, most of his snaps came at left guard, with similarly mediocre results. He then opened the 2022 campaign as the Dolphins’ starting right tackle before suffering an ankle injury in Week 1 that essentially wiped out his season (he wound up playing in just two contests and 84 total snaps).

It comes as little surprise, then, that Miami would decline to exercise Jackson’s fifth-year option, which would lock in a fully-guaranteed $14.2MM salary for 2024. It is equally unsurprising that the team would seek to bring in competition for the RT job.

Fant, who is entering his age-31 season, signed a three-year contract with the Jets in 2020. He spent most of his first year in New York at right tackle, with generally uninspiring results. However, when he was moved to left tackle out of necessity in 2021, Fant blossomed, and his performance even led to extension talks with Gang Green last year. Unfortunately, he was limited to just eight games in 2022 due to knee trouble, and even when he was on the field, his work was not as strong as it was the season before.

The Dolphins used Greg Little and Brandon Shell as Jackson replacements last year, but both players are also out of contract. It seems Miami wants to see what else is out there, and Fant is someone who can at least provide depth at both tackle spots and who would stand a good chance of opening the season as the club’s starting right tackle.

In related news, it would be “unfathomable” if the Dolphins were to exercise cornerback Noah Igbinoghene‘s fifth-year option (worth $11.5MM) for 2024, per Barry Jackson. Igbinoghene, who was selected twelve picks after Austin Jackson in 2020, is clearly not well-regarded by head coach Mike McDaniel & Co., as he was a healthy scratch for eight games in 2022 even though the Dolphins were without their No. 2 and No. 3 corners (Byron Jones and Nik Needham).

Jones has been released and Needham re-signed over the last week, and the Dolphins of course made a big splash to acquire Jalen Ramsey from the Rams. As it stands, Ramsey and Xavien Howard will operate as Miami’s starting boundary corners, with Kader Kohou and Needham both above Igbinoghene on the depth chart.

AFC Injury Rumors: Bengals, Dolphins, Leonard

Cincinnati will host the Ravens in the Wild Card round of the playoffs this weekend, but they will have to do it without two of their starters on the offensive line, according to Mitch Stacy of The Associated Press. Head coach Zac Taylor confirmed that right guard Alex Cappa will join right tackle La’el Collins on the sideline this Sunday night.

Cappa had his ankle rolled over late in the third quarter last week while blocking in the pocket. Initial fears were that the injury would end his season, keeping him out for the entirety of the playoffs, and while Taylor is holding out hope for future games this January, we know that Cappa will not play this weekend.

Cappa joins Collins, who saw his season come to an end after suffering a knee injury in a Week 16 win over the Patriots. Collins has been replaced by Hakeem Adeniji who played in a backup role this season after starting 13 games last year. Adeniji drew criticism for his pass protection in the playoffs last season, when the offensive line drew most of the blame for the team’s loss in Super Bowl LVI.

Cappa will be replaced by backup Max Scharping. After starting 33 games in his first three seasons with the Texans, Scharping was picked up by the Bengals after being waived just prior to the season. The offensive line was a huge weakness last year for a Bengals team that still made it to the Super Bowl. They may have to struggle over that hurdle once again if they want to win it all in February.

Here are a couple other injury rumors from around the AFC, starting with another playoff squad:

  • If the Bengals’ offensive line situation is considered bad, the Dolphins‘ has to be considered downright tragic as the team practiced today without three starters and three backups on the offensive line alone, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Starting left guard Liam Eichenberg missed today as he deals with a hand injury. After that, the remaining five linemen who missed practice are the team’s top five tackles. First, tackles Austin Jackson and Eric Fisher remain on injured reserve with an ankle and calf injury, respectively. Jackson is eligible to return from IR but isn’t quite ready to, while Fisher is not yet eligible to return. Right tackle Brandon Shell is dealing with a high ankle sprain and mild knee sprain and is likely going to be out this weekend in Buffalo. Kendall Lamm has been dealing with an ankle issue and is questionable to play on Sunday. Lastly, left tackle Terron Armstead missed practice as he deals with multiple ailments including injuries to his hip, foot, knee, and pectoral muscle, according to Jackson. Not one to be subdued by pain, Armstead told Jackson that as long as his muscles function, he’ll be playing against the Bills. Potential backup options include Greg Little and starting right guard Robert Hunt, with Robert Jones filling in the guard spot. Geron Christian, Michael Dieter, and practice squad linemen should all be ready to hear their names called, as well.
  • Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard missed most of the season this year as he dealt with a nerve issue that has limited the use of his left calf. Leonard had back surgery to the address the issue in June but never saw the results he’d hoped for. Leonard and Indianapolis staff found it necessary to undergo a second surgery and, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star, it seems to have been much more effective. Leonard told Erickson that, after the second surgery, “the nerves are re-firing in his leg…in a way that didn’t happen after the first surgery.” Leonard is one of the premier players at his position, so signs that he is starting to progress back to his old self are welcome signs, for sure.

Dolphins Sign LT Eric Fisher, Place T Austin Jackson On IR

The Dolphins have been hit with injuries at the offensive tackle spot recently, and the team is set to make a notable move to address the position. Miami is signing veteran free agent Eric Fisher and placing tackle Austin Jackson on IR, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the move.

Fisher, 31, enjoyed a standout eight-year tenure with the Chiefs which included a Super Bowl victory. During the 2020 postseason, however, he suffered a torn Achilles which led to his release. The two-time Pro Bowler signed a one-year deal with the Colts and protected the blindside in Indianapolis last season.

His 2021 performance (during which he started 15 games and earned a 68.2 PFF grade) was hampered by the lingering effects of the Achilles injury and other ailments, however, and a deal keeping him with the Colts could not be finalized. That has left him on the free agent market into December this season, allowing him to sign with a team in need of depth late in the season.

Miami certainly meets that criteria, given the pectoral injury suffered in Week 12 by left tackle Terron Armstead. The high-priced free agent signing could return at some point in the regular season, but the team will understandably be cautious with his recovery. Doing so would have been easier if not for Jackson suffering an ankle injury at the same time.

With the IR placement, the latter will now miss at least the next four weeks of the season, after both he and Armstead were unable to suit up for yesterday’s loss to the 49ers. With Miami thin at the tackle spot, Fisher should immediately be able to at least provide experienced depth behind Greg Little and Brandon Shell, both of whom have primarily played at right tackle.

The 8-4 Dolphins are well-positioned to make the playoffs this season, but a drop-off in play up front could threaten their postseason chances. If Fisher is capable of playing at the level he demonstrated during his time in Kansas City, though, calling him into action could significantly ease the time spent without Armstead available.

Dolphins LT Terron Armstead Expected To Miss Time

TUESDAY, 9:00pm: There’s some optimism that Terron Armstead will be back on the field before the end of the regular season. Coach Mike McDaniels said he’s confident Armstead will play again this season, and the HC even hinted that the lineman could be back in two or three weeks.

“Wouldn’t put that past him,” McDaniels said (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald on Twitter). “Gathering information, seeking specialists and letting information settle so information can be a little more concrete…. Considering treatment options.”

SUNDAY, 8:00pm: The Dolphins came away with a comfortable win today, but their offensive line suffered a potentially significant blow in the process. Left tackle Terron Armstead exited the game with a pectoral injury, and is now facing the possibility of missing time for a stretch.

Armstead suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Dolphins’ win over the Texans, and did not return. Questions were raised about the severity of the ailment, and as such the length of Armstead’s absence, but the worst-case scenario appears to have been avoided. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the 31-year-old suffered a pec strain, and that the team hopes to have him available to return “relatively soon.”

Armstead missed Miami’s Week 6 contest, and had already been playing through a toe injury. This latest ailment could leave him sidelined for longer than that, though he is known for having a high pain threshold dating back to his nine seasons in New Orleans. Still, missed time was a constant during that portion of his career; the former third-rounder has yet to play in every game in a single season in his career.

Signed to a five-year, $75MM deal this offseason, Armstead represented one of numerous moves the Dolphins made at attempting to improve their offensive line. The three-time Pro Bowler had delivered a solid PFF grade of 76.3 heading into today, having yet to allow a sack. Any absence from him would put a dent in the Dolphins’ pass protection in particular.

Elsewhere on the o-line, right tackle Austin Jackson also left the game after suffering an ankle injury. It was that same issue which landed him on IR in September, interrupting his full-time transition to the RT spot. That position had been manned by Greg Little, then Brandon Shell, in Jackson’s absence. More shuffling involving those two, and potentially starting left guard Liam Eichenberg, who has left tackle experience, could be necessary depending on the severity of Armstead’s and Jackson’s respective injuries.