The activation comes at a good time for the Dolphins. Rookie sensation De’Von Achane landed on injured reserve with a knee injury, and UDFA rookie Chris Brooks has also been shelved for at least the next four weeks. That left Raheem Mostert and Salvon Ahmed as the only healthy RBs on the roster, but Wilson will provide an experienced option that the Dolphins can add to the mix.
Wilson, who has missed time due to finger and rib issues, was deemed ready to play in time for last week. However, roster calculus led his 2023 debut being delayed until Week 7, something head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed earlier in the week would take place. Today’s expected move will use up one of Miami’s seven remaining IR activations.
Mostert has had success as the Dolphins’ top back, recording 20 touches in a game on two occasions so far this season. The 31-year-old has found the end zone in all but one contest in 2023, and he leads the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns. His role as RB1 will likely not be in doubt with Wilson back in the picture, but the latter has proven to be an efficient complimentary option both with the 49ers and the Dolphins. Both backs inked two-year deals this offseason, and with Achane currently unavailable, they will aim to prove those investments to be worthwhile.
Wilson, 27, averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his eight games in South Beach last season after being dealt away by the 49ers following their Christian McCaffreyacquisition. The former UDFA saw a 53% snap share in Miami in 2022, and it will be interesting to see how large of a workload he handles upon return this year. The Dolphins lead the league in both passing (324) and rushing (182) yards per game through six weeks, and Sunday’s primetime matchup against the Eagles figures to be an offensive shootout. Miami will have another option in the backfield for that contest as Wilson prepares to make his season debut.
12:10pm: Ramsey will not play against the Eagles on Sunday night, Mike McDaniel confirmed. But the second-year HC is “very optimistic” Ramsey will return sooner rather than later, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweets. While Ramsey will not play against the Eagles, Jeff Wilson will be activated off IR in time for Week 7. McDaniel said the running back, who went on IR with finger and rib and finger injuries, was ready to go last week, Wolfe tweets. Roster math halted the Dolphins from activating Wilson, but he should be expected to be the team’s second IR activation this season.
8:10am: The growing optimism about Jalen Ramsey‘s return timetable will lead to the Dolphins opening his practice window earlier than expected. Initially viewed as potentially needing recovery time into December, the recent trade acquisition will be on track to come back sooner.
The Dolphins are expected to open Ramsey’s 21-day practice window Wednesday, NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe tweets. Ramsey practicing today would mean he must come off IR by Nov. 8. The All-Pro cornerback is believed to be far ahead of schedule, and today’s transaction will prove that.
It took only a third-round pick and backup tight end Hunter Long for the Dolphins to acquire Ramsey, who has been one of this NFL period’s premier corners. Ramsey, who will turn 29 next week, seeking a contract adjustment led to the reduced trade compensation. And the Dolphins guaranteeing the eighth-year veteran’s 2024 salary after the trade provided security for Ramsey as he recovers from the meniscus injury he suffered during training camp. He appears close to recovering from the knee setback, which would be a significant development for a Dolphins team that has been one of the NFL’s best through six games.
While Miami’s offense is soaring, Vic Fangio‘s defense sits in the bottom half of the league. But Ramsey represented the other pillar in the Dolphins’ defensive plan this offseason. Paying Fangio more than $4.5MM to work as Mike McDaniel‘s right-hand man, the Dolphins formed one of the NFL’s highest-profile CB tandems by obtaining Ramsey to play across from Xavien Howard. But Fangio’s recent run of bad injury luck followed him to South Florida. After seeing Bradley Chubb and Von Miller rarely suit up together in Denver, the acclaimed defensive mind lost Ramsey from his new equation early. That equation is about to change for the better.
Ramsey went down in late July, and while an initial report revealed a six- to eight-week return timetable, he underwent full meniscus repair surgery that moved back the re-emergence date until the season’s second half. Shortly after Dolphins cornerbacks coach Sam Madison said November would be a realistic return window, Ramsey is close to beating even that proclamation. His comeback would strengthen a defense that ranks 20th in points allowed and 26th in yards yielded.
The former Jaguars top-five pick has three first-team All-Pro honors on his resume. No active cornerback matches that, with the first of Patrick Peterson‘s three such achievements coming for return-game work. Requiring two first-round picks as a 2019 trade acquisition, Ramsey played a lead role in helping the Rams to a Super Bowl title. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020 and ’21, and while the Rams struggled last season as they lost key personnel to injuries, Pro Football Focus still ranked Ramsey as a top-five corner.
Miami has used Kader Kohou as a regular alongside Howard this season; this is a familiar role for the 2022 UDFA, who stepped in for Byron Jones as he could not recover for the 2022 season. Late-summer addition Eli Apple has cleared the 250-snap barrier, with veteran special-teamer Justin Bethel also seeing a regular role in Fangio’s defense. Second-round pick Cam Smith has not carved out a spot in Fangio’s defense.
The Dolphins’ schedule heats up this week, with the Eagles on tap. After a Week 8 date against the Patriots, the Dolphins head to Germany for a Chiefs tilt. Ramsey returning ahead of that Nov. 5 matchup would obviously strengthen the team’s chances of prevailing in what stands to be a pivotal overseas matchup — perhaps the biggest game the NFL has sent to Europe — for AFC home-field advantage purposes.
Wilson was placed on injured reserve at the end of August while dealing with finger and midsection injuries. That designation guaranteed at least a four-week absence to begin the campaign, but head coach Mike McDaniel‘s remarks suggested a lengthier absence may have been in store. After five missed contests, Wilson will be able to return as early as this Sunday if he is activated in the coming days.
Players have 21 days to be activated once they are cleared to return to practice. The Dolphins will thus have plenty of time to evaluate Wilson this week before deciding if will be immediately be brought back into the team’s RB rotation. A role of some kind will no doubt await the 27-year-old when he is able to suit up, though, as he will look to continue the success he had in Miami last season and carry on the team’s production on the ground.
Wilson spent his first four-plus NFL seasons with the 49ers, but after their Christian McCaffreyacquisition he was traded to the Dolphins. That move saw the former UDFA log a similar workload to the one he had in San Francisco, and he averaged 4.7 yards per carry while recording 486 scrimmage yards and four total touchdowns. Wilson – like fellow back Raheem Mostert– was retained in the offseason as Miami looked to maintain stability at the RB spot.
Despite having Wilson’s two-year deal on the books, the Dolphins were considered a favorite to sign Dalvin Cook, and they were suitors in a potential trade acquisition of Jonathan Taylor. In the end, though, the only main addition made at the running back spot was the selection of De’Von Achanein the third round of April’s draft, a move which has proven to be shrewd. The Texas A&M product has turned 38 attempts into 460 rushing yards, good for an absurd 12.1 yards per carry average, while scoring seven total touchdowns. He and Mostert have helped power the Dolphins to a league-leading average of 186 rushing yards per game.
Wilson will likely displace Salvon Ahmed(who has been used sparingly to date) in the lineup when he is activated. The latter entered roster cutdowns in a precarious position given the logjam of capable backs already on the team, something which led to Myles Gaskin‘s departure. It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins proceed with Ahmed once three backs are again ahead of him on the depth chart – including Achane, who is expected to handle an increased workload moving forward. Miami has its full complement of eight IR activations available at the moment.
For now, Taylor remains on the Colts, set to begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. But the trade deadline is nearly two months away (October 31). That gives the Dolphins more time. One player the Colts asked about will almost certainly not be on the table if/when the sides huddle up on talks again. GM Chris Grier laughed upon indicating (via ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques) Jaylen Waddle would not be available in a trade, “no matter who they’re calling about.”
The Colts are believed to have asked about Waddle during Taylor talks that included a back-and-forth featuring players and picks. Despite the Dolphins being tied to Taylor for nearly two weeks now, Grier said no offers emerged from either side. A recent report indicated at least two teams made offers, and it is a bit difficult to imagine the Dolphins were not one of those. But Grier said the Dolphins “feel good about their running back room,” perLouis-Jacques.
Miami has been connected to inquiring on Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, D’Andre Swift and Dalvin Cook over the past five-plus months. The team pursued Cook in both a trade, coming close to a deal with the Vikings, and in free agency. But the Jets landed the Miami native on a one-year, $7MM deal. The Dolphins then cut Myles Gaskin, whom they re-signed this offseason, and placed Jeff Wilson on IR. This leaves Raheem Mostert, Salvon Ahmed, third-rounder Devon Achaneand rookie UDFA Chris Brooks as Miami’s available RBs. Achane is also nursing a shoulder injury.
While Mike McDaniel said he would not be surprised if Wilson returns this season, the running back’s agent — Drew Rosenhaus — said (via WSVN’s Josh Moser) his client is dealing with rib and pinkie finger injuries and should not be sidelined for long after the mandatory four-game absence requirement ends. Acquired just before last year’s trade deadline and re-signing with the Dolphins this offseason, Wilson also missed the start of the 2021 season due to a summer foot injury.
On Waddle, it is unsurprising the Dolphins would scoff at including him in a deal for Taylor. The former No. 6 overall pick is one of the NFL’s best young wide receivers. While he is the No. 2 target on the Dolphins behind Tyreek Hill, the Alabama alum zoomed to a 1,356-yard, eight-touchdown season and led the NFL in yards per reception (18.1). Waddle can be kept on his rookie deal through 2025, once the Dolphins exercise his fifth-year option by May 2024.
Waddle being included in the talks for Taylor, during a period in which wideout value has soared well past that of running backs, makes it worth wondering how serious the Colts are about dealing the 2021 rushing champion. Immediately after Taylor’s trade request became public, Jim Irsayshot down the notion the disgruntled back would be moved. Rumblings about some among the Colts warming up to the idea surfaced, but this situation is on pause for the foreseeable future.
Jalen Ramsey is not set to make his Dolphins debut for months. With the All-Pro cornerback in the team’s plans for 2023, he needed to be placed on the 53-man roster before an IR move could commence. The latter transaction will take place Thursday morning.
Ramsey is now on IR, and running back Jeff Wilson joins him. The latter sustained a finger injury recently. The Dolphins also placed offensive lineman Robert Jones on IR and signed cornerback Justin Bethel. Wilson must miss at least four games because of this designation. Mike McDaniel said a midsection issue also led to Wilson landing on IR; the second-year coach added he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Wilson returns this season, via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. That comment does not make it sound like Wilson is a lock to come back when first eligible.
Thursday’s moves give the Dolphins three potential IR-return players. Ramsey’s knee injury required surgery, a procedure that is expected to sideline the trade acquisition until at least December. Teams can bring up to eight players off IR per season, with the NFL reintroducing a limit on such moves last year.
Wilson will begin a second season on an injured list in three years. He opened the 2021 campaign on the 49ers’ reserve/PUP list due to an offseason foot injury. Formerly playing for McDaniel in San Francisco, Wilson reunited with the former 49ers run-game coordinator via a deadline-day trade last year. The veteran running back joined fellow ex-49er Raheem Mostert in re-signing with the Dolphins this offseason. Both stayed on one-year deals. The Dolphins also reupped Myles Gaskin in March, but after a release Tuesday, the fifth-year back signed with the Vikings.
Miami kept five halfbacks on its active roster. Wilson’s injury looks to have factored into that decision. Mostert, third-round pick Devon Achane, Salvon Ahmed and rookie UDFA Chris Brooks comprise the Dolphins’ group of available backs to start the season. Wilson, 27, hit the ground running in Miami last year. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry, gaining 368 and totaling three touchdowns in eight games with the Dolphins.
This injury opens the door for an early-season Achane workload, though the Texas A&M product is also dealing with an injury. Achane is not a lock to start the season on time, per McDaniel (via Jackson). Despite only coming into the draft with four selections, Miami used one on a running back. The Dolphins have also scoured the trade market and free agency for available standouts. After being connected to Dalvin Cook for months, the team went back and forth in negotiations with the Colts on Jonathan Taylor. Although no deal commenced — due in part to the Dolphins viewing the Colts’ ask as exorbitant, as one Indianapolis proposal includedJaylen Waddle — the parties can reconnect in talks ahead of the October 31 trade deadline.
Bethel, 33, re-signed with the Dolphins in March and was among the veterans the team released on cutdown day. Miami continues to have the ace special-teamer in its plans, however.
Not long after retaining one of their top running backs from the 2022 season, the Dolphins are set to keep the other. Miami is re-signing Jeff Wilsonon a two-year deal worth up to $8.2MM (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).
Earlier today, it was learned that the Dolphins had agreed to terms on a similar deal with Raheem Mostert, after he enjoyed a career-year in his debut Miami season. Wilson joined in him South Beach midway through the campaign, being deemed expendable by the 49ers after they acquired Christian McCaffrey. Now, he and Mostert will remain in place for the short-term future.
Wilson, 27, had exclusively played for the 49ers before being dealt to Miami in 2022. That time included work alongside Mike McDaniel, whose success in orchestrating the 49ers’ success in the run game helped earn him the head coaching position in Miami. Wilson had shown consistency from an efficiency perspective during his time in the Bay Area, but dealt with several injuries as well.
The former UDFA logged six starts in San Francisco last season, but only one in Miami after the trade. His snap share and number of carries, however, remained nearly identical in his new home. Wilson ran for 392 yards (on an average of 4.7 per carry) with the Dolphins, scoring four total touchdowns. His performance in the Dolphins’ playoff loss left plenty to be desired, but Miami is nevertheless content to keep him in the fold.
The Dolphins made it clear in the approach to the offseason that retaining both Mostert and Wilson would be an outcome they were amenable to. Despite their respective acquisitions, and several moves to bolster their offensive line, Miami struggled on the ground during the season. Further depth could be added, of course, but the top of their backfield depth chart will remain as is when the 2023 season kicks off.
Emphatically announcing that Tee Higginswas not available for a trade, Bengals VP of player personnel Duke Tobin was less declarative regarding Joe Mixon‘s future. The seventh-year running back, one of a few 2017 backfield draftees who entered the offseason with an uncertain place on his team’s roster, has a fairly manageable 2023 cap hit ($12.8MM). Mixon, 26, is still unlikely to be with the team too much longer, considering the payments that will need to be made to the offense’s other high-profile players. His deal runs through 2024.
“I’m not gonna predict the offseason because I don’t have the answers. In the words of the great Kevin Malone, ‘I don’t know,’” Tobin said, borrowing a line from one of The Office‘s accounting staffers, when asked about Mixon. “We’ll all see as the offseason goes what we’re able to get done and how the resources are spread around, but Joe’s been a vital part of our team, a successful part, a contributing part. My job is to try to keep as many of those pieces around as I can.”
The Bengals could save more than $7MM by releasing Mixon and just more than $10MM if he is designated as a post-June 1 cut. The team also has the likes of Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell and Germaine Pratt set to hit the market. The Bengals are near the top of the league in cap space, at over $35MM, and after being aggressive in adding outside talent from 2020-22, they plan to restore their offseason focus on attempting to retain their own players. Releasing Mixon would be a way to create more space, but the Bengals would then need help at running back. Backup Samaje Perine is set for free agency, though he could be retained cheaply if the Bengals decided to cut the cord on their longtime starter.
Here is the latest from the running back scene:
Both Mixon and Dalvin Cook signed extensions just before the 2020 season; Cook’s Vikings pact was for five years, however. Entering Year 3 of that contract, the Vikings are not certain to move forward with their Pro Bowl ball-carrier. While calling Cook a “great player, great leader,” Minnesota GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (via ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert) joined Tobin in stopping short of guaranteeing the former second-round pick would be back. “In the NFL you have a lot of constraints, salary cap, different things, and we’re trying to figure out how we can operate in those things,” Adofo-Mensah said. The Vikings could save $9MM by designating Cook a post-June 1 cut; the team is currently $24MM over the cap. Cutting the four-time 1,100-yard rusher would obviously come with risk. Going into his age-28 season, Cook has been one of the NFL’s best backs in recent years. Though, he has battled injuries and recently underwent shoulder surgery. Longtime backup Alexander Mattison is also on the cusp of free agency.
The Dolphins want to keep at least one of their free agent backs — Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson — and NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe notes the team has discussed the prospect of re-signing both (Twitterlinks). The ex-49ers cogs fared well in Miami last season, and each should be affordable thanks to a flood of starter-level backs being set for free agency. Mostert, who will turn 31 next month, signed a one-year, $2.1MM Dolphins deal in 2022. Wilson, 27, re-signed with the 49ers on a one-year, $1.1MM accord — one the 49ers traded at the deadline.
Fellow former 49ers back JaMycal Hasty is staying in Florida, having re-signed with the Jaguars. The Jags gave their backup running back a two-year deal that can max out at $3.2MM, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Hasty will return to spell starter Travis Etienne, who has two years remaining on his rookie contract.
The 49ers capitalized at the trade deadline Tuesday, acquiring a fifth-round pick in exchange for running back Jeff Wilson. When the offer came in from Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, it was an easy decision for 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan to make, as they had already agreed on the lowest possible compensation they would take for Wilson, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports.
Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with some insight in LA:
After lots of talk around trading running back Cam Akers, the Rams retained the 23-year-old back, allowing him to return to the team. Akers has insisted on multiple occasions that “he didn’t know why he was asked to leave the team,” according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN. He spoke in the locker room and told Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic that “at no point did he ask the Rams for a trade or release.” Regardless, he reported that a conversation he had with head coach Sean McVay yesterday was good for both parties and that Akers and his teammates are glad to have him back around the team.
After three average years in the Cardinals‘ defense, linebacker Haason Reddickmade a request that would save his career, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic. Underachieving as an inside linebacker led Arizona to decline the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option. In an act of desperation, Reddick suggested to his coaches that he revert back to the pass rushing position he excelled at in college, taking advantage of the team’s star pass rusher, Chandler Jones, going to IR. He had been considered too small to succeed at the NFL level as a pass rusher, but the circumstances left Arizona with little choice. Reddick would finish the year with 12.5 sacks, leading to the resurgence of his young career.
It took a while for 49ers veteran defensive back Jimmie Ward to find success in the NFL. For three years, San Francisco tried to force Ward into a nickelback role before eventually settling him into success at free safety. Now, at 31-years-old, Ward has been asked to return to a nickel cornerback role, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. After playing only one snap in the first six games of the season due to a hamstring injury and a broken hand, Ward lost his starting job to Tashaun Gipson, who has simply played well in Ward’s absence. Now, with Gipson firmly at free safety and Ward coming back from injury with a club cast, Ward’s role comes at nickel corner. He’s accepted the circumstances and his new role moving forward with the team.
Minutes after trading away one running back, the Dolphins have acquired another. San Francisco is sending Jeff Wilsonto Miami, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Tom Pelissero of NFL Network adds that the Dolphins are sending a 2023 fifth-round pick in return (Twitter link).
Last week, it was reported that the 26-year-old was drawing trade interest. That came as little surprise, given San Francisco’s acquisition of Christian McCaffreyto operate as their new No. 1 back. Wilson represented one of several veterans at the position who either have been (or have been rumored to be) on the move in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. Moving him will allow the 49ers to recoup a small amount of draft capital after the McCaffrey trade.
Wilson will represent a familiar face for Miami despite the cross-country move, of course. He will be reunited with Mike McDaniel, who is in his first season as the Dolphins’ head coach after working on San Francisco’s staff. Wilson had spent each of his four-and-a-half seasons in the Bay Area, making contributions as part of the team’s rotation at RB along the way. His career high in rushing yards was 600 (set in 2020), but he was enjoying another productive year in 2022 (5.1 yards per carry).
Wilson will also resume his work in a tandem with Raheem Mostert in the backfield for Miami, just as the pair did in San Francisco. The latter signed a one-year deal this March in following McDaniel to the Sunshine State. Wilson, too, has been operating on a one-year pact in 2022. He and Mostert are in line to lead the Dolphins’ backfield for the remainder of the season, after Chase Edmondswas included in the package sent to the Broncos for pass rusher Bradley Chubb.
To say the Dolphins’ plan of teaming Jaylen Waddlewith Tyreek Hillhas worked so far would be a dramatic understatement. The wide receiver tandem has proven to be arguably the league’s best, with Hill and Waddle ranking first and fourth league-wide in yards, respectively. The ground game has been much different, however. Miami sits 28th in the NFL with an average of only 88 rushing yards per game.
That figure demonstrates the team’s inability to substantially improve on last year’s struggles in the run game, something which played a key role in their offensive inconsistency. With Wilson in place now, how much of a step forward the team takes in at least complimenting the pass game (and what is now a much-improved defense) will be worth watching down the stretch.
The 49ers have already been major players on the trade front with respect to the running back position, and they could be making another move soon. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that San Francisco has fielded calls about the availability of Jeff Wilson.
Not surprisingly, Fowler adds that the 49ers are willing to entertain offers on the 26-year-old. The team added a new No. 1 to their backfield last week when they acquired Christian McCaffreyfrom the Panthers. That, coupled with the fact that Elijah Mitchellis nearing a return, leaves them with an impending logjam at the position. With the latter being under contract for two more seasons after 2022, Wilson represents the logical trade candidate.
Wilson has spent his entire career in San Francisco. Since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Wilson has ridden his tenure out on a series of one-year contracts, the most recent being signed this past March. He’s never been the de facto No. 1 back in San Francisco, but a litany of injuries has given him plenty of run as a lead back over the years. After starting 14 of the 44 games he’s played in over the past five years (five of those starts coming this season), Wilson has established himself as a dependable backup.
Wilson has displayed a decent amount of success and production in the Niners’ system. San Francisco has operated in a running-back-by-committee type of offense, though not exactly by choice. Over the years, injuries to running backs such as Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Mitchell, and Wilson have made it impossible to formulate an entire offense around one feature back. The addition of star running back Christian McCaffrey is intended to remedy this situation, despite McCaffrey’s recent injury troubles.
Regardless, the arrival of McCaffrey, along with the eventual return of Mitchell and the development of third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, makes Wilson an expendable asset. Since many other teams expressed their interest in McCaffrey when he was made available, it stands to reason that those teams may still have interest in a running back, albeit one of a lower tier of production so far in his career, so it’s little surprise that teams have inquired about Wilson.
Expect this potential trade to be treated like the Jimmy Garoppolo trade situation. The 49ers have shown that they are willing to be patient when offering up a trade asset that still holds value to them. They will continue to utilize Wilson, like they have Garoppolo, until someone gives them an offer they feel matches Wilson’s worth.