The Dolphins began trimming their roster yesterday, cutting 14 players. That made today’s daunting task a bit more bearable, but the team still had to cut a number of players to get to the 53-player roster limit:
Nik Needham, a 2019 UDFA out of UTEP, has spent his entire career with the Dolphins, appearing in 51 games (27 starts). He started five of his six appearances in 2022 before landing on IT in October with a torn Achilles tendon. His placement on PUP means he can’t make his season debut until at least Week 5.
Tight end Tyler Kroft signed with the Dolphins back in May, but the veteran was unable to beat our younger options for a roster spot. Kroft has seen time in 92 career games (52 starts), hauling in 105 catches for 1,081 yards and 13 touchdowns. He spent the 2022 campaign with the 49ers, collecting four receptions in 11 games (four starts).
With all the adjustments, there’s a chance that Miami may have worked themselves into a situation in which a former first-round pick doesn’t make the 53-man roster at the end of the summer. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, barring injury to his teammates, Igbinoghene may find himself to be the odd man out come final roster cuts.
Ramsey and Xavien Howard are no-brainers to make the roster, as is the rookie top pick, Smith, likely. Ramsey comes in as a three-time first-team All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. Over his seven-year career, Ramsey has started in every game in which he’s made an appearance but one, and that one was his debut with the Rams five days after being traded from Jacksonville. Howard is a former first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, as well. He’s twice led the league in interceptions over his seven-year career.
Smith was a three-year starter for the Gamecocks and had experience outside and in the slot in Columbia. According to another report by Jackson, the Dolphins currently have Smith focusing on playing on the outside while trying to cut down on penalties. His versatility and ability to play in the slot, though, is a point against Igbinoghene, who was drafted to start in the slot.
After that, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen may have earned their spots after stepping up in replacement of the injured Igbinoghene and Needham last year. As an undrafted rookie last year out of Texas A&M – Commerce, Kohou ended the season as Miami’s top-ranked cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He started 13 games for the Dolphins, appearing just over half the time in the slot. Crossen was a reliable injury replacement who contributes strongly on special teams, as well.
Of the returning injured pair, Needham has shown more in his healthy time than Igbinoghene and has had more healthy time. Needham recorded two interceptions in each of his first three seasons in the league before missing 11 games due to injury last year. He was tabbed as the starter opposite Howard when Jones was expected to be out for the year. Miami re-signed him to a one-year deal this offseason after placing a second-round restricted free agent tender on him.
Igbinoghene struggled to stay healthy in his sophomore season, as well, missing 10 games. It wouldn’t reward the Dolphins much financially to waive the fourth-year player, whose fifth-year option was declined earlier this month. According to OvertheCap.com, the Dolphins would only gain about $536K in cap space while leaving about $3.04MM on the table in dead money, no matter when they waive him.
Many were a bit surprised by the use of a first-round pick on Igbinoghene to begin with. Three years later, and he hasn’t done much to inspire confidence in playing up to his draft stock. Only appearing in 32 games out of a possible 50, and making five starts, Igbinoghene has a career 29 total tackles, five passes defensed, and one interception. His injury history has contributed to the lack of production, but Igbinoghene has struggled to make the most of the opportunities he’s been given.
Regardless, the Dolphins have a logjam forming at the cornerback position. Special teams contributions will help Crossen and veteran special teamer Justin Bethel hold on to roster spots, while Ramsey, Howard, Smith, Kohou, and Needham are all expected to stay on the team. That alone would be seven roster spots dedicated to the cornerback position. Igbinoghene will need to have a strong offseason in order to prove he’s still worthy of a roster spot come August.
The Dolphins saw a number of key players go down with injuries during today’s loss to the Vikings. Among them was cornerback NikNeedham, who suffered a torn Achilles (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). His season is over as a result.
The news marks a significant blow on a number of fronts. The 25-year-old had been operating as a full-time starter on the perimeter this season, which represented an uptick in playing time compared to the past two seasons. He failed to register an interception in 2022, and totaled just a pair of pass deflections. He did, however, post a mark of 47% completion percentage allowed, a career-best figure in that regard.
Needham was given a second-round RFA tender this offseason; he and the Dolphins did not agree on a long-term deal afterwards. As a result, the former UDFA was on the books for $3.9MM on the one-year pact. This injury will certainly affect his free agent stock heading into the spring, but also the Dolphins’ secondary in the immediate future.
Part of the cause for Needham’s heavy workload was the ongoing absence of fellow corner Byron Jones. The veteran has been recovering from an Achilles tear of his own, but that process has not gone according to plan. With Jones still not having been designated to return from IR, the loss of Needham will be felt significantly for the Dolphins. Compounding the situation even further, Keion Crossenwas ruled out midway through today’s game as well, leaving the team Dolphins notably thin at the position opposite Xavien Howard.
Keion Crossen is heading back to the AFC East. After starting his professional career with the Patriots, the special teams ace is signing with the Dolphins, reports Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter).
Crossen got a three-year deal worth $10.5MM. The player negotiated the contract himself, per Wilson. The deal contains more than $3MM in guaranteed money, with only the first season of the deal fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
Following his rookie season in New England, Crossen spent two seasons with the Texans, including a 2020 campaign where he compiled a career-high 46 tackles while appearing in a career-high 28 percent of his team’s defensive snaps.
Crossen was traded to the Giants last August for a sixth-round pick. He ended up getting into 16 games for his new team, compiling 13 tackles while primarily appearing on special teams.
August 16th, 2021 at 1:58pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
A trade! On a day where a bunch of bottom of the roster guys are getting let go as NFL teams trim their rosters to 85 players, the Texans and Giants made time to work out a deal.
Houston is sending cornerback Keion Crossen to New York, a source told Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus (Twitter link). In exchange the Giants will send back a 2023 sixth-round pick, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. Crossen originally entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2018. He won Super Bowl LIII with the team, but was traded to the Texans the following August.
Although he’s a cornerback and actually started four games on defense for Houston this past year, he’s mostly known as a special teams standout. As many were quick to point out, Giants head coach Joe Judge was Crossen’s special teams coordinator his rookie season in New England.
His first two years as a pro he was almost exclusively a special teams guy, but last season he was pressed into some action for an undermanned Houston defense and finished with 46 tackles and five passes defended.
Another trade for the Texans. They will acquire 2018 seventh-round pick Keion Crossen from the Patriots in exchange for a sixth-round choice, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).
This marks the third trade of the day for Houston, which sent Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle and landed Carlos Hyde from Kansas City. Crossen was likely on his way off New England’s roster, with the Pats boasting one of the NFL’s top cornerback depth charts.
Crossen played in 11 games for the Super Bowl champions last season, making 14 solo tackles. He played 53 defensive snaps as a rookie.