Koa Misi

Dolphins Sign Verner, Put Misi On IR

Well, that didn’t take long. Hours after auditioning him, the Dolphins have signed cornerback Alterraun Verner to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). In a related move, linebacker Koa Misi has been placed on injured reserve. "<strong

Misi underwent spinal fusion surgery late last year and the hope was that he would be ready to go for the season opener. Apparently, he’s going to need more time before he can think about getting back on the field.

Misi, 30, managed only 127 defensive snaps in 2016 before going down with injury. In 2015, Misi’s last predominantly healthy season, he totaled 78 tackles and had one pass defensed. Though he’s never had huge sack totals, he did have 12 sacks from 2010 through 2014. Pro Football Focus, for the most part, has always been high on the former second-round pick. In 2014 and 2015, he had scores of 81.5 and 80.8, painting him as a top-30 linebacker in the league. Earlier this year, Misi accepted a pay cut for the second consecutive year, as he agreed to slash his salary by ~$3MM.

The good news is that the Dolphins were not necessarily counting on Misi’s health. The Dolphins signed former Steelers ‘backer Lawrence Timmons to a two-year, $12MM deal in March and used a second-round pick on Ohio State product Raekwon McMillan. Timmons and McMillan project to start along with Kiko Alonso while Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt, Trevor Reilly, and others will come on in support.

Verner did not live up to his big money deal in Tampa Bay, but the Dolphins are not expecting him to be a shutdown corner in 2017. They’ll likely look at Verner as a slot option who could potentially take the job from 2015 fifth-round pick Bobby McCain.

Dolphins LB Koa Misi Still Not Cleared

Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi is still recovering from spinal fusion surgery and has yet to be medically cleared, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Misi recently with a doctor and will do so again in July, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be allowed to participate in training camp, per Jackson.Koa Misi

When Misi was originally placed on injured reserve last October, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported that Misi’s neck injury had the possibility to be career-threatening. To this point, that hasn’t been the case, as Misi expressed confidence in March that he’d be ready to suit up for the 2017 campaign. But the severity of his ailment clearly (and understandably) is giving the Dolphins pause.

Miami made several additions to its linebacking unit during the offseason, and Misi isn’t being counted on as a starter. The Dolphins signed former Steelers ‘backer Lawrence Timmons to a two-year, $12MM deal in March, and then used a second-round draft choice on Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan. Both Timmons and McMillan figure to start alongside Kiko Alonso, while depth options include Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt, and Trevor Reilly.

Misi, 30, managed only 127 defensive snaps in 2016 before going down with injury, and hasn’t appeared in a full 16-game slate since his rookie campaign in 2010. Earlier this year, Misi accepted a paycut for the second consecutive year, as he agreed to slash his salary by ~$3MM.

Dolphins LB Koa Misi Accepts Pay Cut

Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi has agreed to restructure his contract, Andy Slater of 940 AM tweets. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (on Twitter) has confirmed the news. Under the terms of the new deal, Misi gets $1.15MM guaranteed whether he passes a physical or not, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The linebacker does expect to play again and anticipates getting the green light in May. "<strong

Misi, 30, was due a $4.175MM base salary for 2017. Given that Misi only played in three games in 2016 and has likely been squeezed out of the starting lineup, it was an untenable figure for Miami. The good news is that Misi is expected to be fully recovered from his neck injury time in time for the 2017 season and his pay cut should allow him to stick on the roster.

In one way or another, Misi’s restructure is likely tied to Zach Brown‘s free agent visit on Tuesday. It’s possible that Misi’s pay cut could pave the way for a Brown signing, though the Dolphins are still pretty tight against the cap. At minimum, the Brown visit probably gave the Dolphins additional leverage in the restructuring talks with Misi.

In 2015, Misi’s last predominantly healthy season, he totaled 78 tackles and had one pass defensed. Though he’s never had huge sack totals, he did have 12 sacks from 2010 through 2014. Pro Football Focus, for the most part, has always been high on the former second-round pick. In 2014 and 2015, he had scores of 81.5 and 80.8, painting him as a top-30 linebacker in the league.

Releasing Misi outright would have left the Dolphins with $578K in dead money. This marks the second straight year in which Misi agreed to a pay cut in order to stay with the Fins.

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Jets, Dolphins, Misi

The Texans had no intention of bringing quarterback Brock Osweiler back in 2017, as Peter King of TheMMQB.com writes. Talks between Houston and Cleveland began at the scouting combine, per King, and the two sides ultimately agreed on a deal that sent Osweiler (and his contract), a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round pick. While the trade may work out for both clubs, it’s fair to wonder if Houston would have simply released Osweiler if no such proposal was created.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Defensive end Howard Jones is visiting with the Jets on Friday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Tampa Bay did not tender him as an exclusive rights free agent, making him an unrestricted free agent earlier this month. Jones had five sacks in five starts in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in 2016. He is not yet fully healthy, but doctors believe he might be able to get full clearance before training camp, per Laine.
  • Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi will likely either be released or have his salary reduced, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 30-year-old Misi is expected to be fully recovered from a serious neck injury time in time for the 2017 season, but he’s due a $4.175MM base salary next year. Given that Misi only played in three games in 2016 and isn’t guaranteed a starting job going forward, that’s an untenable figure.
  • Meanwhile, free agent guard Jermon Bushrod wants to re-sign with the Dolphins, but the club only views him as a fallback option, reports Salguero. Miami is reportedly “re-assessing the market” at the moment, and doesn’t feel the need to make hurried signings, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Still, the Dolphins need to bring in at least one more guard after agreeing to terms with Ted Larsen, and the team is in fact discussing Bushrod, per Jackson. Bushrod, 32, graded out as a bottom-four guard in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Browns, Raiders, Fins

Broncos general manager John Elway issued an update Wednesday regarding the status of impending free agent linebacker DeMarcus Ware, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “I haven’t talked to DeMarcus,” Elway said “He’s been around, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down with DeMarcus, so as we get through this and get back to Denver, I’m sure I’ll sit down with DeMarcus and we’ll talk about it.”

On the other hand, rookie head coach Vance Joseph has talked to the future Hall of Fame pass rusher “four or five” times over the past couple months. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Ware has made it no secret that he’d like to return to Denver for a fourth season, but his previous employer, the Cowboys, could pursue him if he reaches free agency. Between Dallas and Denver, Ware has amassed 138.5 sacks in 12 years. Four of those sacks came last season for Ware, who appeared in a career-low 10 games on account of back and forearm injuries.

Elway, meanwhile, could become a free agent executive after next season. It doesn’t look as if that will happen, however, as contract extension talks between Elway and the Broncos “going fine,” the Hall of Fame quarterback said (via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post). “I don’t anticipate any problems,” he added. The 56-year-old Elway has been resoundingly successful as an executive, having helped the Broncos to a 67-29 record, five playoff berths, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl in six seasons in their front office.

More from three other AFC cities:

  • Speaking to reporters in January, Browns head coach Hue Jackson didn’t dismiss the possibility of trading the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. GM Sashi Brown backed up Jackson on Wednesday, saying (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com): “We’re going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there. I think we have to do that. It’s not a design of ours. We would have to wait and see what might come, and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
  • Looking to keep the Raiders in Oakland, the Ronnie Lott-led Fortress Investment Group has submitted a formal stadium plan to the NFL within the past 10 days, reports the Associated Press. However, it’s “not moving the needle much,” according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Even after losing financial backing from businessman Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs, the Raiders are eyeing Las Vegas relocation, though two owners told Cole they’re concerned with the amount of debt the franchise would take on in such a scenario (Twitter links).
  • Despite suffering what could have been a career-threatening neck injury last year, Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi expects to be ready for next season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Cutting Misi would save the Dolphins $4.2MM against just $578K in dead money in 2017, but they haven’t ruled out retaining him, notes Jackson.
  • Jackson also has further details on defensive end Cameron Wake‘s two-year, $19MM contract with the Dolphins. Wake will get a renegotiated signing bonus of $1MM in 2017 and a $125K workout bonus in each season.

Major Roster Changes Looming For Dolphins?

At 1-4 with a minus-31 point differential, the Dolphins have been among the NFL’s worst teams this season. There are clearly weaknesses throughout the Dolphins’ roster, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that the team has plenty of players it no longer wants. As a result, executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, general manager Chris Grier and head coach Adam Gase are likely to oversee a significant makeover during the offseason.

[RELATED: Cameron Wake Won’t Request Trade]

The Dolphins already began moving on from players who aren’t part of the solution earlier this week, cutting offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner on Tuesday. Turner is now with the Ravens, who claimed him on waivers, but Salguero reports that the Dolphins couldn’t find any takers when they shopped him and Thomas.

With Turner and Thomas gone, there are a slew of other Dolphins with iffy futures, according to Salguero. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and offensive lineman Branden Albert are among those with nebulous statuses beyond this year, though Salguero doesn’t expect Miami to move on from either. Running back Arian Foster, tight end Jordan Cameron and tackle Jermon Bushrod are all impending free agents who are doubtful to return in 2017 (Cameron could retire). Receiver Kenny Stills‘ deal also expires at season’s end, and Salguero notes that he has a fan in Gase, but the Dolphins haven’t been willing to commit a multiyear deal to him yet. Unless that changes prior to free agency, Stills could head elsewhere for a raise.

Mario Williams

Defensively, ends Mario Williams, Jason Jones and Andre Branch, linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi, and cornerback Byron Maxwell might be in new uniforms next year. Williams and Maxwell, two high-profile offseason additions, look as though they’ll be one and done in Miami, per Salguero. The two have underwhelmed with the Dolphins, who would save $14MM (compared to $5MM in dead money) by releasing them prior to next season. The only other member of the group who’s signed past 2016 is Misi. However, Misi’s career could be in jeopardy, and releasing him would free up $4.2MM in spending room at the cost of just $578K in dead money next season – the final year of Misi’s contract.

Given that the Dolphins’ season isn’t even halfway over, at least some of these individuals could play their way out of the doghouse over the next 11 games. The Dolphins are currently on track for a sizable house cleaning, though, and with the 4-1 Steelers and 3-2 Bills next on their schedule, they could enter their Week 8 bye at 1-6.

Dolphins Place Koa Misi On IR

8:36pm: Misi might require spinal fusion surgery, the same operation that Peyton Manning famously underwent, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. However, Misi will first see if rehab is able to stave off surgery.

6:01pm: The Dolphins have placed linebacker Koa Misi on injured reserve, the club announced today. Misi is dealing with a neck injury, and one source told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that the issue could threaten Misi’s career.Koa Misi

[RELATED: Dolphins Claim Bene Benwikere]

Misi, 29, has seen one specialist thus far and is expected to seek multiple opinions, according to Salguero, who calls the transaction “shocking” given that Miami had given no indication that Misi’s injury could lead to the end of his season or his career. Misi appeared in the first three games of the this season, but was forced leave in Week 3 when he suffered the original injury.

Though Misi would be eligible to come off IR in Week 13, that scenario seems wholly unlikely for multiple reasons. First, if Misi’s injury is possibly career-ending, there would likely be a danger in returning too quickly even if the ailment is not deemed as serious as perceived. Second, the Dolphins are more likely to bring back defensive tackle Earl Mitchell off IR, who can return in Week 8, per Salguero.

Misi is signed through the 2017 campaign. Earlier this year, he agreed to a paycut, lowering his 2016 cap charge from roughly $4.88MM to ~$3.6MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Fitzpatrick, Smith, Misi

About a year ago, ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss focused on Tom Brady‘s praise for unheralded Patriots running back Dion Lewis. The career journeyman’s pass-catching skills were clear, but the running back was also commended for his ability to take “a teaching point that was covered in morning meetings…and [execute it] on the field.”

We all know how that experiment ended up working. Lewis compiled 622 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

Today, Reiss decided to highlight some “under-the-radar” OTA participants who could play a significant role on this year’s squad. Among the candidates were cornerback V’Angelo Bentley (who adds versatility via the return game), receiver DeAndre Carter (played on last season’s practice squad), running back D.J. Foster (undrafted free agent received personal phone called from Bill Belichick to join team), and cornerback Jonathan Jones (most guaranteed money among undrafted players).

While the Patriots determine whether they’ve landed on any hidden gems, let’s see what else is happening around the AFC East…

  • We have conflicting reports as to whether Brandon Marshall‘s absence from Jets OTAs is related to the team’s contract talks (or lack thereof) with Ryan Fitzpatrick. One source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) that there is “no story” with regards to Marshall not being in practice with his teammates. Eric Decker, however, is reportedly staying home to make a statement about his feelings on the Fitzpatrick situation.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith says that he is OK with his teammates voicing their support for Fitzpatrick, as Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. “When I’m out there on the field no matter who I’m with my job is to score points,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence in my abilities and myself. When the time comes when I’m out there, I’ll go out there and perform. As of right now, it’s about what we’re doing here and taking care of business.”
  • Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi was detained (but not arrested) by police following a fight outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub on Sunday morning, according to a police report obtained by the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The report also indicated that the 29-year-old attempted to “flee a police officer” following the altercation. Misi could be in line for a team suspension, and it’s notable that the organization disciplined former defensive end Derrick Shelby following a fight outside the same club.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Dolphins Cut Greg Jennings, Restructure Suh

7:38pm: Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the Suh restructure saves the Dolphins $18.18MM in 2016, while reworking Misi’s contract created another $1.7MM. Add in the $4MM saved by the release of Jennings, and Miami should now have ~$14.9MM in cap room (though, by using Over the Cap‘s figures, that number is closer to $20MM).

6:06pm: The Dolphins have created some extra cap space heading into free agency, announcing today that they’ve released receiver Greg Jennings and restructured the contract of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Miami also confirmed the previously-reported restructuring of linebacker Koa Misi‘s deal.Greg Jennings (Vertical)

[RELATED: DE Mario Williams visits Dolphins]

The 32-year-old Jennings was widely expected to be a cap casualty this offseason, as the results of his first season with the Dolphins was wholly uninspiring. He posted career-lows in nearly every statistical category, catching just 19 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. Jennings signed a two-year contract prior to the 2015 season that did contain some signing bonus money, so while Miami will save $4MM on its salary cap, it will also incur $1.5MM in dead money.

That $4MM savings is a relative pittance compared to what the Dolphins figure to save by restructuring the contract of Suh, however. Suh, entering the second year of his deal with Miami, was set to count $28.6MM against the cap in 2016, the second-highest cap figure in the NFL behind only Drew Brees. But Suh’s pact contains a built-in restructure option for the Dolphins, and as we learned in January, the club had been fully expected to exercise that clause.

The Dolphins didn’t announce the exact terms of the Suh restructure, but as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap noted in that link above, Miami could create about $18MM worth of cap space by doing a full restructure — converting most Suh’s base salary into a signing bonus and spreading that hit over the course of the next several seasons. Such a drastic move is obviously kicking the can down the road, but if the Dolphins want the cap room necessary to be aggressive in free agency, it may have been their only option.Ndamukong Suh (Vertical)

Misi had reportedly agreed to rework his deal earlier in the week, and while no specific terms of the new deal have been announced, previous reports indicated that no additional years would be added to Misi’s contract, which runs through 2017. As such, Misi has likely agreed to a simple paycut that will lower his cap charge from its current $4.88MM, perhaps in exchange for some increased guarantees.

As a result of these three moves, the Dolphins should now have around $20MM to work with when free agency begins on March 9.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins, Koa Misi Agree To New Deal

2:00pm: Misi and the Dolphins have now finalized an agreement on a restructured contract, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. According to Cole (via Twitter), the new deal won’t tack on any extra years beyond 2017.

11:55am: The Dolphins are nearing an agreement with Koa Misi on a restructured contract for the 2016 season, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. The terms of the new deal aren’t yet known.Koa Misi

Misi, 29, played nearly 750 defensive snaps for the Dolphins in 2015, the most of any of the club’s linebackers. In 13 games, the former second-round pick recorded 77 tackles and one pass defended, and while his traditional stats weren’t overly impressive, he was viewed as a strong run defender by Pro Football Focus’ grades. PFF ranked Misi 22nd out of 97 qualified linebackers.

Still, Misi’s lack of playmaking ability (he had no sacks, interceptions, or forced fumbles in 2015), and his inability to stay healthy for a full season (he has missed eight games over the last two seasons) made him a candidate to be released this winter as the Dolphins explore potential upgrades at linebacker.

Misi had been in line for a $4.275MM base salary to go along with a $4.878MM cap hit for the coming season, so a restructured contract with the Dolphins would likely reduce both of those figures, while guaranteeing him a modest chunk of money up front.

Even if Misi returns to Miami on a new deal, the Dolphins are expected to bring in a couple new linebackers this offseason to compete for starting roles and to challenge Misi and Jelani Jenkins for playing time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.