When Mike White was signed to a two-year deal including $4.5MM in guaranteed money, it seemed inevitable he would start the season as the Dolphins’ backup quarterback. After a noteworthy training camp competition, the veteran has indeed landed the QB2 gig.
Head coach Mike McDaniel indicated (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald) that White won out the backup spot over 2022 seventh-rounder Skylar Thompson. The latter had impressed during training camp to the point where he was believed to have a lead on White at one point. In the end, though, Miami has elected to go with the more experienced option, one who acquired with a larger financial investment than the team expected to make with respect to Tua Tagovailoa insurance policies.
The former No. 5 pick’s injury history has made the backup and third-string QB spots ones worth plenty of attention as his long-term future with the team remains uncertain. White, who took over from Zach Wilson as the Jets’ starter last season and dealt with a rib injury through much of the campaign, did enough to convince the Dolphins to let Teddy Bridgewater depart in free agency. Thompson started Miami’s playoff loss to the Bills in his rookie season, though, and he did enough in the summer to maintain a roster spot.
“This was a difficult one,” McDaniel said of the decision, via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network. “We learned the hard way that you need available players on a roster just in general, and I thought Mike White and Skylar competed all the way until the last rep. And when it really came down to it, I thought they both made just cases.”
McDaniel added that White’s experience helped him edge out the gig over Thompson, who will be eligible to dress as the team’s emergency third QB this season without counting toward the gameday roster. Both passers put up less-than-stellar numbers in the preseason, though, so changes to the pecking order could take place as the campaign progresses.
In other Dolphins lineup news, safety DeShon Elliott will begin the campaign as a starter, Jackson notes. The 26-year-old has started 35 of his 42 career games, split between the Ravens and Lions. Elliott has battled numerous injuries in his career, something which limited his market in free agency. Attached to a one-year, $1.77MM Dolphins pact, the former sixth-rounder will see time alongside Jevon Holland on the backend of a Miami defense expected to take a step forward in 2023. Play in the secondary will go a long way in determining the unit’s success, and Elliott could earn himself a more lucrative deal next offseason with a healthy and productive season.