Nik Needham

Dolphins Re-Signing CB Nik Needham

Cornerback Nik Needham will be continuing his career with Miami after reportedly signing a new one-year, $2MM deal to remain with the Dolphins, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Needham rejoins a group that is sure to look very different in 2023.

Needham has been in Miami since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of UTEP in 2019. Needham failed to make the initial 53-man roster as a rookie but was promoted to the active roster in October of that year and proceeded to start in 11 of his 12 appearances for the rest of the year. Needham recorded two interceptions and 11 passes defensed as a rookie.

For the next two years, Needham was a spot starter and rotated in plenty for Miami’s defense. He nabbed two picks in each of the following two years and tallied 12 passes defensed over that span. He also recorded a sack in each of his first three seasons.

In 2022, Needham was forced back into a starting role after starting cornerback Byron Jones sat out the year with an Achilles injury. Unfortunately, Needham suffered an Achilles tear of his own and only was able to appear in six games before spending the rest of the season on injured reserve.

After playing out his initial entry level deal, Needham was given an exclusive-rights free agent tender for 2021 and a restricted free agent tender in 2022. The Dolphins had expressed interest in bringing the 26-year-old back earlier this year and have officially gotten the deal done.

Most of the main staff of defensive backs should be returning next season alongside Needham, but the supporting staff should look fairly different. The Dolphins acquired Jalen Ramsey in a trade with the Rams and brought in former Ravens and Lions safety DeShon Elliott to compete with Brandon Jones for starting time next to Jevon Holland. With Byron Jones and Eric Rowe hitting the free agent market, those two are expected to have a part in filling those roles.

Needham will likely return to his backup rotation role behind Xavien Howard and Ramsey. He and Kader Kohou will be the top options off the bench when the team needs an extra corner on the field. It’s a best-case scenario for both sides of the deal as Needham isn’t forced to face a discounted free agent market after his injury and the Dolphins are able to return a reliable backup with starting ability.

Dolphins Want To Re-Sign CB Nik Needham

The Dolphins’ defense underperformed in 2022, and their struggles on that side of the ball have resulted in DC Josh Boyer being fired. The team is looking to retain at least one notable member of that unit this offseason, however.

When select injured members of the squad spoke to the media, cornerback Nik Needham indicated that Miami has communicated an interest in re-signing him (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). The 26-year-old has played all four of his NFL seasons with the Dolphins, and took on an increased workload in 2022 with a career-high 78% snap share.

However, his campaign was abruptly cut short by an Achilles tear in October. That halted a season in which he was counted on as a full-time perimeter corner, and likely hurt his free agent value as he approaches UFA status for the first time in his career. The former UDFA played on the second-round RFA tender this season, which gave him a one-year payout of just under $4MM. Now, he faces the possibility of another short-term pact keeping him in Miami, or the option of testing the open market to leverage a multi-year deal.

Needham failed to record an interception in his limited action this past season, after notching a pair of picks in each of his first three campaigns. He only added two pass breakups and 21 tackles, but also allowed a career-best completion percentage of 52.6%. That continued his general improvement over the past two years in particular in terms of PFF rating, which could help make him a viable candidate for a new deal from the Dolphins in spite of the injury.

That could especially hold true given the availability issues the team faced at the position. Byron Jones did not take a snap in 2022, underscoring his disappointing rehab from offseason surgery which was not expected to cost him time in the regular season. That led in large part to Needham’s usage rising to the level it did, and would leave Miami with a notable vacancy in the secondary if he were to leave in free agency. The Dolphins ranked 27th in the NFL in passing yards allowed last year (235 per game), so improvement on that front is likely to be an offseason priority. If the team has its way, that will involve keeping Needham in the fold for 2023.

Dolphins Place CB Nik Needham, LB Trey Flowers On IR

The Dolphins placed a pair of defenders on IR today. The team announced that linebacker Trey Flowers and cornerback Nik Needham have landed on injured reserve.

[RELATED: Dolphins CB Nik Needham Suffers Torn Achilles]

Needham’s placement on IR isn’t a surprise. The defensive back suffered a torn Achilles during Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, ending his season. Needham was operating as a starter in 2022, filling in for Byron Jones while the veteran continues to recover from his own Achilles tear. The 25-year-old is set to be a free agent following the season after being hit with a second-round tender this past offseason.

Miami’s current grouping of healthy cornerbacks includes Justin Bethel, Xavien Howard, Noah Igbinoghene, and Kader Kohou, with defensive backs Elijah Campbell and Keion Crossen also candidates to get snaps at the position. Crossen missed practice today while Kohou and Howard were limited.

Flowers left Sunday’s game with a foot issue, and the injury was apparently so severe that it’ll knock him off the field for at least the next four games. Miami has a bye week in Week 11, making Week 12 a potential return date for the veteran linebacker.

After three disappointing seasons in Detroit, Flowers joined the Dolphins in August. He saw time in four games, although his playing time was inconsistent. He had a significant role during Miami’s Week 3 win over the Bills, a game that saw him collect a pair of tackles. Andrew Van Ginkel could see a jump in snaps with Flowers out of the lineup.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/17/22

Today’s minor moves around the league:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

Dolphins CB Nik Needham Suffers Torn Achilles

The Dolphins saw a number of key players go down with injuries during today’s loss to the Vikings. Among them was cornerback Nik Needham, 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 Crossen was ruled out midway through today’s game as well, leaving the team Dolphins notably thin at the position opposite Xavien Howard.

In other injury news from Sunday, third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson exited the game with a thumb injury. That required backup Teddy Bridgewater to enter the contest, after he cleared concussion protocol. The same is true of starter Tua Tagovailoa, who is expected to return to action next week.

Dolphins Place Second-Round RFA Tender On CB Nik Needham

As the Dolphins transition to a new regime, they did well to ensure Nik Needham will be part of their 2022 squad. Miami placed a second-round RFA tender on Needham.

Friday’s tender decision ties Needham to a $3.9MM salary for 2022. Barring an extension agreement, Needham will play for that amount. It marks a nice raise for the fourth-year cornerback, who earned $850K in base salary last season.

Needham caught on with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and has played extensively, even as the Dolphins added reinforcements at his position. The Dolphins signed Byron Jones to a then-cornerback-record deal in 2020 and drafted Noah Igbinoghene in that year’s first round. In 2021, they signed Justin Coleman. Needham still logged a 60% defensive snap rate in 2020 and played 54% of Miami’s defensive plays last season.

A UTEP product, Needham has intercepted six passes in three Dolphins seasons. He took one of those INTs back for a touchdown, this coming last season. Needham allowed a 73.4 passer rating when targeted last season, by far the lowest figure of his career. Unless an extension is reached, Needham will be set for unrestricted free agency in 2023.

Dolphins Re-Sign DB Nik Needham

The Dolphins are re-signing their final exclusive rights free agent. Miami has agreed to terms with cornerback Nik Needham, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (via Twitter).

Needham has been one of the Dolphins’ better hidden gems in recent years. Needham went undrafted out of UTEP in 2019, and after catching on with Miami during the offseason, he was cut by the team at the end of the preseason. He subsequently joined the Dolphins practice squad, and he was promoted to the active roster in early October. He proceeded to start 11 of his 12 games that season, collecting 54 tackles, 11 passes defended, and a pair of interceptions.

Despite the addition of Byron Jones last offseason, Needham still managed to contribute in a lesser role this past season. While he started only six of his 16 games, he still finished the year with 58 tackles and two picks.

The Dolphins had previously retained their other two ERFAs: linebacker Calvin Munson and cornerback Jamal Perry. Quarterback Jake Rudock was also set to become an ERFA, but the Dolphins declined to place a tender on the player.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/21

The restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decision deadline is a little more than a week away. Some teams are already making their calls in advance of March 17. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here:






Minor NFL Transactions: 10/12/19

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Nik Needham
  • Waived: S Doug Middleton

Minnesota Vikings

  • Promoted from practice squad: LB Cameron Smith
  • Waived: WR Davion Davis

New York Giants 

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers