Nik Needham

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:

RFAs

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

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

Dolphins Cut Kiko Alonso

The Dolphins cut Kiko Alonso en route to reaching the 53-man max. Both moves were rumored this week, but the Fins were waiting to see if they could arrange a trade for the linebackers before letting them go.

Alonso requested a trade during training camp when he realized that he would be squeezed out of the Dolphins’ plans in one fashion or another. New coach Brian Flores is overseeing a defensive overhaul and he didn’t have much use for the veteran, despite his three years of starting experience in Miami. Originally drafted by the Bills in the second-round back in 2013, Alonso won’t play out the two years left on his four-year, $28.9MM deal.

Here are the other moves made by Miami to make their roster kosher by Week 1:

Dolphins Sign 18 UDFAs

We’ll wrap up the 2019 undrated free agent process with the Dolphins, who have announced the signing of the following 18 UDFAs:

Most evaluators pegged Miami’s six-draft class as mediocre, but the Dolphins may have hit it out of the park with their undrafted free agents, as Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld ranked the Dolphins’ UDFAs as the second-best crop in the NFL (behind only the Saints). Calhoun is particularly interesting, as the poor state of Miami’s interior offensive line could give him a real chance at a roster spot. Williams, who was barred from testing at the scouting combine due to a 2017 altercation with a woman, is another Dolphins UDFA with a shot to make the 53-man roster, as Brad Kelly of The Draft Network writes.