Nik Needham

Dolphins Place OL Isaiah Wynn On IR, Activate CB Nik Needham

OCTOBER 25: Although McDaniel stopped short of saying Wynn was done for the season, the second-year Dolphins HC indicated (via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe) the veteran O-lineman will face a tough road in an effort to come back this year. If Wynn is unable to return before season’s end, this will mark his fourth NFL campaign to end early because of injury.

OCTOBER 24: After playing shorthanded throughout last season, the Dolphins are moving toward full strength at cornerback. With Jalen Ramsey readying to make his 2023 debut, Miami will soon see Nik Needham back in action.

The Dolphins activated Needham off the reserve/PUP list Tuesday, moving him close to making a comeback from the Achilles tear he suffered in October 2022. To make room for Needham on their 53-man roster, the Dolphins placed guard Isaiah Wynn on IR. With Needham being designated for return on Oct. 4, the Dolphins needed to activate him by Wednesday to ensure he was eligible to play this season.

Wynn went down with a quadriceps during the Dolphins’ loss to the Eagles on Sunday night, and Mike McDaniel said (via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe) the team’s left guard would be out for weeks. This will force more changes to the Dolphins’ offensive front. Despite an explosive start to the season, Miami has played games without left tackle Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams. Wynn will not be able to return until Week 13, with the Dolphins’ bye coming in Week 10. Armstead is on IR and must miss at least one more game with a knee injury.

Miami added Wynn in free agency, giving the ex-New England first-rounder a one-year deal worth $2.3MM. This low-end “prove it” deal came after a Patriots contract year that ended early. The Pats placed Wynn on IR due to a foot injury in December of last year. That came after a substandard platform campaign, leading to tepid interest in free agency. Although Wynn enjoyed nice stretches as New England’s left tackle, he settled for a low-end deal in Miami. This will be Wynn’s fifth trip to IR. Being moved to the injured list in 2018, ’19, ’20 and ’22, Wynn has missed 39 games as a pro.

The Dolphins made Wynn their left guard starter, returning him to a guard role on a full-time basis for the first time since his Georgia days. Wynn made seven starts at left guard for the Dolphins, and although Lester Cotton replaced him against the Eagles, it is possible Miami reinstalls Liam Eichenberg at left guard. The former second-round pick, who operated as the Dolphins’ primary left guard last season, lost the job to Wynn during the preseason. But he returned to a starting role in Week 6, filling in for Williams at center. The 2022 free agent signing coming back would point to Eichenberg sliding back to left guard. A 2019 Raiders UDFA, Cotton has two starts on his NFL resume.

Given a second-round RFA tender last year, Needham saw his momentum blunted by the Achilles tear. He re-signed with the Dolphins on a one-year, $1.82MM deal, doing so after the team traded for Ramsey. The Dolphins were busy at corner this offseason, keeping Needham and then drafting Cam Smith in Round 2. The South Carolina product has yet to find his footing in Vic Fangio‘s defense. Needham’s return further bolsters Miami’s secondary. Ramsey is working his way back from meniscus surgery and is expected to return soon, being designated for return from IR last week.

Needham, who will turn 27 next week, has started 27 games for the Dolphins. Fangio will be the third defensive coordinator Needham will have played for as a pro, but he will supply the secondary with extensive experience alongside Ramsey, Xavien Howard and Kader Kohou. With Ramsey’s return imminent, it will be interesting to see how the Dolphins reintegrate Needham.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/4/23

Today’s minor moves from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed to active roster: TE Rodney Williams

Tennessee Titans

Mitchell could be a key piece back for Baltimore in the offensive backfield. After the season loss of running back J.K Dobbins, the Ravens have been operating with a committee that includes Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Melvin Gordon, and Kenyan Drake. While just an undrafted rookie, Mitchell could immediately relieve the need for the use of Gordon or Drake off the practice squad. The East Carolina product flashed serious potential in the preseason and led the FBS last year with 54 runs of 10 or more yards.

Denver will certainly be hoping to add Browning back to its ailing defense soon. Especially with Randy Gregory finding himself off the roster today, Browning’s pass-rushing ability could be just what the team needs to get its defense back on track.

Dolphins Reduce Roster To 53 Players

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:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Placed on reserve/PUP:

Placed on IR:

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).

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/20/23

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Caleb Huntley‘s 2022 campaign ended in mid-December when the RB suffered a torn Achilles. Naturally, it’s not a surprise that he won’t be ready to go for the start of training camp, and it remains to be seen if the third-year pro will be forced to miss any regular season time. The 2021 UDFA didn’t play as a rookie but took on a larger role in 2022, finishing with 369 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. When he returns to the field, he’ll be joining a deep RBs room that added Bijan Robinson to the likes of Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Needham, a 2019 UDFA out of UTEP, has spent his entire career in Miami, getting into 51 games (27 starts). He started five of his six appearances last season before landing on injured reserve in October with a torn Achilles tendon. Until Needham is back on the field, Kader Kohou and Cam Smith will have a chance to battle it out for the open cornerback spot.

Release Candidate: CB Noah Igbinoghene

The Dolphins’ cornerbacks room could end up looking fairly different in 2023 than it did in 2022. That’s partially because of injuries that kept players like Noah Igbinoghene, Byron Jones, and Nik Needham off the field for large portions of the year. It’s also due to the acquisition of star defender Jalen Ramsey and the use of their top draft pick on South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith.

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.

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.