Noah Igbinoghene

Dolphins Trade CB Noah Igbinoghene To Cowboys For CB Kelvin Joseph

An all-cornerback swap has taken place amidst today’s roster fluctuations. The Dolphins are sending Noah Igbinoghene to the Cowboys in exchange for Kelvin Joseph, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Igbinoghene came to Miami facing high expectations as a first-round pick in 2020. A converted receiver, he was always considered a long-term project, but his size and athleticism suggested considerable potential at the NFL level. The 23-year-old has not been able to establish himself with the Dolphins, however, and he found himself on the roster bubble this offseason.

The Auburn product played a full season as a rookie, but he made just 16 appearances in the two years since then. Igbinoghene totaled 29 tackles and one interception during his underwhelming time in South Beach, and now he will receive a fresh start with one year remaining on his rookie contract. The Dolphins have Jalen Ramsey, Xavien Howard, Eli Apple, Kader Kohou and second-round rookie Cam Smith remaining at the CB spot.

The Cowboys are similarly set at the top of their depth chart with the recently-extended Trevon Diggs and former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore headlining their corners. Igbinoghene will attempt to carve out a depth role in Dallas, and in doing so secure a future beyond 2023 with the team. Joseph was not able to do so during his two-year stint with the Cowboys. The former second-rounder made 26 appearances, and three starts, during his time in Dallas.

Joseph, 22, was connected to a shooting incident last spring, but by July he had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. That off-the-field news opened the door to an improved season as part of Dallas’ strong secondary, but the Kentucky product was used almost exclusively on special teams. Similar usage will likely await him in Miami, especially once Ramsey has recovered from the knee surgery which will cost him time in the regular season.

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 To Decline Fifth-Year Options On T Austin Jackson, CB Noah Igbinoghene

While the Dolphins picked up Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option early this offseason, they have long been expected to pass on the 2024 guarantees for their other two 2020 first-round picks. The team will officially head in that direction soon.

Near the deadline for teams to decide on 2020 first-rounders’ options, the Dolphins will pass on the options for tackle Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jackson would have been tied to a $14.18MM salary — Tier 3 for tackles on the four-tier option structure — while Igbinoghene would have seen a fully guaranteed $11.51MM (Tier 4 for corners) had the Dolphins exercised his option. Both players are now in contract years.

Igbinoghene is far from certain to even stay on Miami’s roster this coming season, but the team still has big plans for Jackson. Despite the USC alum’s ankle injury costing him 15 games in 2022, the Dolphins are still eyeing him as their right tackle starter. The team has moved Jackson around its line, shuttling him from left tackle to guard to right tackle in three offseasons. This will be the first time Jackson will work at the same position in consecutive offseasons as a pro.

Although the Dolphins did not draft a tackle until Round 7, the team expressed interest in veteran George Fant earlier this offseason. With the deadline for signings to affect teams’ 2024 compensatory formulas in the rearview mirror, the Dolphins are freer to proceed with a veteran addition. Brandon Shell, who became the team’s primary Jackson replacement despite signing in-season, is also a free agent.

The Dolphins drafted Jackson 18th overall to replace Laremy Tunsil, whom they traded to the Texans in a late-summer blockbuster in 2019. Tunsil has remained one of the league’s top left tackles and has since signed two Houston extensions. After not seeing enough from Jackson at that position, the Dolphins gave Terron Armstead a long-term deal. Jackson started 12 games as a rookie, primarily working as Miami’s left tackle, and finished his second season as the team’s left guard. Moved to right tackle in 2022, the 23-year-old blocker suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and was unable to overcome it.

Miami’s Igbinoghene pick — at No. 30 overall — surprised in the moment. The Auburn alum was ticketed to win the slot corner job alongside Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, but he has not shown enough to stay on the field. Igbinoghene, 24, has played only 603 career defensive snaps. Even with Jones unavailable for all of last season, the former SEC defender managed just 238 snaps. The Dolphins also used their top draft choice (No. 51) on a corner, South Carolina’s Cam Smith.

2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2020 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the third-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($29.5MM): Exercised
  2. DE Chase Young, Commanders ($17.45MM): Declined
  3. CB Jeff Okudah, Falcons* ($11.51MM): N/A
  4. T Andrew Thomas, Giants ($14.18MM): Exercised
  5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($23.2MM): Exercised
  6. QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($29.5MM): Exercised
  7. DT Derrick Brown, Panthers ($11.67MM): Exercised 
  8. LB Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals ($12.72MM): Declined
  9. CB C.J. Henderson, Jaguars** ($11.51MM): Declined
  10. T Jedrick Wills, Browns ($14.18MM): Exercised
  11. T Mekhi Becton, Jets ($12.57MM): Declined
  12. WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders: N/A
  13. T Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers ($18.24MM): Exercised
  14. DT Javon Kinlaw, 49ers ($10.46MM): Declined
  15. WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14.12MM): Exercised
  16. CB AJ Terrell, Falcons ($12.34MM): Exercised
  17. WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($17.99MM): Exercised
  18. OL Austin Jackson, Dolphins ($14.18MM): Declined
  19. CB Damon Arnette, Raiders: N/A
  20. DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars ($12.14MM): Declined
  21. WR Jalen Reagor, Vikings*** ($12.99MM): To decline
  22. WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($19.74MM): Exercised
  23. LB Kenneth Murray, Chargers ($11.73MM): Declined
  24. G Cesar Ruiz, Saints ($14.18MM): Declined
  25. WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($14.12MM): Exercised
  26. QB Jordan Love, Packers ($20.27MM): Extended through 2024
  27. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks ($12.72MM): Declined
  28. LB Patrick Queen, Ravens ($12.72MM): Declined
  29. T Isaiah Wilson, Titans: N/A
  30. CB Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins ($11.51MM): Declined
  31. CB Jeff Gladney, Vikings: N/A
  32. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs ($5.46MM): To decline

* = Lions traded Okudah on April 11, 2023
** = Jaguars traded Henderson on Sept. 27, 2021
*** = Eagles traded Reagor on August 31, 2022

Dolphins Interested In George Fant, Unlikely To Exercise Fifth-Year Options On Austin Jackson, Noah Igbinoghene

Towards the end of February, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote that the Dolphins are unlikely to exercise the fifth-year option on right tackle Austin Jackson. In the ensuing weeks, there has been nothing to suggest that the ‘Fins are reconsidering that stance.

Indeed, as Barry Jackson tweeted on Friday, Miami has shown interest in free agent tackle George Fant, lending credence to previous reports that the club is expected to bring in competition for Austin Jackson. That also represents the first reported interest in Fant since free agency opened several days ago.

Austin Jackson, the No. 18 overall pick of the 2020 draft, has yet to live up to his first-round billing. Miami hoped that the USC product would become its long-term answer at left tackle, but in 13 games (12 starts) at the position in his rookie year, Jackson largely struggled. While he got some run at LT in his second professional season, most of his snaps came at left guard, with similarly mediocre results. He then opened the 2022 campaign as the Dolphins’ starting right tackle before suffering an ankle injury in Week 1 that essentially wiped out his season (he wound up playing in just two contests and 84 total snaps).

It comes as little surprise, then, that Miami would decline to exercise Jackson’s fifth-year option, which would lock in a fully-guaranteed $14.2MM salary for 2024. It is equally unsurprising that the team would seek to bring in competition for the RT job.

Fant, who is entering his age-31 season, signed a three-year contract with the Jets in 2020. He spent most of his first year in New York at right tackle, with generally uninspiring results. However, when he was moved to left tackle out of necessity in 2021, Fant blossomed, and his performance even led to extension talks with Gang Green last year. Unfortunately, he was limited to just eight games in 2022 due to knee trouble, and even when he was on the field, his work was not as strong as it was the season before.

The Dolphins used Greg Little and Brandon Shell as Jackson replacements last year, but both players are also out of contract. It seems Miami wants to see what else is out there, and Fant is someone who can at least provide depth at both tackle spots and who would stand a good chance of opening the season as the club’s starting right tackle.

In related news, it would be “unfathomable” if the Dolphins were to exercise cornerback Noah Igbinoghene‘s fifth-year option (worth $11.5MM) for 2024, per Barry Jackson. Igbinoghene, who was selected twelve picks after Austin Jackson in 2020, is clearly not well-regarded by head coach Mike McDaniel & Co., as he was a healthy scratch for eight games in 2022 even though the Dolphins were without their No. 2 and No. 3 corners (Byron Jones and Nik Needham).

Jones has been released and Needham re-signed over the last week, and the Dolphins of course made a big splash to acquire Jalen Ramsey from the Rams. As it stands, Ramsey and Xavien Howard will operate as Miami’s starting boundary corners, with Kader Kohou and Needham both above Igbinoghene on the depth chart.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

AFC East Rumors: Williams, Jets, Dolphins

The Patriots appear to be putting their cornerback depth to good use. One of the Pats’ corners, Joejuan Williams, is now attending meetings exclusively as a safety, Michael Giardi of NFL.com tweets. New England’s 2019 second-round pick, Williams only played 80 defensive snaps as a rookie. But the Vanderbilt product was stuck behind the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones. Those three are back in 2020, but the Pats’ safety group looks considerably different.

The team’s longtime Devin McCourtyPatrick ChungDuron Harmon trio is down to just McCourty, though the Pats did sign former Charger Adrian Phillips and drafted Kyle Dugger in Round 2. Dugger, however, played at a Division II school and has not had much time this offseason for on-field work. At 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, Williams has the size to transition to safety. The Pats frequently used three safeties in coverage over the past several years.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Le’Veon Bell has not enjoyed a quality training camp, with Brian Costello of the New York Post rating the Jets‘ starting running back as the team’s third-most impressive back in camp — behind Frank Gore and rookie fourth-rounder La’Mical Perine. Bell enjoyed his worst season in 2019, but the Jets featured a bottom-tier offensive line. They have since made several upgrade attempts. The Jets have Bell under contract for three more seasons, but just one of them features guaranteed money. Bell, 28, is set to count $15.5MM against the Jets’ cap this season.
  • More than a week after bringing Donte Moncrief in for a workout, the Jets again summoned the wideout to their facility. Moncrief visited the Jets on Friday. This comes after the former third-round pick and veteran auxiliary wide receiver met with the 49ers. San Francisco went in a different direction, however. The 6-4 target amassed 668 receiving yards with the 2018 Jaguars but did not make an impact with the Steelers or Panthers last season.
  • The Jets’ wideout interest stems partially from being without Denzel Mims. The second-round rookie has missed all of the team’s work in pads, with The Athletic’s Connor Hughes noting Mims is not yet doing individual drills (subscription required). Mims suffered the injury during the team’s ramp-up period earlier this month. With 2020 already presenting unfavorable circumstances for rookies, Mims may well face an uphill battle to be an early-season contributor.
  • Dolphins first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene is competing with Jakeem Grant and recent addition Chester Rogers for return jobs, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. A cornerback out of Auburn, Igbinoghene notched two kick-return touchdowns in college. He did not return any punts at Auburn, however, so this would seemingly leave the punt-return competition to the two veterans. The elusive Grant has four NFL return TDs, including two on punt returns.
  • Fellow Dolphins rookie Solomon Kindley still has a chance to be one of the team’s starting guards, with Jackson noting that the fourth-round rookie may be a bit ahead of second-round O-lineman Robert Hunt. The Dolphins still view Hunt as a player who could contribute at both guard and tackle, while Kindley — the No. 111 overall pick out of Georgia — is showing well at right guard. The Dolphins signed Ereck Flowers to play left guard this offseason, and guard-tackle hybrid Jesse Davis may be set to again open as the team’s right tackle.

Dolphins Sign Round 1 CB Noah Igbinoghene

The Dolphins are one player away from finishing up their draft class agreements. But they took care of a key contract Monday, coming to terms with first-round cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Miami acquired first-round picks from its Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick trades last year. The team made the Igbinoghene pick — at No. 30 overall — with the selection acquired from the Texans. The Dolphins traded down four spots, when the Packers moved up for Jordan Love, and further bolstered their new-look cornerback contingent.

Despite the Dolphins rostering two of the league’s three highest-paid corners — Byron Jones and Xavien Howard — the team used one of its three first-round picks to add to the group. Igbinoghene projects as a slot defender, one that may need some developmental time before assuming such a role. The Auburn alum has been a full-time cornerback for barely two years.

Igbinoghene moved from wide receiver to cornerback early in his college career, moving to defense in spring practice in 2018. He started the next two seasons on defense for the Tigers, however. Igbinoghene also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns during his three-year Auburn career.

This agreement leaves only second-round offensive lineman Robert Hunt unsigned. Here is how the Dolphins’ rookie class now stands:

1-5: Tua Tagovailoa, QB (Alabama): Signed
1-18: Austin Jackson, T (Miami): Signed
1-30: Noah Igbinoghene, CB (Auburn): Signed
2-39: Robert Hunt, OL (Louisiana)
2-56: Raekwon Davis, DL (Alabama): Signed
3-70: Brandon Jones, S (Texas): Signed
4-111: Solomon Kindley, OL (Georgia): Signed
5-154: Jason Strowbridge, DT (UNC): Signed
5-164: Curtis Weaver, DE (Boise State): Signed
6-185: Blake Ferguson, LS (LSU): Signed
7-246: Malcolm Perry, WR/RB (Navy): Signed