Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offense

With a new look offensive system, featuring plenty of new and exciting additions, which players will make the final 53 man roster? Dolphins ATB breakdown the key roster battles ahead of the final pre-season game.

Credit Miami Dolphins- Roster
Mandatory Credit: Miami Dolphins

In years gone by, Miami’s offense has been stagnant to say the least. While the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle attract all of the headlines, a team is only as good as the depth it has on the roster. We break down which players will constitute the much anticipated Mike McDaniel offense in Miami, and who we think makes the Dolphins final 53-man roster.

Miami Dolphins 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offense

Quarterbacks

  • QB1- Tua Tagovailoa- Lock
  • QB2- Teddy Bridgewater- Lock
  • QB3- Skylar Thompson One to watch

It is somewhat surprising how little we have heard about Teddy Bridgewater during training camp, with Tua taking all of the headlines, both good and bad.

Rather, the biggest surprise has been the emergence of Skylar Thompson. The Dolphins’ 7th round draft pick has been both impressive and consistent throughout the Dolphins’ first two preseason games. During his first two outings in the aqua and orange, Thompson has gone 29/38 for 347 yards, 2 TDs and no picks.

“He looks like he belongs out there. He looks like if he got a call, he would be ready to go…The skill set we saw on tape is what we really liked. The makeup of the guy and the work ethic he has, has enabled him to do what he’s doing. The skill set is there…His feet speak to him and tell when the ball is supposed to be out and where it’s supposed to go. He’s really buying into the details.”

Dolphins’ QB Coach- Darrell Bevell was full of praise while talking about Skylar Thompson during this week’s media availability.

Thompson’s impressive performances have led many to question Bridgewater’s value on the Miami Dolphins 53-man roster, seeing the former Saints QB as a tradeable asset. For the time being at least, Bridgewater is expected to stay with Miami, leaving the Dolphins with the very difficult question of what to do with Thompson.

Available roster spots are few and far between. Miami has not carried three QBs on their final roster since the 2018 season with Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, and David Fales.

Thompson will not likely see the field during the 2022 season. However, if released, it is very likely that Thompson will not clear waivers, having shown enough to be picked up by another team.

In recent years, Miami has committed on average $6 million per year to their back-up QB. With cap space likely to be more of a concern from 2023 onwards with big deals for Hill and Armstead to account for, it may be that Thompson will be a cheaper alternative to acquiring a rental journeyman QB once more.

Running Back /Full Back

  • Chase Edmonds- Lock
  • Alec Ingold- Lock
  • Raheem Mostert- Likely Lock
  • Myles Gaskin/ Salvon Ahmed- Ones to Watch

Miami’s running back depth is perhaps one of the biggest questions heading into the final preseason game. The battle between Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed being the biggest unknown in relation to who makes the Miami Dolphins’ final 53-man roster. Gaskin was consistently the Dolphins’ best running back during the Brian Flores era; his productivity in an otherwise stagnant offense gives him the slight edge on Ahmed.

ZaQuandre White most likely will make it to the practice squad, and may feature during the season given Mostert’s injury history.

Wide Receiver

  • Tyreek Hill- Lock
  • Jaylen Waddle- Lock
  • Erik Ezukanma- Lock
  • Cedrick Wilson- Lock
  • Trent Sherfield- Ones to Watch
  • Lynn Bowden Jr- Ones to Watch

While the above players are locks to make the team for their contributions on offense, the remaining roster spots will most likely be influenced by a player’s contributions to special teams. Lynn Bowden’s all round versatility as a receiver, rusher, returner, and even in the passing game, ought to earn him a roster spot.

The Trent Sherfield/River Cracraft battle is likely to be fiercely contested. Let us not forget that Cracraft was an early recipient of the infamous orange jersey. However, Sherfield’s contributions during camp and overall explosiveness give him the edge.

Preston Williams is likely to be cut, with Braylon Sanders hopefully making his way to the practice squad following an impressive training camp.

Tight End

  • Mike Gesicki- Question Mark
  • Durham Smythe- Lock
  • Hunter Long- Lock

TE was one of Miami’s biggest strengths, now it is one of their biggest unknowns. One thing is for sure: Cethan Carter is almost an inevitability to be cut. Durham Smythe and Hunter Long have been quiet throughout camp. Undrafted free agent Tanner Conner has impressed, however his immediate future seems destined for the practice squad.

What Miami does with Mike Gesicki remains to be seen. It is likely that he will stay, however, one thing is clear: something is not right. Gesicki has been quiet all offseason and has featured long into preseason games, while other starters have been on limited snap counts. Check out fellow Dolphins ATB writer Tim Rodriguez’s article addressing the latest rumors surrounding the star tight end.

Offensive Line

  • Terron Armstead- Lock
  • Connor Williams- Lock
  • Robert Hunt- Lock
  • Liam Eichenberg- Lock
  • Austin Jackson- Lock
  • Michael Deiter- Lock
  • Robert Jones- Likely
  • Solomon Kindley- One to Watch

Here we go again… At least it can’t get any worse… yet! There is no disputing that the additions of Terron Armstead and Connor Williams have certainly bolstered an otherwise woeful offensive line.

With Williams repeatedly struggling with snapping consistency, Michael Deiter has to be a lock to make the final roster in the event that Williams needs to shift back over to LG. The biggest concern has to be at tackle in the event that Armstead goes down. The Dolphins have a lot of versatility on the interior offensive line — not so much at tackle. McDaniel and GM Chris Grier may elect for further depth at tackle in the form of Larnel Coleman rather than Solomon Kindley.

Mike Gesicki Contract Extension: Why It May Not Happen

Mike Gesicki
Credit: Sun Sentinel
Disclaimer: This article is purely speculation, no one has any idea what will happen in the future. I, like most fans, want Gesicki to be re-signed. 

Mike Gesicki is without a doubt one of the Miami Dolphins best players. Not only does he have great chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but he is a playmaker and well liked in the locker room. That being said, the contract of Mike Gesicki is up at the end of the 2021-2022 NFL season.

For fans, it is concerning that Gesicki has not been extended, especially since he is a focal point of the offense. This brings me to ask the question: Is the writing on the wall for Gesicki?

Reason To Worry?

There are really two reasons why Miami fans should worry about Gesicki’s future. One of them being a contract extension not happening yet (or at least talked about) and his misuse/ disappearance from the offense as of late.

Mike Gesicki Contract Situation

Like I said above, it is a tad concerning that Mike Gesicki has not been extended yet. Especially since Dallas Goedert most recently signed an extension which probably raised the price for a Gesicki extension. Goedert signed a four year, $57 million dollar contract, equivalent to $14.25 million a year. This makes Goedert the second highest paid tight end by average money per year.

This means for Miami to resign Gesicki they will have to at least pay Gesicki $13 million dollars a year. This would make him the third highest paid tight end. That being said, I cannot see Miami signing Gesicki for that much. As we saw with the Xavien Howard situation, Miami can play hard ball.

Miami could play hard ball with Gesicki and not even offer him and franchise tag him or offer him less than what he is demanding (we’ll get to both of these later).

Offensive Woes

Gesicki’s presence on the offense during the past couple of weeks has been a lot different compared to last season and some other games this year. There can be a number of reasons for this. Defense’s could game plan for him better or the offensive game plan for that week could not emphasize him are just two reasons.

Now Gesicki’s targets per game are staying about the same week by week. His average yards per catch the past two weeks (weeks 12 and 13) has dropped by about 50%. This shows that Gesicki is being used less downfield and more in the flat. This does not really use Gesicki to his strengths and he is essentially a go up and get it guy.

In addition to all of this, recently, Gesicki seems to be absent for at least the first half of the game. All or a majority of his targets come later on in the game when the Dolphins are trying to secure the win. This can be due to Gesicki being Tua’s security blanket and he knows that if he throws it to Gesicki he will catch it.

Mike Gesicki Replacements

There is not true replacement for Gesicki in Miami’s offense. There is no player on this roster, and very few players in the NFL like Gesicki. Even though his blocking ability is questionable, his ability to make explosive plays and jump start the offense isn’t. Not to mention his chemistry with Tua is hard to beat as well.

That being said, Miami did draft Hunter Long in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft. In addition to that, we have been seeing a lot more of Durham Smythe (who is also a free agent at the end of the year) in Miami’s offense as of late. These are the two players that Miami could have in mind as potential replacements for Gesicki.

Hunter Long

When Long was first draft, multiple fans said he was going to be Mike Gesicki’s replacement and Miami was going to let Gesicki walk at the end of the year. This was due to his athleticism he displayed in college and his ability to line up anywhere on the offense.

Long has not had much spotlight this season. Getting his first (and so far only) catch in week 13 against the Giants. This does not mean Long is bad, he just has not been given an opportunity, as he is mostly inactive during games. When Long is active, he is blocking a majority of the time.

Durham Smythe

Smythe was drafted in the same class as Gesicki and has mostly been used as a blocker. This year and especially as of late, Miami has been using Smythe a lot more in the passing game. Now while he has no where near the targets Gesicki has, his presence in the pass game seems to be increasing.

Smythe is a free agent after this year as well. Now the reason why Miami would opt to resign Smythe over Gesicki is simple: money. Smythe will cost a whole lot less than Gesicki, which may be compelling to Chris Grier and company.

Mike Gesicki Contract Solutions

Now even though it make seem like I have lost all hope that the Dolphins and Mike Gesicki work something out, I still hope something does. There are two ways that Gesicki stays a Dolphins next season. That is the franchise tag and resigning him to an extension.

Franchise Tag

Now is Gesicki and the Dolphins can not agree to a contract extension, Miami could always franchise tag him. The franchise tag will pay him a little under $11 million dollars. Miami may think this is a more reasonable number for Gesicki. With an estimated almost $70 million dollars in cap space next year, the franchise tag may cause more problems than it solves.

Extension

This is the win-win solution. Miami and Gesicki should both want to get an extension done. As I said earlier, the starting point should be $13 million dollars a year. Whether Gesicki will want more than that is unknown as of right now. But I would not be surprised if Gesicki demands at least $14 million dollars a year as he could easily get that in free agency from another team.

Conclusion

So is the writing on the wall for Mike Gesicki? Only time will tell. As it seems right now the answer could go either way. As the season continues to go on it will be interesting to see how Gesicki is used. Hopefully Miami and Mike Gesicki can work a contract extension out, as players like Gesicki do not come around that often.

Practice Squad and Covid List Moves in Miami

Credit: Sports Mockery

The Dolphins were in the news early on Labor Day. LT Austin Jackson and TE Adam Shaheen were placed on the Covid-19/reserve list this morning. The Dolphins also made a number of adjustments to the practice squad.

Practice Squad Moves

WR Isaiah Ford was signed to the Dolphins practice squad. After his release last week, it seemed like it was only a matter of time until he was back in aqua and orange. Ford is familiar with the Dolphins organization having spent most of his career in South Florida. He will be a good piece for Miami to keep around.

Carl Tucker joined the practice squad this morning as well. He spent the entire offseason with Miami but was released last week during the final wave of cuts. In a year where players can be lost due to COVID, the Dolphins want players who have spent time with the team. 

Tino Ellis was released from the practice to make room for these moves.

CB Jamal Perry was activated to the roster. He is available to play as a replacement, per Barry Jackson.

Official Practice Squad

The Dolphins released their complete practice squad roster this morning. Practice Squads are normally made up of 16 players. In Miami’s case, they are able to keep 17. With IPP Pathway player Durval Queiroz Neto, Miami gets an extra player exemption.

Out of 17 players, 13 were a part of the Dolphins preseason roster. 

It would make sense that the Dolphins want to keep familiar faces around during a season in which COVID-19 could disrupt some plans. As a matter of fact, the Dolphins are dealing with COVID-19 issues just 6 days before their season opener.

COVID-19 LIST

This morning, LT Austin Jackson and TE Adam Shaheen were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. 

Due to the NFL’s COVID-19 policies for unvaccinated players, Shaheen will be unable to play in Sunday’s game in New England. Per NFL and NFLPA policy, Shaheen will miss at least 10 days. 

With Shaheen missing time, it opens the door for rookie TE Hunter Long.

Although it is unknown whether Jackson is vaccinated, he may still be available for Sunday’s game, indicating he is. 

If Jackson is unable to play, recently traded for OT Greg Little could get the start at LT. Brian Flores said they will try multiple combinations on the OL this week in practice before deciding the starting OL for Sunday’s game. Although Jackson can still play, the Dolphins will prepare as if he won’t be available.

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Miami Dolphins: Offensive Versatility

As we all know the Miami Dolphins love versatility. Based on the past two drafts and free agent signings, Miami looks for players that can help the team in more than one way. This week we take a look at some of the more versatile players on Miami’s offense and their impact during the 2021-2022 season.

As we all know the Miami Dolphins love versatility. Based on the past two drafts and free agent signings, Miami looks for players that can help the team in more than one way. This week we take a look at some of the more versatile players on Miami’s offense and their impact during the 2021-2022 season.

Lynn Bowden Jr.

It only makes sense that Bowden is the first player on this list. The former high school and college quarterback is one of the more exciting ball carriers in the NFL. Before becoming a Miami Dolphin, Bowden was drafted by the Raiders and was going to be a running back until things fell through with them and he was traded to Miami.

His play-making ability has been evident very early in his career. For those who do not know, here is the viral video of his mind-blowing touchdown that happened in high school:

Bowden’s amazing full-field touchdown

This ability to make people miss has followed him to every level of football and Miami fans saw that last year. Last season there were multiple times where it looked like Bowden was going to be stopped for a short gain and he turned it into a decent chunk of yardage.

Bowden will play a majority of his snaps in the slot just like last season, but after having a full offseason with Miami, Eric Studesville and George Godsey (the 2021 co-offensive coordinators) may have some tricks up their sleeve. Last season Bowden did throw a pass and the co-offensive coordinators may include a wildcat set specifically for Bowden.

Robert Hunt

Yes, an offensive lineman is one of Miami’s most versatile players. As we saw last year, Hunt can be a very good offensive tackle in the NFL. That being said, Hunt has the potential to be an elite guard.

Hunt provides two key blocks on a huge Ahmed gain

Having a player that is skilled in both positions on the line is extremely helpful especially later on in the season when players go down with injuries. Even though Miami added some much-needed depth this offseason, Hunt’s starting job is not in jeopardy. Free-agent signings D.J. Fluker and Matt Skura will mentor Hunt as he is still learning how NFL defensive linemen try to get off blocks, polishing his technique, and recognizing defensive and offensive schemes.

Hunt will be one of our best offensive linemen this season and may even make the pro bowl. From day one he will be our starting guard and show everyone he deserves to be there. Hunt’s experience at tackle could come in handy later on in the season if one of our tackles does get injured so don’t be surprised if he ends up switching between the two positions this season.

Myles Gaskin

Plenty of people, myself included, wanted Miami to draft a running back early in the 2021 NFL Draft. That was not the case and it seems like Miami is giving the keys to Myles Gaskin this season to show everyone what he is capable of.

Obviously last season having to deal with COVID-19 and injuries, Gaskin had limited playing time. But as many people have pointed out, Gaskin would have had one of the better seasons for a running back if he played the full 16 games. Last season Gaskin showed his ability to catch the ball and run block, two key areas for a running back in today’s NFL. This was a breath of fresh air as during his rookie year we saw very little of this from him.

Gaskin shows off his pass-catching ability and his ability to make defenders miss

As I said above, Miami believes in Gaskin and doubled down on him by not drafting a running back early. Expect Gaskin to get at least 20 touches a game whether he receives more targets in the passing game or opportunities to run the ball. Other backs such as Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown will get their share of carries as well, but Gaskin is this team’s bell-cow back going forward.

Hunter Long

The Miami Dolphins selected Long in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft in hopes to boost the offense and potentially replace either Mike Gesicki or Durham Smythe who are both free agents after this season. It was a shock that Miami even drafted Long with three tight ends already on the roster but his skill set will improve Miami’s offense over the course of the year.

Hunter Long showing off his athleticism with a nice contested catch

At Boston College, Long did it all offensively. He lined up outside, in the slot, as a wing, and tight end. This gave defensive coaches headaches as they never knew where Long would line up. In addition to playing almost every position, Long is an exceptional run block AND pass catcher. Having the ability to do all of this at a high level is very beneficial for Long as he can act as he can line up as a slot receiver and block one play, then go out and route a route the next.

Long’s expectations this season shouldn’t be too high unless Mike Gesicki goes down. His workload, especially early on in the season, will be very light as he gets used to the playbook. That being said, later on in the season when Miami makes a playoff push (or even in the playoffs) Long could be their secret weapon to jumpstart the offense.

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