Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins Discussing Kenyan Drake Trade?

The Dolphins may trade second-year DB Minkah Fitzpatrick before next week, and one report this morning suggested that a Fitzpatrick trade, if completed, would represent the end of Miami’s extensive teardown.

But not so fast. Per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Dolphins have engaged rival clubs in trade talks concerning running back Kenyan Drake (Twitter link). If the team were to deal Drake, it would make a little more sense than the recent trade of Laremy Tunsil and the potential trade of Fitzpatrick. After all, Drake is eligible for free agency in 2020, and quality running backs are easier to find than high-quality left tackles.

But while Drake has not been heavily-utilized in his three-plus years in Miami, he has shown plenty of promise. He has averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry in his young career, and he has also been a contributor in the passing game. Although he would not likely yield a major return in a trade, it’s easy to see why other teams would be sniffing around the Dolphins’ carcass in the hopes of finding worthwhile talent.

However, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald hears from a team source that the Dolphins have had zero conversations about a Drake trade, and he’s also heard that Drake has not asked to be dealt (Twitter links). Though this is purely speculation, it could be that rival clubs have placed calls just to see if Drake is available, and the Dolphins have rebuffed those overtures.

After getting just four carries in the team’s Week 1 loss to Baltimore, Drake reportedly had a great week of practice and is primed for a larger workload going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minkah Fitzpatrick Getting Serious Trade Interest

Earlier this week, the Dolphins gave second-year DB Minkah Fitzpatrick permission to seek a trade, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that roughly 20 teams have reached out to Miami brass and/or Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, to inquire. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) confirms that league-wide interest in the 2018 first-rounder is “real and serious,” and both reporters hear that a deal could be completed prior to Week 3.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the Dolphins are said to be seeking a first-round pick “and something else” in return for Fitzpatrick, and given the number of inquiries they’re getting, that may not be as high of an ask as was originally thought. Miami is still not actively shopping the Alabama product, but the Fins seem to be doing just fine in getting potential suitors to come to them. However, Schefter’s sources suggest that Miami will have to lower its asking price to consummate a trade.

Fitzpatrick is an undeniably gifted defensive back who has been less than thrilled with the multiple roles he has been asked to fill in Miami’s defense to date, though his versatility is one of his best assets. Other than the Cowboys, it’s unclear what teams have talked to the Dolphins about a trade, but presumably teams with needs at safety and cornerback have made inquiries.

If the Dolphins do trade Fitzpatrick, La Canfora says it would represent the end of the team’s teardown and draft-pick accumulation. Miami would be armed with even more draft capital to start its rebuild, though after trading Laremy Tunsil and (perhaps) Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins will need to use some of that capital to reload at LT and in the defensive backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Ownership, Draft, QBs, Cap

As we move closer to Week 2 Sunday, plenty of storylines have surfaced — much of them out of the AFC East. Antonio Brown is on track to make his Patriots debut, Minkah Fitzpatrick may or may not be on the trade block, and a mono-stricken Sam Darnold will miss the Jets’ Monday-nighter against the Browns. But let’s shift to a few items on the league’s periphery.

  • The NFL recently discussed some changes to its ownership policy. With franchise values skyrocketing, the league’s rule requires prospective owners to put up at least 30% of the price. This has produced limited buyers, at least it did with during the Panthers sale. (Current franchise valuations would force bidders to put up at least $600MM.) Seeking input from a quartet of firms involved in franchise sales, NFL owners discussed several matters on the topic of acquiring teams but made only one change recently. Owners of non-NFL teams in NFL markets — such as Steve Ballmer, Mark Cuban, etc. — can now make bids to acquire NFL franchises, Scott Soshnick of Bloomburg.com reports.
  • Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm regularly appears in 2020 mock drafts as a first-round pic, but various NFL personnel are now not so sure he will be part of that class. Executives and scouts polled by Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller expect Fromm to return to school for what would be his senior season in 2020. Operating a run-first offense, Fromm has displayed improved accuracy since being handed the Bulldogs’ reins as a true freshman. However, he’s viewed as perhaps a cut below the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert on the 2020 prospect spectrum.
  • Were Fromm to postpone his NFL entrance, he would likely be joining one of the more hyped quarterbacks in modern draft history. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has begun to generate more buzz than Tagovailoa or Herbert, leaving NFL brass to question the Dolphins’ strategy of using this season to tank for a possible franchise quarterback. “Next year, though? Oh, yeah. Let me get [Ohio State’s] Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence, and our fans won’t care how many games we lose,” an NFL GM told Miller.
  • Projected first-round tackle Walker Little, a junior at Stanford, underwent knee surgery and will miss the rest of the season, per Miller. The 6-foot-7 blocker will then have to determine whether or not to enter the NFL off a lost season or return to school to rebuild his stock.
  • Despite the Dolphins‘ run of moves to jettison higher-profile talent, they are not projected to possess the most cap space in 2020. As of now, that’s the Colts, who are in line to hold $138MM, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets. Miami sits second at $113MM, with no other teams over $100MM. These figures are imprecise with the 2020 cap not yet set, but the Colts’ caution this year in free agency — despite holding more than $100MM in space — stands to again equip the franchise with plenty to spend come March.
  • Free agent wide receiver Cayleb Jones is serving a six-game suspension, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter). The younger brother of Zay Jones, Cayleb Jones was charged with domestic assault as a member of the Vikings during the summer of 2018. He did not make Minnesota’s 53-man roster.

Dolphins Sign OL Bryan Witzmann

The Dolphins have reportedly been eyeing some reinforcement on their offensive line, and it looks like they’ve landed on a veteran. Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Miami has signed offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann.

The 29-year-old has established himself as a versatile, starting-quality lineman over the past few years. He started a career-high 13 games for the Chiefs back in 2017, and he started seven of his 10 appearances with the Bears last season. Witzmann signed with the Browns this past offseason, but he was cut by the organization following the preseason.

The Dolphins traded talented lineman Laremy Tunsil prior to the season, and they recently placed Julie’n Davenport on the injured reserve. The organization was reportedly eyeing some extra offensive line help, and we heard earlier today that the team was working out former Dolphins lineman Sam Young. As Beasley notes, Witzmann is the fifth lineman the team has added since the ended of the preseason.

Considering Witzmann’s ability to play both offensive tackle and offensive guard, he should be able to carve out a role on a line that doesn’t have many definitive starters. Michael DeiterJesse Davis, and captain Daniel Kilgore seem like locks to maintain their gigs, but Witzmann could beat out any of Chris ReedShaq CalhounJ’Marcus WebbDannyIsidoraIsaiah Prince, or Evan Boehm for snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

More Dolphins Veterans Requesting Trades?

Michael Lombardi of The Athletic adds (via Twitter) that the organization doesn’t “bring players as a guest,” an indication that Brown will be active. Meanwhile, Jeff Howe of the Athletic notes (on Twitter) that AB had a “strong” first week of practice with the team, and it’d be surprising if he didn’t suit up for tomorrow’s contest against the Dolphins.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • Following the trade request from Dolphins cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston writes that the Patriots should go after the former first-rounder. Perry notes that Fitzpatrick offers many of the skills that the Patriots seek from defensive backs, and he points to recent trades with the Jets and Bills as reasons why New England wouldn’t be afraid of trading within the division.
  • Speaking of trade requests, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets that the Dolphins are aware of “another specific veteran player’s unhappiness and his preference to go elsewhere.” However, that veteran player has been “disinclined to discuss this publicly.” Head coach Brian Flores said he wasn’t aware of any trade requests besides Fitzpatrick’s.

Dolphins Audition OL Sam Young

Sam Young‘s next stint could be with his former team. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the offensive lineman worked out for the Dolphins.

The 2010 sixth-round pick has managed to put together a nine-year career, including stints with the Cowboys, Bills, Jaguars, and Dolphins. He played the past three seasons with Miami, including a 2018 campaign where he appeared in 12 games (with one start). Young signed with the 49ers earlier this offseason, but he was let go during final roster cuts in August.

After moving on from talented lineman Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins have been struggling to find a logical offensive line configuration. The Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley tweeted earlier this week that the coaching staff was considering changes to the unit, and that apparently meant they’d also be searching for outside help.

Michael Deiter and Jesse Davis seem to have a secure hold on their starting gigs, as does captain Daniel Kilgore. However, any of Chris Reed, Shaq CalhounJ’Marcus WebbDanny IsidoraIsaiah Prince, or Evan Boehm could find themselves on the hot seat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Interested In Minkah Fitzpatrick?

The Cowboys may be exploring high-profile defensive back additions again. With the Dolphins giving Minkah Fitzpatrick permission to seek a trade, the Cowboys have engaged in discussions, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes.

Other suitors loom, with Salguero adding the Dolphins have talked to “several” teams. But the Cowboys are the first to be connected to the second-year defensive back. Stephen Jones confirmed during a 105.3 The Fan interview the Cowboys have engaged in talks with the Dolphins in the past 24 hours but declined to specify the nature of those discussions, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota (on Twitter). Throwing a bit of cold water on the prospect of Fitzpatrick in Dallas, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News notes (via Twitter) the Cowboys have merely kicked the tires here.

After being connected to Earl Thomas for most of 2018, the Cowboys offered a second-round pick. That did not satisfy the Seahawks, and the sides moved on. Dallas retained its starting combination of Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath for this season. The Dolphins are said to want a first-round pick for Fitzpatrick, the 2018 No. 11 overall selection.

It’s also unclear at what position the Cowboys or another team would prefer Fitzpatrick play. The Alabama product has played both cornerback and safety, with the Dolphins also having him work in the slot and at linebacker this season. The endless roving has frustrated Fitzpatrick, who represents one of the Dolphins’ few remaining assets that would fetch a high price in a trade. Miami has already unloaded Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Robert Quinn and Ryan Tannehill in 2019 deals. GMs have been contacting Chris Grier about Dolphin assets since the Tunsil trade.

Fitzpatrick could be under a new team’s control through the 2022 season. A fifth-year option decision will not be due until May 2021. None of his base salaries exceed $2.5MM on his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Place T Julien Davenport On IR

The Dolphins will have to make another new plan at tackle. The injury trade acquisition Julien Davenport suffered will send him to IR, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).

Davenport started in his first game since being acquired from the Texans. But this week in practice, Davenport suffered a hyperextended knee and small crack in his tibia. This is set to force the recent fourth-round pick to miss several weeks. He will now be unable to return until at least Week 10.

Miami used Davenport as its first-string right tackle in its 59-10 Week 1 loss, with guard-turned-tackle Jesse Davis making another position switch in moving from right to to left tackle. The Dolphins recently signed veteran J’Marcus Webb. He and rookie sixth-rounder Isaiah Prince represent Miami’s options at right tackle during Davenport’s absence.

Acquired in the Laremy Tunsil trade, Davenport had already made 19 career starts in Houston before lining up with Miami’s first-stringers Sunday. Webb has started 65 games; he’s been on five teams in the past five seasons.

Dolphins Give Minkah Fitzpatrick Permission To Seek Trade

Minkah Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Dolphins to seek a trade, multiple sources tell Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.

Fitzpatrick, who projected to be a cornerback/safety coming into the league, is unhappy with how the organization making him play multiple positions on defense. During training camp, Fitzpatrick’s mother tweeted that he was being used incorrectly and Fitzpatrick confirmed that he agreed with her assessment.

“She feels very strongly. She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach has asked me to do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.

“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds. So playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what Coach is asking me to do.”

The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, according to Mortensen. If a deal gets done, it’ll be on Fitzpatrick’s camp to find a suitor. Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, has been in contact with several teams and Miami’s asking price appears to be high, as it involves a first-round pick.

Mortensen spoke with a personnel man from a rival team who said it would be surprising if the Dolphins netted a first-rounder for Fitzpatrick. The source was high on Fitzpatrick’s skills, though the pessimism had to do with the 22-year-old’s projected position. He told Mortensen that Fitzpatrick was an “ideal slot corner who can cover, blitz off the edge, [is] intelligent, a good tackler and a good special-teams player.” Another rival GM told Mortensen that Miami is being unrealistic about what their players will get in trades after coming away with two first-rounders in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to play against the Patriots this week.

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.