Dolphins Rumors

Dolphins Hire Brendan Farrell

  • Alabama special teams/offense analyst Brendan Farrell will join the Dolphins as an assistant special teams coach, per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com. Miami is attempting to rebuild its special teams staff after losing longtime coordinator/associate head coach Darren Rizzi to the Saints earlier this year. Farrell will work under Danny Crossman, the former Bills’ ST coach who joined the Dolphins earlier this month. Farrell previously served as the special teams coordinator at Northwestern State.

Dolphins OL Coach Wants To Retain Ja’Wuan James

  • The Dolphins will have a tough decision to make on free agent offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, but it sounds like he has at least one fan in the team’s new offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty. “I think it keeps the continuity there, if we’re able to retain him,” Flaherty told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We sure hope he does [stay with Miami]. He’s a good football player. I’ve had an opportunity to go back and watch every game from 2018. He’s a fairly young guy also, so he has some things technique-wise that he can get better.” Agent Drew Rosenhaus (who does not represent James) recently predicted that the Dolphins would make 26-year-old the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL.
  • The Dolphins have hired Mike Judge as their new defensive quality control coach, according to agent Paul Sheehy’s Twitter. The former Patriots intern has spent the past 11 years as Navy’s fullback coach. The team compiled a 84-47 during his tenure.

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This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Sign Jay Fiedler

The Dolphins are expected to end their seven-year run with Ryan Tannehill, the longest-tenured starter (albeit with the emergency-circumstances Jay Cutler season interrupting Tannehill’s time atop the depth chart) they’ve had since Dan Marino‘s retirement. On this date 19 years ago, Miami made a move that helped lead to Marino’s exit.

Transitioning from Jimmy Johnson to Dave Wannstedt, the Dolphins signed Fiedler to a three-year, $3.8MM deal — a low-cost accord even in 2000, when the cap rested at $62.2MM. Mark Brunell‘s previous backup in Jacksonville, Fiedler was brought in as a starter-type option despite having started just one game in four previous NFL seasons.

Marino, though, had not yet retired when Fiedler signed. The Miami icon voided the final two years of his contract earlier that February, making him a free agent. Then 38, Marino would have made $7.58MM in 2000 under the terms of his previous contract. He was coming off his worst statistical season (12 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions in 11 games) but did help the Dolphins to a first-round playoff win. Though, the next round saw Fiedler receive extensive work in a 62-7 Jaguars blowout.

That ended up being Marino’s final game. Following the Fiedler signing, Marino retired in March 2000. But this came after an offer emerged from the Vikings. Quarterbacked primarily by Jeff George in 1999, the Vikings offered Marino their starting job. Rather than trek to Minnesota, which would have stood to delay future Dolphin Daunte Culpepper‘s tenure as the Vikings’ starter, Marino retired as the NFL’s leader in every major passing category.

Fiedler ended up playing five seasons with the Dolphins, signing a far more lucrative deal — five years, $25MM — in 2002. He started 59 games with the franchise from 2000-04. Although Fiedler was never a high-end starter, averaging more than 200 passing yards per game in just one season and hitting the 20-touchdown pass threshold once (2001), he led the Dolphins to two playoff berths. He was the starter for Miami’s most recent postseason win — a wild card-round victory over the Colts in 2000 — and piloted the team to an 11-5 record in 2001.

Though Fiedler went 36-23 in his Dolphins starts, Miami moved on after the ’04 season, signing Gus Frerotte to start in 2005. The then-Nick Saban-led Fins, who were involved in the Drew Brees sweepstakes the following year, then traded a second-round pick for Culpepper.

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Dolphins To Hire Reggie McKenzie

Former Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie will resurface as a member of the Dolphins’ front office. The Dolphins plan to hire McKenzie as a senior personnel executive, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).

McKenzie has not been connected with any teams since being fired from his Raiders post. He served as Oakland’s GM for seven years, though the final season saw the Raiders strip him of much of his powers and give personnel control to Jon Gruden.

McKenzie will join a revamped Dolphins front office. GM Chris Grier now has more decision-making authority than he did under the previous arrangement, with the franchise elevating him and demoting Mike Tannenbaum. The former vice president of football operations is not expected to be with the Dolphins after the draft. Former Bills scout Marvin Allen is now serving as Grier’s right-hand man. McKenzie will join that mix in advance of an interesting season.

Notorious for big spending in free agency, the Dolphins are expected to tamp down their March investments this year. The team is plotting a rebuild that may or may not be based on landing in the best position to secure a top 2020 quarterback prospect.

Inheriting a Raiders team with significant issues in 2012, McKenzie participated in a similar teardown in his last role. Gruden gutted much of McKenzie’s roster last year, but the Raiders — significantly aided by McKenzie’s impact 2014 draft and some big free agency deals — did go 12-4 in 2016 to snap their playoff drought. McKenzie earned executive of the year acclaim for overseeing that 2016 turnaround. The Dolphins have made the playoffs just once in the past 10 seasons and have not won a postseason game since 2000.

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This Date In NFL Transactions History: Mario Williams, Arian Foster

Two years ago today, the Dolphins let go of a pair of former Pro Bowlers. The Dolphins terminated the contracts of defensive end Mario Williams and running back Arian Foster, two players who were expected to play bigger roles during their tenures in Miami.

Williams, a former first-overall pick, joined the Dolphins during the 2016 offseason after having been released by the Bills. Miami inked the lineman to a two-year, $17MM deal that included $11.98MM in guaranteed money, an indication that the organization was expecting at least starter-quality production from the four-time Pro Bowler.

Unfortunately, Williams’ lone season with the Dolphins proved to be a dud. Williams appeared in 13 games with the Dolphins, finishing the campaign with only 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defended. Miami released the defensive end on this date in 2017, marking the last time he’s been on an NFL roster. Considering he’s 34 years old and hasn’t played in the NFL in two seasons, his NFL career is presumably over.

The Foster move wasn’t as unexpected nor disappointing as the Williams transaction. Following a standout (albeit injury-riddled) tenure with the Texans, Foster joined the Dolphins to be a backup to Jay Ajayi. The veteran struggled in four games, compiling 55 yards on 22 carries (good for a 2.5-yard average) before being supplanted by rookie Kenyan Drake on the depth chart. Foster ended up announcing his retirement in mid-October, making his subsequent release predictable.

These weren’t the only two moves the Dolphins made two years ago today. The team also let go of defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who has proceeded to play in 30 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. The team also waived cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who hasn’t earned an NFL gig since that day.

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Dolphins Sign DE Tank Carradine

The Dolphins signed defensive end Tank Carradine, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The veteran has 77 tackles and 5.5 sacks to his credit across 45 career games.

Carradine signed with the Raiders last spring, but was cut in early October after playing limited snaps. Afterwards, he hit the workout circuit, but did not find a new home for the 2018 season.

Carradine has yet to live up to his status as a 2013 second-round pick. Last year, he notched just 1.5 sacks and 19 tackles for Oakland.

The edge rusher’s best season came in 2014 when he had three sacks in nine games. On the plus side, Carradine has done a decent job of generating pressure off of the edge, despite his low sack totals. In 2017, his production would have placed him among Pro Football Focus’ top 50 edge defenders if he had enough snaps to qualify.

The Dolphins also inked cornerback Jomal Wiltz to a deal. Wiltz was on the Patriots’ practice squad in 2018.

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Patriots DB Coach Josh Boyer Joins Dolphins

  • Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has resurfaced as the head coach of the Atlanta Legends of the AAF, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. He originally joined the team expecting to be the defensive coordinator but assumed head coaching duties after former NFL head coach Brad Childress abruptly resigned. Miami’s defensive coordinator for four seasons, Coyle last appeared in the NFL as the Bengals’ defensive backs coach from 2016-17.

Dolphins Hire Jim Caldwell

The Dolphins have officially announced Jim Caldwell as their assistant head coach/QBs coach. Interestingly, their press release did not mention the hiring of Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, a move that has been expected over the last week. 

Caldwell, the former Colts and Lions head coach, interviewed with the Browns, Cardinals, and Jets this offseason for their head coaching vacancies. The Lions made the postseason twice during Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit. And, with the Colts, his teams went 26-22 with one AFC title and two divisional championships.

New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores does not have previous head coaching experience, but Caldwell can provide valuable counsel for him in his first year at the helm.

Capers, 68, recently turned down the Bengals’ DC job, leading many to believe that he would be sign on for the same role in Miami. As of this moment, that has not happened.

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Dolphins’ Reshad Jones Has Surgery

Dolphins safety Reshad Jones had surgery on his partially torn right labrum, as Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets. Jones played most of 2018 with the injury and the operation, hopefully, will enable him to play without pain or setbacks in 2019. 

Jones’ timetable for recovery is currently unknown, however, so its possible that his rehab will interfere with offseason preparation and possibly the beginning of the season. The 30-year-old avoided missing significant time due to the shoulder in 2018, but he did see his tackles per game average drop – he had 6.7 stops per contest from 2015-2017, but had only 5.1 tackles per game last year.

Last year proved to be bumpy between Jones and the Dolphins for non-injury reasons. In November, he yanked himself out of a game after just ten plays. Jones was angry at then-defensive coordinator Matt Burke and head coach Adam Gase for having him split time at safety, but the new regime led by Brian Flores may handle him differently.

Jones finished out 2018 with 72 tackles and three interceptions across 14 games. He graded out as the 33rd best safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

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Dolphins Re-Sign LS John Denney

The Dolphins have re-signed long snapper John Denney, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Denney has been with the ‘Fins since 2005 and is the club’s longest-tenured player. 

Denney, 40, hooked on with Miami as an undrafted free agent out of BYU and has not missed a game in his entire career. His perfect attendance record and steady hands have kept him employed in sunny Miami for 14 seasons, and he’ll be back for a 15th year in 2019.

Along the way, Denney picked up Pro Bowl nods in 2010 and 2012 for his special teams work. He’s also shown to have a nose for the football – he has two fumble recoveries to his credit, one in 2013 and one in 2014.

Denney also boasts a streak of playing in 224 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. He’s tied for the longest streak ever for a long snapper and he’ll own that record outright if he plays in Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.