Peyton Manning Was a Key to Selling the Dolphins on Making a Deal for TE Julius Thomas

When the Dolphins were considering acquiring tight end Julius Thomas, offensive coordinator Clyde Christiansen reached out to a former pupil, retired quarterback Peyton Manning, Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reports.

Christensen was Manning’s offensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts in 2009 and 2010. And Thomas caught 24 touchdowns from Manning when they played together for the Denver Broncos in 2013 and 2014.

So Christensen trusts Manning’s evaluation, and it was overwhelmingly positive.

“That (Thomas) figured it out,” Christensen explained of Manning’s report. “(Thomas’) figure-it-out factor was high. That’s what you look for. There’s a guy who came in and probably didn’t know a whole bunch about football, or played very little. His experience was very minimal, and then (he) came in and figured it out and then worked. (Manning) talked a lot about (Thomas asking), ‘Would you stay out and help me with this? Take me through this. Would you watch a little tape with me? Would you explain what you want on this?’ And he still does the same thing. I’ll see him in (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase’s office and his questions are right. His questions and his process are right, which as a coach, (is what) you’re looking for.”

Manning helped Thomas reach unforeseen heights after the tight end was a fourth-round draft choice out of Portland State.

After signing a big contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, though, Thomas had only nine touchdowns in two injury-marred seasons.

Christensen believes Miami is more likely to see the Broncos version of Thomas in 2017.

“There’s no guarantee on any of them,” Christensen said. “It’s on film. I’ve seen it. Hearing Peyton (Manning) talk about him and what he meant to the offense. (Head Coach Adam) Gase knows him inside out. Gase knows exactly what he’s getting and knows how to use him. (Gase) used him extremely well out there in Denver. I have great confidence that we will get that. It’s not a speculation. There’s some – as you like to say – empirical data. There’s data we can see, see him do it (and) see the things we need him to do. That always is encouraging.”

“He knows the system,” Christensen said. “He came up through the ranks. He has a great story. You guys will hear it when you talk to him, but (he is) a guy that hadn’t played a ton of football and (was) learning how to be a pro, learning how to practice, learning how detailed this thing is and figuring it out. So, his story and what he’ll bring to that locker room I think is really good. He’s a pleasant guy. He’s a pro. He asks the right questions. He stays with it until he knows the answer. He’s going to come in, in the evening if he has questions. He’s going to do whatever it takes to find a way to play good football. That’s what we’re looking for. That’s what we need throughout the thing – a detailed, professional guy.”

Dolphins Coach Adam Gase Happy with QB Ryan Tannehill’s Offseason Thus Far

Dolphins coach Adam Gase said it’s business as usual for quarterback Ryan Tannehill during offseason workouts, which means Gase isn’t concerned about the knee injury that sidelined Tannehill for the final three regular season games and the playoffs, Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

“He looks normal to me, just looks like he did last year,” Gase said during Friday’s media session on the first day of a three-day rookie minicamp.

Gase also said center Mike Pouncey, who was limited to five games last season due to a hip injury, is being handled carefully, as he promised at the NFL owners meetings in March when he said Pouncey might be encased in bubble wrap.

“He’s going to be brought along slowly,” Gase said. “We kind of joked about this in the past, about how I’m going to handle him this coming season.

“Our goal is to make sure he plays every game plus more. So if that means that he doesn’t practice as much, I have no issues with that.”

A Rundown of All the Miami Dolphins 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Dolphins 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 22 (No. 22 overall)

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: When one thinks of the “ideal” size for a 4-3 defensive end, a guy like Cameron Wake doesn’t necessarily fit the bill. Neither does Harris, but that did not keep the Missouri product from creating havoc off the edge as a college star. Outside of Wake, there simply was not enough meaningful depth at defensive end on the Dolphins’ roster, so Harris should find himself with an ample shot at playing time. Of note is that Miami also passed on Reuben Foster, as well as on Forrest Lamp, who could have slotted in as a starting guard for them out of the gate. GRADE: B

Round 2, Pick 22 (No. 54)

Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State: Applaud the thinking here by the Dolphins, who knew they still needed an infusion of athleticism at linebacker despite how satisfied they seem to be with Kiko Alonso. McMillan is a three-down guy, whether Miami opts to use him in the middle or on the outside. The surprise, if there is one: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham’s still available. GRADE: B+

Round 3, Pick 33 (No. 97)

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson: Another in-your-face cornerback with size joins a secondary that’s suddenly chock full of them. Tankersly might remind Dolphins fans of veteran Byron Maxwell or 2016 draft pick Xavien Howard—he has that same physical (to a fault) approach. He could be a very good cornerback, or he could be a guy teams attack.? GRADE: B–

Round 5, Pick 20 (No. 164) Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah

Round 5, Pick 35 (No. 178) Davon Dochaux, DT, LSU

Round 5, Pick 41 (No. 184) Nate Gerry, S, Nebraska

Round 6, Pick 10 (No. 194) Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State

Round 7, Pick 19 (No. 237) Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech

A Look at the 2017 Dolphins Schedule with a Glance at the Good and the Bad

The 2017 NFL Schedule is out as well as the 2017 Miami Dolphins Schedule, and here’s a look at the slate for the upcoming season, with the home games in bold:

Sep. 10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM

Sep. 17 at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 PM

Sep. 24 at New York Jets 1:00 PM

Oct. 1 New Orleans Saints (London) 9:30 AM

Oct. 8 Tennessee Titans 1:00 PM

Oct. 15 at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM

Oct. 22 New York Jets 1:00 PM

Oct. 26 at Baltimore Ravens (Thu) 8:25 PM

Nov. 5 Oakland Raiders * 8:30 PM

Nov. 13 at Carolina Panthers (Mon) 8:30 PM

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 at New England Patriots 1:00 PM

Dec. 3 Denver Broncos 1:00 PM

Dec. 11 New England Patriots (Mon) 8:30 PM

Dec. 17 at Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM

Dec. 24 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM

Dec. 31 Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM

What’s Good about this Schedule: If the Dolphins are going to compete in 2017, they need to overcome the Pats, they have them on the road on November 26th, and then a home game vs the Broncos and then host the Pats on a Monday night on December 11th.

What’s Bad about this Schedule: The Dolphins have two of their last 3 on the road, and will face the Bills twice in that stretch. Another key in those three games is a big game against the Chiefs, a good team that likely again will be in the playoff mix in the AFC.

Dolphins Add Former Saints Assistant Coach Joe Vitt as Consultant

Former New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt has been hired as a consultant to help his son-in-law, Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, the Associated Press reports.

Vitt, fired as the Saints assistant head coach and linebackers coach after last season, will focus on special projects with the Dolphins, the team said Friday. His daughter is married to Gase, who led the Dolphins to the playoffs last season in his first year as an NFL coach.

Vitt went 5-5 as the Saints’ interim head coach in 2012, when Sean Payton was suspended in connection with the NFL’s bounty probe. Vitt also suspended six games that season because of his role in the Saints’ off-the-books, cash-for-hits incentive program.

Dolphins Ink Veteran Strong Safety T.J. McDonald

The Dolphins have made another signing in free agency, picking up safety T.J. McDonald, who won’t be able to play until halfway through the season as he has to serve a suspension.

The former Rams strong safety was a third-round pick in 2013, and in four seasons in the league, he’s tallied 218 tackles, as well as five sacks and four interceptions.

Dolphins to Visit with Free Agent LB Zach Brown

The Dolphins are planning to visit with Zach Brown, the top linebacker remaining in free agency, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports citing a league source.

Brown had 149 tackles, four passes defended, four sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles as a starter for the Buffalo Bills last season.

The Oakland Raiders also recently hosted Brown and are believed to be in the mix.

Rumors of Brown visiting the Dolphins began over the weekend, when an associate of a friend of Brown tweeted that he was coming to meet with Dolphins officials. Brown’s intentions to visit, barring something unforeseen, were confirmed by an independent party.

Brown, 27, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans but did his best work with Buffalo last season.

He has 14 sacks in five pro seasons.

Dolphins LT Branden Albert in Jacksonville; Ready to Deal with Jaguars for TE Julius Thomas

The Dolphins and Jaguars are working on a trade involving offensive tackle Branden Albert and tight end Julius Thomas, but hurdles remain, Kevin Patra of reports.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Albert is visiting the Jaguars on Monday to help facilitate a swap. An Albert-Thomas trade would likely happen if both players agreed to new deals, Rapoport reported.

A trade cannot be officially finalized until the new league year opens on March 9.

Albert is set to count $10.6 million on the salary cap. Moving on would save Miami $7.2 million on the cap. The veteran left tackle struggled last season while playing through injury — for reference, Pro Football Focus rated him their 65th best offensive tackle in 2016. However, he would be an upgrade for Jacksonville, who are not picking up Kelvin Beachum’s 2017 contract option.

Thomas’ contract currently runs through 2019, and $3 million of his $7 million owed this year is already guaranteed.