The Miami Dolphins will cut their 90-man roster nearly in half next weekend, when the team must choose which 53 players are worthy of playing for the franchise in 2013.
There is still some mystery surrounding what decisions the Dolphins will make, but a couple of interesting nuggets regarding the 53-man roster were discussed on Wednesday.
Will the Dolphins keep four running backs?
According to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero and his following tweet, don’t count on it:
The Dolphins are searching for a third RB. Jonas Gray or Mike Gillislee? Both will not make it.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) August 21, 2013
Rookie Mike Gillislee has only averaged 3.0 yards per carry this preseason, but as a fifth-round pick in April, the Dolphins will be reluctant to give up on him already.
The team shelved Jonas Gray on injured reserve a year ago, and the essential rookie out of Notre Dame has fought for every yard in three exhibitions, including scoring two touchdowns against the Jaguars.
Gray has clearly outperformed Gillislee so far, but the former Florida Gator likely has more ability and a higher ceiling for the future.
Given the potential of both backs, I’m a bit surprised that the Dolphins aren’t willing to consider keeping both on the 53. Of course, maybe they are and Salguero was simply guessing that they weren’t.
But if he has insight into the Dolphins’ plans at the position, Jonas Gray needs to steal the show in the final two preseason games to upset Gillislee and claim the last spot.
Could Dolphins cut Devlin?
According to head coach Joe Philbin, Miami is certainly considering it:
“I’ve been on both sides of it, it’s something that we’ll have to consider.” Philbin told the media on Wednesday, regarding keeping either two or three quarterbacks on a roster. “Hopefully we have a lot of tough decisions to make before we finalize the roster. Certainly there are teams in the National Football League that only carry 2, there are some that carry 3. That will be one of those decisions that we’ll have to address and we’re going to have to consider a lot of different factors.”
Choosing to keep Devlin wouldn’t be about 2013. The Dolphins are set with Ryan Tannehill as the starter and Matt Moore as his backup. But in 2014, Miami could be in search of a new backup for Tannehill.
Moore’s base salary this season is only $1 million, but it multiplies by four next year. The Dolphins could save themselves some cap space by washing their hands of that deal next offseason and finding a cheaper alternative to lead the second team.
Miami has been grooming Pat Devlin to potentially be the backup quarterback of the future. And attempting to stash him on the practice squad in 2013 would be a risky play, considering he’d be exposed to the waiver wire.
But then again, Devlin’s hand injury, which sidelined him last Saturday in Houston, could scare away another team’s interest. Keeping only two quarterbacks on the 53 would also open up a roster spot for potentially an extra receiver or lineman.