NFL Roster Cuts 2011: 8 Miami Dolphins Who Could Be Released on Tuesday
Even though the Miami Dolphins have already trimmed their roster down close to 80, there are still more than a handful of players that may face the chopping block on Tuesday—the deadline for all NFL teams to cut their rosters to 80.
Quite a few very desirable and quality players will hit the open market and the 'Fins will likely ink a few to bolster their roster.
In order to do so, Miami will have to part with a few of their own.
Regardless, the Dolphins have chosen to stay ahead of the curve regarding roster cuts, preferring to cut dead weight and zero-in on which players will make the final 53-man roster and which players will make the practice squad. Expect that trend to continue on Tuesday.
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Pat White, Patrick Turner, and...John Jerry?
At this rate, the Dolphins' 2010 third-round draft pick will join the list of the Trifecta's monumental draft busts. Heralded as a safe, immediate contributing draft pick just last year, Jerry has been nothing shy of a disaster.
Virtually all optimistic outlooks have been decimated. Jerry remains a huge liability when he is on the field; he currently sits behind both Vernon Carey and Nate Garner on the right guard hierarchy. He has posted a handful of dreadful performances this preseason and Miami won't hesitate to acknowledge and act on draft mistakes (see: Pat White), so Jerry might (and should) be cut on Tuesday.
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How long can a player ride one majestic season for? Dolphins fullback Lousaka Polite was arguably the best in the game two years ago, but his play hit a steep decline in 2010.
In fact, Polite was ranked 27th amongst fullbacks by Football Outsiders last season.
Tony Sparano has voiced confidence in Polite, but rookie Charles Clay has outplayed the veteran throughout most of training camp. Polite registered just one carry for zero yards on Saturday; it's time for the team to reevaluate his true value and potential contribution.
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Former Louisiana Tech wide receiver Phillip Livas became a fan favorite when he scampered into the end zone with a 75-yard punt return against the Falcons in Miami's first exhibition game. At just 5'7", Livas is the ultimate underdog; the Dolphins' prospect for finally landing a lethal return-man was exhilarating.
Special teams has undermined Miami for years and they have shuffled kick returners to no avail.
However, Livas' hype train was slowed down a bit when he returned two kickoffs for 37 yards and two punts for 11 yards against the Panthers—and it was derailed when he returned six punts for 40 yards against the Bucs.
The Dolphins are already overstocked with running backs and wide receivers, and Livas' failure to follow up his electric Week 1 performance could have him out of a job come Tuesday.
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Last summer, Dolphins fifth-round draft pick Nolan Carroll was a training camp superstar. He made highlight-reel plays during practice, but looked only mediocre once game time rolled around.
Carroll served as Miami's primary kick returner during his rookie season and only barely factored into the defensive back rotation.
Heading into his second season, Carroll figured to inherit a larger role; however, he has struggled mightily through the Dolphins' first three preseason games. Carroll's outlook hinges largely on Will Allen's status with the team. If he retains a roster spot, there might not be room or desire for Carroll, who also lost return duties to Clyde Gates.
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After the Dolphins offense grew frustratingly lethargic during the 2010 season, Jeff Ireland publicly laid out a blueprint for the 2011 off season, which focused on bringing in speedy, dynamic players to invigorate the team.
The Dolphins scooped up speedy Nic Grigsby as an undrafted free-agent, but the former Arizona Wildcat has amassed a measly 10 carries for 21 yards in the team's first three preseason games. Even though Miami cut scat-back Kory Sheets, Grigsby didn't even record a carry against the Bucs on Saturday.
Grigsby has virtually no shot at making the 53-man roster, but might get a shot at the practice squad.
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Seventh-round draft picks rarely hang on to NFL rosters for more than a handful of seasons, and Austin Spitler does not appear to be any exception.
The 'Fins took a flier on the former Ohio State linebacker in the 2010 NFL draft after he posted a 4.7 40-time. Spitler had a brilliant special teams outlook, but has failed to make any serious contributions thus far.
An ankle injury has kept Spitler sidelined for most of this preseason and his absence severely hinders his chances of latching onto the practice squad for another season. However, if Miami likes his potential enough, Spitler might get another shot to prove his value.
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Three years ago, Will Allen anchored Miami's secondary to a playoff appearance, but a pair of lingering injuries have derailed his career.
A bad knee has kept Allen sidelined for most of the past two seasons, but he was supposed to return with a clean bill of health this summer and factor into the team's top three cornerback rotation. However, he has been a ghost at training camp and made his debut against Tampa Bay on Saturday.
There's no doubting Allen's theoretical value to this team, but we still don't know if he is healthy nor if he will be effective once he returns to action. He looked mediocre on Saturday, but it's unfair to judge him in such limited action in his first game back in nearly two years.
It is highly, highly unlikely Allen is cut on Tuesday, but if the Dolphins are not pleased with his progress then it remains plausible.
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After losing the starting free safety battle to Chris Clemons last summer, Tyrone Culver became a complete afterthought. He recorded only 11 tackles last season, and as the Dolphins add promising youngsters, Culver's role becomes increasingly slim.
Surrendering an inexcusable touchdown against the Falcons three weeks ago didn't exactly help his case.
Harry Douglas grabbed a touchdown reception on a pass that Culver should have most definitely broken up. Miami clearly likes Culver's potential, but unless he starts making plays or shows he can be a valuable special teams contributor, he will be cut.