Last season, Miami Dolphins special teams coordinator John Bonamego was fired by the team shortly after a disastrous special teams performance that contributed to a blowout Monday Night Football loss to the New England Patriots.
The 2011 regular-season opener brings another year, another embarrassing performance against the Patrios in prime time and another immediate casualty among those employed by the Dolphins.
The Dolphins have terminated the contract of cornerback Benny Sapp, per his agent. As a vested veteran on the roster Week 1, Sapp will receive his full 2011 salary of $1.9 million as termination pay.
Sapp was a constant victim in quarterback Tom Brady's 517-yard performance last night, which included a 99-yard touchdown reception by Wes Welker after the Dolphins turned it over on downs in the fourth quarter.
Acquired by the Dolphins from the Minnesota Vikings before last season in exchange for wide receiver Greg Camarillo, Sapp appeared in all 16 games (six starts) and totaled 41 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in 2010.
The team did not immediately replace Sapp on the active roster, but The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington reports the team may be in talks with veteran Will Allen for a reunion.
Allen was let go by the Dolphins during final cuts after losing out on a roster spot against Sapp. The 33-year-old started 53 games for the Dolphins before missing most of the past two seasons with a knee injury and also missed time in training camp this year.
The Dolphins also shuffled the cornerbacks on their depth chart, releasing undrafted rookie Vince Agnew. The team has reportedly signed former Indianapolis Colts cornerback Brandon King and it's likely King will replace Agnew on the practice squad.
The 24-year-old King started 35 of 46 games at cornerback while attending Purdue. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free-agent in 2010 and appeared in four regular season games before landing on injured reserve.
I'm sure most Dolphins fans will be happy to see Sapp go after yesterday, but I don't really see much sense in this move and I fail to understand how it helps the Dolphins in 2011.
If the Dolphins kept Sapp over Allen during final cuts and through Week 1, it was because they thought he was the more reliable nickel corner, or they were unsure Allen would be able to hold up all season after constant knee issues. Has any of that changed?
It certainly wasn't the money, as Allen was set to make just $1.5 million in the last year of a renegotiated contract. Sapp will make $1.9 million from the Dolphins this season despite his release, as his presence on the roster in Week 1 guarantees his salary for the season.
So now, after one horrendous game in which the team's two starting corners battled cramps and the team's fourth cornerback, Nolan Carroll, looked completely unprepared for NFL action, the Dolphins have cut their nickel corner and may bring back a guy that hasn't played a regular season game since early 2009.
Allen is still a very good cornerback when healthy, but he is not a long-term option and I'm concerned he won't be able to stay healthy given his age and the time he's missed.
If he doesn't, the Dolphins will be without either man that competed for the nickel job in the preseason, and then we could see repeat performances of last night's ugliness this season.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and currently works for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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