Teams across the NFL were recently required to drop to 75 players on the active roster for their last preseason game of the year, meaning jobs and dreams were killed simultaneously.
For the Miami Dolphins, most of the cuts coming seemed like no-brainers. Few could tell you who Michael Clay, Nathan Williams, David Hinds, Jeff Fuller, Julius Pruitt, Andrell Smith and Emeka Onyenekwu even are. It’s a sad fact that the first cuts are guys names we’ve never heard, and all the more depressing to them because “first cut” guys rarely ever get a second chance in the NFL.
Then there are the guys that have the foreshadowed cut, like fullback Jorvorskie Lane. A 16-game starter last year, he began to be phased out when the Dolphins moved to more three wide receiver sets. It was all but written in stone when they signed Evan Rodriguez and attempted to add Vonta Leach.
Finally, there are the shockers. The guys like Lance Louis who are supposed to not only make the roster, but take a starting job.
This weekend holds the final set of preseason games and for many players it will be a last ditch effort to make a roster or a practice squad. It’s also important for the teams because the last eight spots are a gamble.
If I cut this guy does he go on to become a superstar in Denver? If I keep this one will he live up to the potential I think I see there? Will this guy make it through waivers to my practice squad?
These are the kinds of questions every team will face before they take on the unenviable task of cutting once more from 75 to 53.
The Dolphins, like many teams, have roster battles coming right down the wire. Who do they choose between running backs Daniel Thomas, Jonas Gray and Mike Gillislee? They can’t keep them all, can they? What about receivers Brian Tyms, Rishard Matthews, Marvin McNutt and Chad Bumphis? Productivity points to undrafted Bumphis, but who knows.
These are far from all the battles in camp and each cut will add or subtract to the strengths of Miami. Could you be the general manager of the Dolphins and make the hard choices? Who would you keep and who would you let go?