Dolphins Training Camp Preview: OL Lester Cotton

The guard/center will be looking to keep his spot on the roster and maybe even challenge for a starting role
Guard Lester Cotton against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the 2023 regular season.
Guard Lester Cotton against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the 2023 regular season. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Miami Dolphins lost one offensive line starter to free agency when right guard Robert Hunt signed with the Carolina Panthers this offseason and fellow free agent Connor Williams reportedly now is drawing interest from other teams.

With the Dolphins needing to find a replacement for Hunt, interior offensive lineman Lester Cotton certainly is in the mix.  Miami brought in free agent center Aaron Brewer from Tennessee, which could indicate a potential moving on from Williams.

Cotton is the subject of our next installment in a series examining the players on the roster heading into the start of training camp, looking back at their 2023 season, how they joined the team, their contract status, and their outlook for the 2024.


Height: 6-4
Weight: 330 lbs.
Exp.: 5 Years
School: Alabama
How Acquired: Signed as free agent, 2022

2023 in Review

Cotton subbed in for an injured Isaiah Wynn at left guard in Week 8 against the New England Patriots, a 31-17 Miami win. Assuming the role of emergency swing guard, the next game against the Kansas Chiefs in Germany saw Cotton on the right side, subbing in for Hunt this time.

After the Chief's loss, Cotton moved back to the left guard slot and played 100% of the snaps in Miami’s next two games against the Raiders and Jets, both wins. He was part of an offensive line that saw 12 starting combinations last season. Following the Black Friday Jets game in Week 12, the musical chairs on the line continued as Cotton didn’t start against the Washington Commanders in Week 13 and played just 19 offensive snaps.

During four of the final five Miami games last season, Cotton was back at left guard. A streak of four games on the left side began during the Week 14 Titans game, which saw Williams sustain a season-ending knee injury. Eichenberg took over at center, staying there to close the season, and Cotton did not play in Week 18 or in the playoffs against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Contract/Cap Info

The Dolphins signed Cotton to the practice squad in December 2022. In January 2023, he signed a two-year contract for $2.14 million. In 2024, Cotton’s base salary and cap hit will be $1.13 million (per Cotton will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2024 season.

2024 Preview

Cotton, Jones, Eichenberg and newcomer Jack Driscoll all could be vying for that starting right guard spot. A healthy Wynn could be penciled into the left guard position heading into training camp, so Cotton’s ticket may be on the right side.

Should Cotton fall short of a starting job, he could be listed as a second-string guard on either side and even compete for backup center duties with Eichenberg. With the amount of movement and cross-training on the line that Miami uses, Cotton’s spot on the 53-man roster is not guaranteed with the team’s overall depth.

Further competition on the Dolphins' offensive line heading into training camp will come from undrafted rookies Matthew Jones of Ohio State, Ireland Brown from Rutgers, and Andrew Meyer of Texas El-Paso.


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Jason Sarney