When the Miami Dolphins released veteran guard/tackle D.J. Fluker off injured reserve with an injury settlement Aug. 2, it signaled the end of his time with the team.
But that doesn't mean it's permanent because the reality is that Fluker could be back — even sometime in 2021.
Based on NFL rules, the amount of the settlement between the Dolphins and Fluker will determine the earlier date he could re-sign with Miami — assuming that's something that both parties would want.
The rule stipulates that a team can re-sign a player released off injured reserve with a settlement after the number of games for which the settlement was plus three additional games (with the bye week counting as a game).
For example, if a team gives a player a three-game settlement, he could be re-signed after six games.
And here's an important stipulation in this rule, for a team to re-sign a player in these circumstances, the injury settlement must be completed at the time of the release or within seven days of being placed on a reserve/retired list. The Dolphins put Fluker on IR on July 29, meaning they are eligible to re-sign him in 2021.
Of course, the question now is whether the Dolphins would want to bring back the 2013 first-round pick of the Chargers, who was expected to be out of action for about a month after undergoing minor knee surgery.
TIGHT END TALES
Dolphins fans by now know that the team signed three tight ends this week to take the place of the three who were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
But the background of those three is what's interesting.
Gabe Holmes was the last one of the three tight ends to sign and the only one with NFL experience, having appeared in 10 games with four starts with Arizona in 2017-18. But check out Holmes' Twitter page and his bio says "assistant coach" for St. Thomas Aquinas High, his alma mater in Fort Lauderdale.
So this suggests that Holmes, who's been out of the NFL since being waived by the Colts on Aug. 31, 2019, was ready to move from his playing career and may be getting a last shot.
For the other two new tight ends, the Dolphins represents their first shot at the NFL — even though both finished their college career in 2019.
Yep, Kalif Jackson and Sal Cannella were signed for the first time by an NFL team when they joined the Dolphins after ending their time at Grambling State and Auburn, respectively.
Cannella already looks like he's got a non-football career lined up, though, because he's got a clothing line called NNella (www.nnelladesigns.com) that he founded in 2019.
The likelihood is that both Cannella and Jackson will be gone once Mike Gesicki, Cethan Carter and Adam Shaheen come off the COVID list, while Holmes might have a shot to stick around a while if he can make a quick impression.
We close with a player no longer on the Dolphins roster, running back Jordan Howard, and his eye-opening comments from Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at Philadelphia Eagles camp, Howard reflected on his ill-fated stint with the Dolphins after he signed as an unrestricted free agent last offseason.
"Last year I went to Miami then the offensive coordinator told me I don’t really fit the offense," Howard said. "That was a surprise to me."
The Dolphins offensive coordinator last year, of course, was Chan Gailey. He was hired Jan. 20, 2020, about two months before the Dolphins signed Howard.
Based on Howard's comments, this is not a good look for the Dolphins.
Why would they sign Howard only to have Gailey tell him he didn't fit the offense? Why would Gailey tell Howard that? Does this mean the Dolphins didn't consult with Gailey before signing a running back who had been a starter and was supposed to be a prominent part of the offense? If not, why didn't they consult with Gailey?
And, lastly, did the whole Howard episode have anything to do with Gailey resigning this past January just one day after head coach Brian Flores said in a media session he expected to have all his assistant coaches back in 2021?
Whatever those answers, the one thing for sure is that the Howard experiment was a fiasco. He ended up averaging only 1.2 yards per carry in five games with the Dolphins after being the opening-day starter and found himself a healthy inactive before the team mercifully released him in early November.