Four days before their players are scheduled to report for training camp, the Miami Dolphins cut down their number of unsigned 2021 draft picks.
The team announced Friday the signing of safety Jevon Holland, their first of two second-round picks. Holland, who opted out of the 2020 season at Oregon, could be in line to compete for a starting job in training camp.
His signing leaves two unsigned Dolphins rookie draft picks: second-round tackle Liam Eichenberg and third-round tight end Hunter Long.
The Dolphins officially announced late Friday afternoon the signings of linebacker Shaquem Griffin and cornerback Cre'Von LeBland, at the same time announcing they had waived defensive end Nick Coe and long-snapper Rex Sunahara.
Given that neither had any NFL experience, Coe and Sunahara both were long shots to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Sunahara's departure leaves the Dolphins without any competition for any of their kicking game specialists: kicker Jason Sanders, punter Michael Palardy and long-snapper Blake Ferguson.
The roster rules put in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic last season will be making a return engagement, which should be welcome news for everybody.
Those rules that were new in 2020 and will be back in 2021 include:
- Expansion of practice squads to 16 players, including up to six who have more than two accrued seasons.
- The ability to protect up to four practice squad players per week from being signed by other teams.
- Elevation of up to two practice squad players to the active roster, without removing any current players, before 4 p.m. ET the day before a game.
- Elevation of an additional practice squad player within 90 minutes before kickoff in the event of a late COVID-19 positive test result.
- Players placed on injured reserve can return after three weeks, rather than six as in normal seasons.
- Removal of the limit for how many players can be activated from injured reserve.
NEW VAN GINKEL
Congratulations go out to linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and his wife Sam, who two weeks ago became the parents of a boy they named Leo.
Sam Van Ginkel made the announcement on Twitter.
Andrew Van Ginkel could be a key player for the Dolphins defense in 2021 heading into his third season after finishing with 5.5 sacks last year.
FANS VOTE ON HOWARD
The Xavien Howard situation is the biggest story involving the Dolphins heading into training camp, so we wanted to get a feel for where fans stood on the issue.
In that vein, we conducted a Twitter poll asking fans whether they wanted A) the Dolphins to redo Howard's contract and give him more money; B) trade Howard; C) keep Howard and force him to play on his current deal.
The leading choice was to redo Howard's contract, with 45.9 percent of the votes favoring that option. The second-next vote-getting was forcing Howard to play on his current contract, with 36.6 percent, followed in last place by trading Howard with 17.5 percent of the votes.
All told, more than four of five Dolphins fans who responded to the poll (82.5 percent) want to see Howard in Miami in 2021, which clearly would be what's best for the franchise for the upcoming season.