The month of May began for the Miami Dolphins and the other 31 NFL teams with the last day of the 2021 draft and ended with Memorial Day.
In between, the Dolphins began Phase III of the offseason program, which includes OTAs and the minicamp in June, and continued to tweak their roster in preparation for the 2021 regular season.
As the month ends, we look back on the top 10 stories of May for the Dolphins.
The offseason began with questions about which veterans were vulnerable based on performance and salary-cap considerations, and it was clear that safety Bobby McCain was on the list. So maybe it wasn't entirely shocking that it came to pass May 6 that the Dolphins released the 2015 fifth-round pick, who shared with DeVante Parker the longest tenure on the roster. McCain has since signed with the Washington Football Team.
The Dolphins made up for the experience in the secondary lost with McCain's departure the very next day when they brought in longtime Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots defensive back Jason McCourty. Along with his familiarity with Brian Flores, with whom he spent his first of three seasons in New England, McCourty also brings versatility to the secondary with his experience at both cornerback and safety.
Yes, this constitutes big news because even though the list of opponents and sites (except for international games) is known right after the end of the regular season, this annual schedule release is when we find out when each games takes place and how many of those are in prime time. For the Dolphins, the two things that stood out in their 2021 schedule was playing in London for the fifth time and having only two scheduled prime-time games despite the team's 10-6 record last season.
The Dolphins did the bulk of their work in the 2021 draft in the final two days of April when they made five selections in the top three rounds. The final day of the draft brought seventh-round picks Larnel Coleman and Gerrid Doaks but might be more memorable for producing the longest gap (150 spots) between picks in team history.
Before and after signing McCourty, the Dolphins hosted a couple of former first-round picks on free agent visits, though neither were signed. The first was former Colts safety Malik Hooker, who was followed by former Chargers edge defender Melvin Ingram. With McCourty in the fold, one would think the idea of signing Hooker has come and gone, but the door certainly shouldn't be considered closed when it comes to Ingram.
There wasn't really anything significant that happened involving Tua Tagovailoa in May, but given his stature and his importance, it becomes news whenever comments are made by him or about him. And maybe nothing created as much of a stir this month than when Tua deflected criticism of his receiving corps in the latter stages of the 2020 season by saying he didn't know the playbook all that well as a rookie. That was accompanied by supportive comments from both tight end Mike Gesicki in a Zoom media session and by Lynn Bowden Jr. in a feature on the website Go Long With Tyler Dunne. All that really should matter in the grand scheme of things is that Tua appears to be doing everything in his power to put himself in the best position possible to succeed and take a big step on 2021.
The Dolphins picked up a rookie free agent to add to their own signings when they claimed defensive back Trill Williams off waivers from New Orleans, but more noteworthy were a couple of waiver claims that came up short. In particular, it's significant that the Dolphins tried to claim former Lions second-round pick Kerryon Johnson but lost him to the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a higher claim priority based on the 2020 standings. The Dolphins also lost out on tackle Geron Christian, who ended up claimed by Houston, Las Vegas and Miami.
Offseason practices are back after a one-year hiatus, and the media got their first look at the Miami Dolphins on the field last week. The reality, though, is that there was little from which to glean because the practice looked more like a walk-through or installation session. After all the uncertainty about what attendance among veterans might look like, what we could gather from that one open OTA was that the Dolphins did pretty well in that regard, though some big names were missing for unspecified reasons.
The offseason program is taking place at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in what will be the Dolphins' finale at that location, based on a social media by team vice chairman/president/CEO Tom Garfinkel. When the Dolphins reconvene for training camp at the end of July, they will do so at the new facility on the grounds of Hard Rock Stadium and with a different set of rules — starting with a 90-man roster instead of an 80 limit — than last year. There could be other tweaks, particularly amid reports of the NFL looking to make July 31 some sort of all-league festival.
There was a time when a first-round pick signing his rookie contract in the middle of May would be big news, but that's no longer the case thanks to the rookie wage scale of the past couple of CBAs. Still, it was nonetheless nice to see Jaylen Waddle under contract before the Dolphins even began their post-draft rookie minicamp.