Dolphins finalize 53-man roster, reworking contract and making two trades

The Dolphins trimmed their roster to 53 players ahead of the league’s 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline and made a series of notable transactions along the way.

Miami reworked wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr.’s contract and traded cornerback Noah Igbinoghene to the Dallas Cowboys for cornerback Kelvin Joseph.

Miami and Wilson agreed to adjust his contract, eliminating the 2024 season and reducing his 2023 base salary from $7 million to $5 million, with incentives that can bring the total to $7.25 million. Wilson was originally due a base salary of $7 million in 2023 — $5 million was guaranteed — and a $7.3 million base salary in 2024 but none of it was guaranteed.

The Dolphins will save $3 million in 2023 and $8 million next season.

After posting his fewest catches since 2019 in a reduced role in his first season in Miami, general manager Chris Grier acknowledged that some teams called about the former Dallas Cowboy. But Grier said he wanted to “do right by him.” Wilson has said he did not request a trade and wants to be in Miami, where he figures to settle as a secondary option behind wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

With Wilson retained, the Dolphins released receiver Robbie Chosen, a late offseason addition who shined during spring workouts but fell behind others during training camp.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. (11) speaks to reporters after practice at the Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida on Friday, July 28, 2023.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. (11) speaks to reporters after practice at the Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida on Friday, July 28, 2023.

Joseph, the No. 44 overall pick in the 2021 Draft, has started three games in his first two seasons and appeared in 26 games, recording 36 tackles and four pass breakups. He has been a special teams fixture in Dallas, playing 49 percent of the snaps in 2021 and 70 percent of the snaps in 2022.

In 2022, Joseph was sought as a person of interest in connection with a Dallas area homicide that occurred on March 18. Joseph was a passenger in a vehicle from which gunshots were fired that killed a man last month, but he was not the shooter. One day after he met with investigators, two people were arrested in connection with the homicide.

Igbinoghene, the No. 30 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, played sparingly in three seasons with the Dolphins. He started five games and appeared in 32, recording 29 tackles and one interception. He improved in training camp with a new scheme under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. But Igbinoghene, competing to replace an injured Jalen Ramsey, didn’t do enough to distinguish himself from veteran addition Eli Apple or second-round pick Cam Smith. And his lack of special teams contributions seemingly made his roster spot more untenable.

The Dolphins made another trade, sending offensive lineman Dan Feeney to the Chicago Bears for a 2024 sixth-round pick. Feeney, who signed a one-year deal in the first week of free agency, never pushed for the starting left guard spot despite a few dozen starts as an interior lineman. With undrafted rookie center Alama Uluave waived, coach Mike McDaniel said Liam Eichenberg and Lester Cotton will be the backups to starting center Connor Williams. Eichenberg took snaps at center during organized team activities in the spring but was competing for the starting job at left guard during training camp.

While Miami made a pair of trades, a deal for Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor did not materialize ahead of the cutdown day deadline. The Dolphins were engaged with Indianapolis for several days on a trade but Taylor will instead remain in Indianapolis and start the season on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, sidelining him for at least the first four games of the regular season.

Miami waived its final two picks in the 2023 Draft, tight end Elijah Higgins and offensive tackle Ryan Hayes. Higgins, a sixth-round pick, was making a transition to tight end after playing wide receiver in college. Hayes was a seventh-round pick out of Michigan. They made up half of the Dolphins’ four-person draft class.

The Dolphins also released running back Myles Gaskin, a 2019 seventh-round pick who led the team in rushing in 2019 and 2020 but was caught in a deep position room. Undrafted rookie Chris Brooks was one of five running backs to make the 53-man roster.

In addition to Brooks, two other undrafted rookies made the roster: defensive lineman Brandon Pili and tight end Julian Hill.

The Dolphins kept just two tight ends on the 53-man roster, Hill and Durham Smythe. The team released Tanner Conner and waived Tyler Kroft.

Miami also moved cornerback Nik Needham to the reserve/PUP list, keeping him out for at least the first four games of the regular season. He has remained sidelined since tearing his Achilles last season. The Dolphins also placed cornerback Keion Crossen and tight end Eric Saubert on injured reserve. Both are out for the season, barring an injury settlement.

The Dolphins, as expected, kept both quarterbacks Mike White and Skylar Thompson. McDaniel said he would first inform the quarterbacks of who would be starter Tua Tagovailoa’s primary backup and then make the decision public.

Besides the aforementioned ones, the following players were also waived or released: cornerbacks Justin Bethel, Bryce Thompson, Ethan Bonner, Jamal Perry and Parry Nickerson; wide receiver Braylon Sanders and Daewood Davis; linebackers Cameron Goode and Malik Reed; offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi; defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand; tight end Tanner Conner; and safety Trill Williams

Miami reached an injury settlement with Davis, the undrafted rookie receiver who was injured and removed on a stretcher during the preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Davis was released from the hospital on Sunday and placed in concussion protocol.

The Dolphins on Tuesday announced their first wave of cuts, parting with linebackers Aubrey Miller II, Garrett Nelson, A.J. Johnson and Mitchell Agude; defensive linemen Jaylen Twyman, Josiah Bronson, Jamal Woods and Randy Charlton; offensive linemen Geron Christian and James Tunstall; wide receivers Keke Coutee and Chris Coleman; quarterback James Blackman; and safety Keidron Smith.

Though the Dolphins have set their initial 53-man roster, it will look different very soon. The team will have to move players such as Ramsey and safety Elijah Campbell, to IR as they remain sidelined with significant injuries.

Teams can submit claims for players placed on waivers but must free a roster spot if they add a player. The claiming period ends at noon Wednesday. Beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, teams can begin to construct their 16-man practice squad.

Dolphins 53-man roster

Quarterback (3): Tua Tagovailoa, Mike White, Skylar Thompson

Running back (5): Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., De’Von Achane, Salvon Ahmed, Chris Brooks

Wide receiver (6): Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Erik Ezukanma, River Cracraft

Tight end/fullback (3): Durham Smythe, Julian Hill, Alec Ingold

Offensive line (10): Connor William, Robert Jones, Lester Cotton, Robert Hunt, Kendall Lamm, Kion Smith, Terron Armstead, Austin Jackson, Liam Eichenberg, Isaiah Wynn

Defensive line (5): Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler, Raekwon Davis, Emmanuel Ogbah, Brandon Pili

Linebacker (7): Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Jerome Baker, David Long Jr., Duke Riley, Andrew Van Ginkel, Channing Tindall

Defensive back (11): Jalen Ramsey, Xavien Howard, Kader Kohou, Eli Apple, Cam Smith, Jevon Holland, DeShon Elliott, Brandon Jones, Elijah Campbell, Verone McKinley III, Kelvin Joseph

Specialists (3): Jason Sanders (kicker), Jake Bailey (punter), Blake Ferguson (long snapper)