Dolphins facing a financial decision. Another tight end added, running back options emerge
If the Miami Dolphins move ahead with on-field voluntary practices beginning May 24 — and that appears to be the plan — nearly a dozen Dolphins with workout bonuses face an interesting decision:
Should they bypass those workouts, just weeks after the NFLPA announced that Dolphins players “stand in solidarity” with their peers who are skipping voluntary in-person workouts this offseason because of health and safety concerns?
Or do those players show up to the workouts primarily or partly to fulfill the necessary obligations to receive those bonuses?
Those with sizable sums at stake include four receivers, provided they’re on the team at that point.
Albert Wilson has a $75,000 workout bonus, and Jakeem Grant and Allen Hurns have $50,000 bonuses.
Offensive lineman Jesse Davis also has a $75,000 bonus.
A bunch of Dolphins veterans have been working out at the team facility in spite of the NFLPA’s announcement regarding the Dolphins. Others have been working out with local trainer Pete Bommarito or elsewhere.
Aside from rookie minicamps, no teams are permitted to have full team on-field workouts until May 24. Those “voluntary” on-field workouts are scheduled for May 24-26, June 1-3, June 7-8 and June 10, with a mandatory minicamp to follow June 15-17.
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We’re told that most Dolphins have consistently participated in the ongoing virtual meetings but that attendance hasn’t been perfect.
That virtual meeting component of the offseason program continues for another week and a half.
From May 17 to May 21, the league will allow some on-field drills with coaches, but the meetings will remain virtual.
Those who skip the mandatory minicamp will be subject to a fine. The NFLPA is hoping to convince teams to cancel those practices altogether, but that appears unlikely.
Besides the aforementioned five Dolphins, six other Dolphins have $25,000 workout bonuses, according to overthecap.com. Those six: Xavien Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah, Eric Rowe, Zach Sieler, Adam Shaheen and Clayton Fejedelem.
I would expect most or all of those players to show up beginning in mid-May to collect those bonuses.
Some teams are permitting players to collect those bonuses if they participate in Zoom sessions, even if they don’t partake in the on-field component of the offseason program.
According to a source, the Dolphins are not one of those teams. They want players in the building, beginning later in May, to collect those workouts bonuses.
A couple of agents for Dolphins players said they expect rookies to show up for in-person workouts.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores has been respectful of the players’ position on the NFLPA issue and hasn’t tried to pressure them, according to one agent.
The Dolphins will gather their rookies for a minicamp May 14-16.
THIS AND THAT
During recent years, NFL teams signed several college basketball players who didn’t play any college football, including former Miami Hurricanes basketball player Erik Swoope.
And now the Dolphins are doing the same, signing North Carolina Central basketball player Jibri Blount, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount. The Dolphins announced he will play tight end.
Jibri Blount, who’s 6-7 and 230 pounds, played only basketball in college, averaging averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in 55 games and 31 starts. He was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year and was named the conference’s player of the week five times.
The Pittsburgh native attended Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in Ohio and began his college career at Cleveland State.
LaVelle Moton, his basketball coach at North Carolina Central, retweed a photo of Blount signing with the Dolphins, adding: “One of the most incredible people I’ve ever coached. Football is in his DNA so it’s no surprise.”
Blount joins a crowded tight end room that includes Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, veteran free agent addition Cethan Carter, Chris Myarick, rookie third-round pick Hunter Long and Carl Tucker, an undrafted tight end/fullback from Alabama who was signed by Miami last week after going undrafted.
Besides Carter and Blount, here’s a look at the Dolphins’ other undrafted rookie pickups. Only Blount was announced by the team.
▪ Two more names to keep in mind if the Dolphins add another running back: Detroit’s Kerryon Johnson and New England’s Sony Michel.
NFL Network reported on Wednesday that Johnson will be released, but Lions general manager Brad Holmes told Pro Football Talk that Johnson’s status is not resolved.
The former second-round pick from Auburn averaged 5.4 yards on 118 rushes as a rookie in 2018, but that average tumbled to 3.6 per carry on 113 attempts in 2019 and 3.5 on 52 attempts last season. He started 16 games and caught 61 passes (8.6 average) in his Lions career.
According to Pro Football Talk and ESPN, Michel could lose his spot on the Patriots roster if rookie Rhamondre Stevenson beats him out for a job.
The Patriots this week declined the 2022 fifth-year option on Michel, the former Plantation American Heritage star who was drafted 31st overall out of Georgia in 2018.
Michel started eight games and averaged 4.5 yards per carry (209 attempts) as a rookie for the Patriots, then started 14 games in 2019 but slipped to 3.7 per carry on 247 attempts.
His playing time dropped dramatically in 2020; he had 79 carries, averaging 5.7 yards on those attempts, in nine games and six starts. He has caught 26 passes in his NFL career.
The Patriots have six running backs: Damien Harris, Michel, James White, Stevenson, J.J. Taylor and Brandon Bolden.
Mike Reiss, ESPN’s Patriots reporter, noted that “Stevenson, the fourth-round pick from Oklahoma, could threaten Michel for a spot on the game-day roster [and possibly the 53-man roster] because he’s more likely to be a factor on special teams. This appears to be a spot with quality depth, which the Patriots have needed in recent seasons because of injuries.”