Prior to the first day that training camp is open to the public, the Miami Dolphins made two surprising roster moves. Star AAF pass rusher Jayrone Elliott was waived, and veteran safety T.J. McDonald was added to the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
The move to waive Elliott is particularly surprising. Miami gave the young pass rusher one of the largest signing bonuses of any AAF signee. Elliott racked up 7.5 sacks in eight games while in the AAF, and with the Dolphins short on pass rushers, one has to wonder what the mindset behind the move is. Miami’s front office is well aware that Elliott is something of a one-trick pony, but he is good at that trick. He was always a dark horse, but it’s surprising that he didn’t even make it to camp.
This may indicate that the Dolphins are looking for players who offer more versatility. As head coach Brian Flores comes from New England, players who resemble the likes of Trey Flowers may receive priority. Bulkier types who are strong and good with their hands. Elliott did not project as such.
With Jayrone Elliott gone, perhaps the Dolphins are exploring other options for pass rusher. Veteran Nick Perry is still available on the open market, as well as recently released DT Mike Daniels. Either player could boost Miami’s defensive line.
Safety T.J. McDonald was placed on the PUP list due to an undisclosed injury. Though it is not expected to be serious, it is somewhat sudden to hear that McDonald won’t be on the field for the start of camp. This will give extra opportunities for some younger players though. Maurice Smith, another dark horse, has flashed talent numerous times but there’s never been space for him on the roster. With McDonald out for the foreseeable future, this gives Smith a chance to display his continuing development.
Already training camp is proving to be eventful, and it hasn’t even begun.