The Miami Dolphins are adding another player to their ranks. Just hours before their first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, former Arizona Cardinals first round pick Robert Nkemdiche is signing a 1-year contract. This comes after he was released by the Cardinals in late July for failing a physical, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Dolphins are signing Former Cardinals’ first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche to a 1-year deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 8, 2019
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the deal is worth $1.16 million.
Nkemdiche, 24, never lived up to his potential in Arizona. Even before he was drafted, teams were concerned about Nkemdiche’s work ethic and character. He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl in college after being arrested with marijuana charges. Now, this year, Nkemdiche was arrested twice within a week for traffic-related incidents, one of which saw him with a white powdery substance in the center console of his car.
The Cardinals took a chance on Nkemdiche, drafting him 29th overall in 2016. The hope was he would turn into a dominant pass rusher. Unfortunately, however, Nkemdiche’s physical gifts went to waste. In three seasons with Arizona, he appeared in 27 games, starting six of them. He recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks, with two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery with a touchdown.
It seemed 2018 would be Nkemdiche’s year to get back on track. All 4.5 of his career sacks came during that season. But once again, Nkemdiche was struck down. He ended the 2018 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL he suffered in December. The Cardinals decided not to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract, which would have paid him $8.6 million, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury did not hold back regarding his disappointment in the former top-10 talent.
“Not in shape,” Kingsbury said. “That’s kind of where we’ll leave it … I mean, he’s on (the Physically Unable to Perform list) and he’s working through that. When he is cleared, we’ll work with him.”
Clearly, they had no interest in working with him.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, are not shy about giving players a chance to redeem themselves. Already, they’ve taken flyers on running back Mark Walton and wide receiver Preston Williams. Both players have issues off the field and are trying to get their careers on track. So far, both Walton and Williams are doing a fine job. Now, Miami is extending that same olive branch to Nkemdiche, who will continue his rehab under head coach Brian Flores’s supervision.
Sometimes, players need a change of scenery to get their lives in order. Under the tutelage of Flores, a Bill Belichick disciple, Robert Nkemdiche has a fighting chance to revitalize his career. There won’t be any nonsense with this coaching regime, discipline is crucial. They will work on basics and fundamentals with him, and will help him stay out of trouble. It’s working out well with Walton and Williams, what’s one more lottery ticket?
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung