Dolphins make roster move with Shaheen, cut four. And McDaniel updates Byron Jones’ status

·5 min read
David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Tight end Adam Shaheen won’t play for the Dolphins this season.

The Dolphins placed Shaheen on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday. Miami traded him to Houston last week, but the trade was torpedoed because he failed a physical due to a knee injury.

“We 100 percent thought he was 100 percent healthy [before the nullified Texans trade],” coach Mike McDaniel said. “We were surprised [about the knee injury] as Adam was. He got more opinions and has decided to get surgery. That puts him on IR, and he’s out of the season.”

The Dolphins decided that Shaheen was expendable because Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe and Hunter Long were ahead of him on the depth chart at tight end. Cethan Carter, an H-back, also can play tight end.

Shaheen, who is set to become a free agent next March, caught 24 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Dolphins. He appeared in 28 games for the Dolphins and started 12.

In all, the Dolphins made five moves to trim their roster to 85 player, six hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

The Dolphins released center Cole Banwart, wide receive DeVonte Dedmon and defensive lineman Jordan Williams. They also waived injured cornerback Tino Ellis.

Banwart was competing for a backup interior line job; he took a lot of snaps at center in training camp before Michael Deiter returned from a foot injury.

Dedmon was an elite returner in the CFL but could never gain traction in a crowded Dolphins wide receiver room.

And Williams - who played at Clemson and Virginia Tech - wasn’t as productive as fellow undrafted rookie front seven players Ben Stille, Deandre Johnson and Owen Carney.

JONES UPDATE

McDaniel said the team remains “extremely hopeful” that cornerback Byron Jones — who had surgery in the ankle/Achilles injury in the spring — will be ready for the opener and is “exactly” where the team thought he would be at this stage.

Jones has been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp started.

McDaniel said Jones hasn’t had any setbacks.

“Things have to hit on all cylinders without a setback for that to be the case,” McDaniel said of Jones being available for the Sept. 11 opener against New England. “Nothing has changed in that regard... The timeline for him is a little shorter based on his production on the NFL level.”

McDaniel on the signing of cornerback Mackensie Alexander in the wake of Trill Williams’ season-ending ACL injury:

“The versatility [of him being able to play] inside and outside is nice for us. Everyone knows where he’s had his production.”

That production, during a five-year NFL career, has come largely in the slot. His addition allows the Dolphins to play Nik Needham more on the boundary — opposite Xavien Howard — until Jones returns. Needham started on the boundary in Saturday’s preseason game.

Last season with the Vikings, Alexander permitted a bloated 117.1 passer rating in his coverage area; he allowed 56 catches in 77 targets for 12.2 yards per catch.

“We were going for the best player inside or outside available,” McDaniel said. “He was on our radar before we had any injuries. We like Nik Needham’s versatility. I felt there was a need for a competitive NFL defensive back” as opposed to seeking a slot cornerback particularly.

The question now is whether Noah Igbinoghene, a first-round pick in 2020, will make the team. If Alexander makes the team and if Jones is ready for the opener, the Dolphins would have five corners with Howard, Jones, Needham, Alexander and special teams ace Keion Crossen, who has played well at cornerback in camp.

Regarding Igbinoghene, McDaniel said he’s “impressed by his internal fortitude.. You have to have a short memory as a cornerback; he’s shown growth from stories I heard coming in, and moving onto the next play and not... getting down on himself.

“As far as where he needs to improve, I don’t ever want him to lose his aggressiveness and play like he’s trying not to get beat. I want him to be cutthroat with the game of football and trust all of his instincts When he’s a hair passive, I will say, ‘That’s not you. That’s not where you are in your development.”

THIS AND THAT

McDaniel was noncommittal about whether quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will play in Saturday’s preseason home game against Las Vegas. Tagovailoa is healthy but was held out of Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay.

“I do expect players who didn’t play in the last game to play in this game,” McDaniel said. “It’s more where the whole offense is at. And other players that have to play, does that necessitate him playing? To do it the right way, there are so many compounding variables. I would hesitate to say yes [Tagovailoa will play] or no he will not. I haven’t totally made a decision. I have a best guess.”

McDaniel declined to share that “best guess.”

McDaniel praised left tackle Larnel Coleman, who started in Terron Armstead’s absence on Saturday.

“He’s had some growth,” McDaniel said. “And there have been some areas, where ‘hey man, you have to emphasize this’ or ‘we need more here.’ I see him having a very good camp and the ability to have an even better camp. It’s been far from perfect, which is kind of the case for most if not all players.”

Coleman, a seventh-round pick in 2021, allowed a sack during Saturday’s game.