A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Tuesday:
▪ The Dolphins didn’t make a deal before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, beyond the Oct. 6 acquisition of receiver Chase Claypool from Chicago in an exchange of late-round draft picks.
And though the Dolphins have been aggressive with trades for the past two years, the inactivity wasn’t surprising because of two reasons:
1). The Dolphins are just $3.7 million under this year’s salary cap and $25.7 million over next year’s cap, without even factoring in seven impending unrestricted free agent starters (defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis, safety DeShon Elliott and offensive linemen Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, Connor Williams and now-injured Isaiah Wynn).
2). With Miami facing salary cap challenges, the team’s brass realizes the importance of keeping its most valuable draft assets, according to someone who has spoken to the front office.
The Dolphins have their first- and second-round picks in the 2024 draft, but the third-round pick was forfeited because the NFL found the Dolphins guilty of tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton. The fourth-round pick was dealt to Denver in the Bradley Chubb trade.
Also in 2024, the Dolphins have a fifth-round pick, two sixth-round picks (one from Chicago in the Dan Feeney trade) and a seventh-round pick.
▪ Pundits and fans aren’t the only ones who regard Sunday’s matchup with Kansas City as a measuring stick of sorts for Miami, which is 0-2 against teams with winning records, 6-0 against teams with losing records.
“Big matchup for us,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “It will tell us a lot about where we are as a team.”
Here’s how the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes stack up in eight games apiece this season:
Mahomes: 15 touchdown passes, 8 interceptions, 2258 passing yards, 68.8 completion percentage, 95.8 passer rating.
Tagovailoa: league-best 18 touchdown passes, 7 interceptions, league-best 2416 passing yards, 70.4 completion percentage, league-best 108.8 passer rating.
▪ Tyreek Hill, who has accumulated fines that he says top $100,000 this season for uniform and other violations, says he’s done giving the NFL his money.
“I’m just tired of these fines,” he said. “The NFL, they fine me so much. They’ve been finding small ways to fine me. They even tried to fine me for my shirt [Sunday], and I’m like, ‘what’s going on with that?’ I don’t want to be a part of no NFL fine list no more for the rest of the year. I’m sick of it.”
▪ It will be interesting to see how receivers coach Wes Welker and coach Mike McDaniel allocate receiver snaps among their No. 3 through No. 5 receivers moving forward.
On Sunday against New England, Hill and Jaylen Waddle each played 58 of Miami’s 77 offensive snaps, and the Dolphins gave 41 offensive snaps to Braxton Berrios, 23 to Cedrick Wilson Jr. (who caught a 1-yard touchdown) and 11 to Claypool. All have made a case to play.
Claypool said the playing time distribution has been fair: “Wes has been doing a good job making sure everyone is fresh and ready to go. These guys [playing more than him] have been here grinding. It’s good to watch how they do things. It’s a different situation [with fewer snaps than Claypool is accustomed in Pittsburgh and Chicago];... you’ve got to make sure you make the most of your opportunities.”
Rookie running back De’Von Achane said learning the Dolphins’ offense has been like learning Spanish. Has it been that way for Claypool?
“It’s not terrible,” Claypool said. “You kind of understand what they’re trying to do. The playbook is coming along really well. I’ve been practicing at different positions.”
His first catch as a Dolphin, for 15 yards, was “really nice,” Claypool said, adding that he’s enjoying playing on special teams, also.
▪ What do Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and McDaniel discuss when they talk occasionally?
“We’ve talked a little bit about the commonalities with which we share kind of different ways to look at the game,” McDaniel said.
“Really the biggest commonality that we’ve shared is we are in a business where our job is to motivate and curate and get the best out of the players that we have. It’s a complicated life of the professional athlete, where you have so many people in your ear, so many people making money off of you.
“To be able to take these highly successful individuals, and make them a team, I think that there’s a shared experience that we’ve really mostly focused on when we’ve talked, because it’s some of the biggest problem solving that you need to really undertake.”
McDaniel said he uses “basketball references all the time. I think watching the Heat play gave me all sorts of motivation in the offseason, just by team over everything. What is the saying? The sum is greater than the parts, or whatever?
“That’s what I see from them, and I think that very much applies to professional football in general, because you always have talented players across the board, but 11 people working together is what generates results.”
McDaniel said he and Spoelstra “have a cool relationship. There’s not direct X’s and O’s. I can’t help watching basketball and following the ball. I know that to be wrong from a coach’s perspective, because when I watch football, I see all the things moving at once.
“I’m not just staring at where the ball is going. But I can’t do it in basketball, so I would be very little help. It would just be kind of one-sided. Like, ‘tell me how you do things again.’. We’ve got a more equitable friendship, I would say.”
▪ Quick stuff: Cornerback Parry Nickerson, who was cut on Saturday to make room for Jalen Ramsey, was re-signed to Miami’s practice squad. The Dolphins cut cornerback Mark Milton. Nickerson has played 84 defensive snaps and 19 special teams snaps for the Dolphins this season....
Filming for HBO’s Hard Knocks will begin next week inside Dolphins headquarters, with the date for the debut episode not yet announced...
Cornerback Kader Kohou said the Dolphins “security people told us not to leave the hotel” on their own in Germany this week.
“[They] don’t want sight-seeing on our own,” Kohou said. “None of us are from Germany. It’s best for us to leave with a teammate.”...
In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, NBC-6 will simulcast NFL Network’s coverage of Sunday’s Dolphins-Chiefs game at 9:30 a.m.
Here’s my Tuesday piece inside the team’s new ritual of giving cakes to a few players each week.