The Dolphins, and all other NFL teams, have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to trim their roster to 75 players. This team isn't waiting.
Already this morning multiple back-of-the-roster players have been cut.
Two such players -- offensive lineman Jeff Braun and defensive tackle Chris Burnette -- already announced they've been cut on their twitter accounts.
[UPDATE: The Dolphins announced G Jeff Braun, G Chandler Burden, DT Chris Burnette, LB Alonzo Highsmith, and WR Kenny Stafford have been cut. More coming, folks.]
This was expected. Last year, for example, the Dolphins released nine players two days prior to the first NFL cutdown date. This is how they do business.
The Dolphins will have interesting decisions this year because the team has plenty of good players. Unfortunately for Miami, it has many more good defensive players than offensive players. So the truth is the Dolphins may keep some offensive players that are necessary to fill spots while cutting a couple of better defensive players who have earned a spot but got caught in a numbers game.
Having said all that, allow me to project your 2013 Miami Dolphins 53-man roster. This is simply a projection. It is based on opinion. Mine.
Quarterbacks (2): Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore.
Analysis: And now you're freaking because Pat Devlin is not on the team. Well, I'm sorry, but he's not on my projection. He's done nothing wrong. He's had a solid preseason. But I think some of the sheen is coming off because he's had trouble staying healthy this preseason, his improvement is hardly eye-popping and if the Dolphins are down to their third starting QB this year, I simply don't see that person being Pat Devlin. They would bring in a veteran.
Running backs (4): Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee, KR Marcus Thigpen.
Analysis: Well, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said this week the team is searching for a third running back. He didn't say a third and a fourth. But as Thigpen, who is working as a third-down back recently, is also the KR you can add him to this group. The third spot is up for grabs between Gillislee and Jonas Gray. The better player the next two weeks probably takes the spot. The loser? Dolphins will try to stash him on practice squad.
Fullback (1): Jorvorskie Lane.
Analysis: The club has sent Lane multiple messages this year. They flirted with Vonta Leach. They actually demoted Lane once in training camp. And they have given Evan Rodriguez plenty of opportunity to win the spot. Rodriguez is probably a better special teams player. Lane is a better blocker. Both need to be better pass-catchers. It's a toss-up but I'm going with the better blocker to help the running game.
Receivers (5): Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Chad Bumphis
Analysis: Marvin McNutt might still bump Bumphis. Saturday night truly matters for these guys. But I simply don't trust his inconsistent hands. I do trust Bumphis more. He cannot let up, however.
Tight ends (4): Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller.
Analysis: Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman loves tight ends. At one point in 2012, there were five tight ends on the Miami roster. Miller is a bubble guy and has to perform well Saturday to have a prayer, but if he's not on, I see the Dolphins searching the waiver wires or trying to make a trade to add a guy.
Offensive line (10): Jonathan Martin, John Jerry, Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito, Tyson Clabo, Nate Garner, Will Yeatman, Joshn Samuda, Lance Louis, Dallas Thomas.
Analysis: The fact John Jerry had the knee injury will help Lance Louis because it is clear he's getting better as he himself recovers from knee surgery. Louis is going to be better in October and better still in December. And he's already better than Josh Samuda at the position. You keep him. The backup tackle situation is worrisome.
Defensive line (10): Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick, Derrick Shelby, Vaughn Martin, Dion Jordan, Tristan Okpalaugo, Kheeston Randall.
Analysis: Ten defensive linemen is too many, but the fact is Dion Jordan's shoulder injury makes for much uncertainty and that's why Okpalaugo is here. Antwan Applewhite might also be an option but he's a more expensive option because if you keep him, his salary is guaranteed. Maybe Miami cuts him and re-signs after the first week. Hate to cut A.J. Francis, but he's probably one of those good defensive players caught in bad numbers I talked about earlier.
Linebackers (6): Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi, Phillip Wheeler, Jason Trusnik, Austin Spitler, Jonathan Freeny.
Analysis: And you're freaking again because Jelani Jenkins isn't on the team. He might be, but the truth is I haven't seen him do much of anything. He has three tackles this preseason. I'd love to find a way to get Josh Kaddu on the team as well. Trusnik is on solely because he's a good special teams guy. Kaddu is better on defense, in my humble opinion.
Defensive backs (8): Brent Grimes, Will Davis, Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carroll, Jimmy Wilson, Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Jamar Taylor.
Analysis: Wilson can back up at safety and help in the nickel. I'd like to have another safety, however. I believe Kelcie McCray is pushing for a spot as well. Hate to lose R.J. Stanford.
Specialists (3): Punter Brandon Fields, K Caleb Sturgis, LS John Denney.
Analysis: Speaks for itself.