Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CB Goodman placed on IR; G Ndukwe signed

Cornerback André Goodman was placed on injured reserve today with a knee injury, while guard Ike Ndukwe was signed off the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens to fill the roster spot.

Goodman background

Goodman was originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round (68th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft out of South Carolina. He played in 14 games his rookie season including six starts, and recorded 46 tackles (38 solo), an interception and 12 passes defensed.

In 2003, Goodman suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Lions' third game of the season, landing him injured reserve. He finished the season with 11 tackles (all solo) and two passed defensed.

Over the next two seasons Goodman appeared in 26 games, of which he started 12. He totaled 75 tackles and four interceptions between 2004 and 2005, including a career-high three interceptions his final season with the team.

Goodman signed with the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent in March 2006. He received a three-year contract worth close to $5 million with up to $2.5 million in incentives. He had base salaries of $1 million each of the three seasons.

A lingering ankle injury for Travis Daniels allowed Goodman to secure a starting cornerback spot in 2006. Goodman went on to start 14 of the 15 games in which he appeared, recording 41 tackles (26 solo) and nine passes defensed. He was placed on injured reserve on December 27 with a shoulder injury.

In January 2007, Goodman underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove debris from his left shoulder. He had surgery again in May and missed the entire preseason on the PUP list, but was activated just prior to the regular season. His shoulder continued to give him problems, causing him to start just four of the 13 games in which he appeared for the Dolphins. He suffered a knee injury during the team's Week 16 game, landing him on injured reserve for the third time in his career. He finished the year with 20 tackles (15 solo) and two interceptions.

Ndukwe background

Ikechuku "Ike" Ndukwe, who is the brother of former Notre Dame and current Cincinnati Bengals safety Chindem Ndukwe, was originally an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern in 2005. He went to camp with the New Orleans Saints his first year, but was released after the preseason. He then spent nearly two months on the practice squad before being released again in October.

In November 2005, Ndukwe was signed to the practice squad of the Washington Redskins. He was promoted to the active roster on December 20, but was inactive for every game through the end of the season.

In 2006, the Redskins re-signed Ndukwe but released him at the end of training camp. He was added to the practice squad, but was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens on October 3.

Ndukwe was inactive for the entire 2006 season, and was re-signed in the offseason. However, he was once again released after the preseason and added to the practice squad. On October 13, he was promoted to the active roster. He was inactive for the team's Week 6 contest and was then waived and re-signed to the practice squad, where he remained until being signed to the Dolphins' active roster on December 16.


Analysis

Goodman is the fifth defensive back go on injured reserve for the Dolphins this season, but the transaction doesn't necessarily mean his injury is serious. Teams often place guys on injured reserve before Week 17 if they are out of playoff contention and know the guy won't be able to play the last game of the season.

Nagging injuries really hurt Goodman's 2007 season, though he's always been solid and was actually the team's best cover corner in 2006 despite having no interceptions. His absence won't help the Dolphins already decimated secondary in Week 17, but fortunately there's only one game to go. Goodman's injury could open the door for extended looks at guys like Tuff Harris and Jereme Perry.

Ndukwe is a big-bodied guard without much speed, but he's always had potential; he just hasn't been able to get on the field yet. He's had a sort of déjà vu career, bouncing from practice squad to active roster and team to team through the last few years. It seems unlikely he'll play in Week 17 given his lack of familiarity with the offense, however he was likely signed to a two- or three-year deal and will probably be in camp in 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

LB Crowder placed on IR; QB Bramlet promoted to active roster

Linebacker Channing Crowder (pictured, right) was placed on season-ending injured reserve today with a knee injury, while quarterback Casey Bramlet was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster to take his place. He wear No. 7.

Crowder background

Crowder, a three-year veteran who was originally drafted by Nick Saban in the third round out of Florida in 2005, has started 37 of the 43 games in which he has appeared for the Dolphins.

Though an outside linebacker most of his career, Crowder had been starting at middle linebacker since Week 8 with Zach Thomas (migraines) out. Crowder has not played since Week 13 due to knee injury, and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday, Dec. 18. He finishes the 2007 season with 78 tackles (61 solo) and half a sack in 11 games (10 starts).

Bramlet background

Bramlet, 26, was signed to the Dolphins' practice squad on October 24 - four days after starter Trent Green went on injured reserve. The Dolphins had been going with just two quarterbacks on the active roster since Green's injury, with wide receiver Marty Booker (a high school quarterback) serving as the emergency third-stringer.

An All-Mountain West selection at Wyoming, Bramlet (pictured, left) was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (218th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He served as the Bengals' third-string quarterback most of the season behind Jon Kitna and Carson Palmer, though he finished the year No. 2 on the depth chart after Palmer suffered a sprained knee late in the season. Despite a strong showing for the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe during the 2005 offseason, Bramlet lost the third-string job to Craig Krenzel in training camp.

Bramlet was out of football during the 2005 regular season and signed a future contract with the Washington Redskins in January 2006. He was cut at the end of the preseason, and again spent the regular season out of football. He was re-signed by the Redskins in 2007 and again played for the Hamburg Sea Devils, this time earning World Bowl MVP honors after going
20-of-27 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Nevertheless, he was released prior to training camp when the team opted to carry quarterbacks.

Bramlet was not unemployed for long, however, signing with the Atlanta Falcons on August 12. He released at the end of the preseason, but was re-signed to to practice squad then promoted to the active roster prior to the season opener. He served as the third-string quarterback for the Falcons' first two games of the season, but was released by the team when Byron Leftwich was signed on September 18.

Analysis

Crowder is the 14th Dolphins player, the third linebacker and second starter at the position (after Zach Thomas) to go on IR this season. While a serviceable starter, Crowder's numbers were quite pedestrian this season and the Dolphins' defense has struggled with or without him. He still has a good upside and a future in Miami, as he is under contract through 2008 and is viewed the potential long-term replacement to Thomas inside.


In his absence, the Dolphins will continue to go with the trio of Donnie Spragan, Derrick Pope (pictured, right) and Joey Porter in the starting lineup. Rookies Edmond Miles, Kelvin Smith and Mark Washington will see action in reserve roles.

Meanwhile, Bramlet is unlikely to play this season barring injuries to both Cleo Lemon and John Beck. As with most practice squad guys promoted to the active roster, it is likely he was signed to at least a two-year deal so that the team may retain him this offseason. (Practice squad players are only under contract for one season at a time.) With Lemon an unrestricted free agent at season's end and Green's future is in doubt, the Dolphins will likely bring in a body or two at the position. It seems unlikely, if Bramlet sticks around for camp at all, that he'll have a chance at anything more than the third-string job.

(Nearly) Complete Player Contract Info!

If you're a Miami Dolphins fan, chances are you've wanted to know a player's contract details on many an occasion. While the internet is certainly a vast resource, there are very few places, if any, that have contract info for an entire team organized in one place.
For that reason, I have created a document with as much contract information I could find for every player on the Dolphins. This includes active roster players as well as anyone on a reserve list. It is in the form of a downloadable Excel spreadsheet file, which can be sorted by player name, position and contract year. The latter definitely comes in handy this time of year if you want a quick preview of who's eligible for free agency this offseason!

If you're like me, I have no doubt this will be a great and convenient resource for you guys. I plan on updating this file as necessary, and I will upload and most newer versions as they come. Click below to download the file, and enjoy!


MiamiDolphinsPlayerContracts.xls (40 kb)



By the way, one thing I will say that is missing from this document is full info on the guys that are exclusive-rights free agents and unrestricted free agents. This will take a little more research, but the next version of this document should have all that info.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Undrafted CB Watkins signed to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins have signed undrafted cornerback Jacoby Watkins to their practice squad, filling the vacancy left yesterday when placekicker Matt Prater signed with the Denver Broncos.

Background

After graduating from Scotland County High School in Laurinburg, North Carolina, Watkins was redshirted at the University of North Carolina in 2002. As a freshman in 2003, appeared in seven games and made four tackles, including two against Arizona State.

Watkins moved into the starting lineup in 2004, starting all 12 games at cornerback for the Tar Heels. He finished fourth in the team with 61 tackles and tied for the team lead in interceptions with two, while also adding three pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 34-13 win over Georgia Tech. In the game, he recorded five tackles, broke up two passes and intercepted two passes. His first career interception came the second quarter when he outjumped receiver Calvin Johnson for control of the ball at the North Carolina 3-yard line.

Watkins appeared in just six games as a junior in 2005 after breaking his right tibia against Virginia. He finished the season with 19 tackles (14 solo) and three passes defensed. His most productive game came in against Georgia Tech, when he posted seven tackles and three pass break-ups.

As a senior in 2006, Watkins posted 52 tackles (41 solo), two tackles for a loss, a sack and eight pass break-ups. He suffered a torn ACL, ending his season and college career prematurely.

Due to his injury, Watkins was unable to fully participate in pre-draft workouts. At his Pro Day in March 2007, he measured in at 5-foot-11 3/8 and 171 pounds but was unable to run drills.

Watkins went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, due in large part to the injury. Fully recovered, Watkins worked out for the New York Giants on December 4, but was not signed. He was signed to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad on December 20 after placekicker Matt Prater signed with the Denver Broncos.

Analysis

This is a fairly minor transaction by the Dolphins. Watkins obviously showed some skills at North Carolina, but given his size and the fact he's had two significant injuries already, there have to be significant concerns about durability.

If Watkins remains on the practice squad through the rest of the season, which in itself isn't a lock, he will become a free agent like all practice squad players. At that time, he may or may not be signed to a future contract in 2008. He'll face an uphill battle to make the team next season if he is re-signed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Practice squad kicker Prater signed by Broncos

The Denver Broncos have signed placekicker Matt Prater off the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins now have an open spot on their practice squad.

Background

Prater, who played college football at Central Florida, was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He was simply a camp leg without any kind of shot at beating out Jason Hanson, and was released before the regular season.

The Dolphins signed Prater to a future contract in January 2007, but was the odd man out after Jay Feely was signed. He was released by the Dolphins on August 27 and subsequently signed with the Atlanta Falcons after Billy Cundiff lost his chance at the job.

Prater went just 1-for-4 on field goal attempts in two games with Atlanta, and was released by the team in favor of veteran Morten Andersen. He was re-signed to the Dolphins practice squad on November 14, where he remained through December 19 until he was signed to Denver's active roster.

Analysis

I'm surprised at this move from the Broncos perspective, simply because they now have three potential kickers and two kickoff guys on the active roster. When the team released punter Todd Sauerbrun yesterday, they re-signed punter/kicker Paul Ernster to handle punting duties. Now it seems they've signed Prater to kick off, though Ernster has handled these duties before and I don't know why they'd use up an extra roster spot for Prater.

From the Dolphins point of view, this is of little significance. Prater was likely only re-signed to the practice squad to give Feely breathers in practice and to work on special teams. With Feely's excellent performance in 2007 and Prater's poor job in Atlanta earlier this year, he had little future in Miami.

The Dolphins now how a vacancy on their practice squad. Check back here to find out when that vacancy is filled, plus info and analysis of the signing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

With the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins...

...should trade down. That's right - in my opinion, the Miami Dolphins should forego a stud prospect and trade the No. 1 overall pick down for multiple picks. Why? Watch the following video and find out why I think stockpiling picks will go a long way in turning the franchise around.