Despite the cut down from 80 players to 75 still being eight days away on Aug. 31, the Miami Dolphins have already begun trimming their roster by parting ways with three players.
Waived Monday were second-year running back/kick returner Tristan Davis and tight end Kory Sperry, as well as undrafted rookie nose tackle Travis Ivey.
The roster moves leave the Dolphins with 75 players on the active roster. Additionally, defensive end Phillip Merling (Active/Non-Football Injury) and linebacker A. J. Edds (injured reserve) are counting toward the active roster for a total of 77.
Edds will officially not count after the 75-man cut down, which means the Dolphins will need to release one more player to get down to that limit.
Undrafted out of Auburn in 2009, Davis signed with the Detroit Lions midway through the preseason last year and later spent time on the team's practice squad. He was added to the Dolphins' practice squad during the 2009 season and re-signed this offseason.
It was no secret the Dolphins needed to upgrade their return game after trading Ted Ginn, Jr. and Davis was one of the top candidates to fill that role in camp.
Working against him, however, was the fact that Davis had no chance to contribute in other areas for a team big on position versatility. Technically a running back, Davis would have been buried on the depth chart and never would have contributed on offense.
Thus, a roster spot would have needed to be left open for Davis solely as a kick returner, and that would have been a tough thing for him to accomplish.
Also hurting him was the fact that rookie fifth-round cornerback Nolan Carroll was better on returns, as well as being a bigger investment and a player who could develop on defense.
The writing was on the wall for Davis when he returned only one kick in the team's preseason opener (which he mishandled in the rain) and didn't get an opportunity last weekend against Jacksonville.
An undrafted rookie from Maryland, Ivey had the body for a nose tackle, but not much else.
Ivey wasn't all that productive in college and was reportedly pretty raw coming into camp, so there was practically no chance he'd make the team's active roster. I wouldn't even consider Ivey a candidate for the practice squad at this point given the fact that he didn't even last until the final cut down.
The Dolphins typically keep only two pure nose tackles, which they have in starter Randy Starks and backup Paul Soliai. They'll also probably keep a defensive end like Ryan Baker than double at nose.
Sperry made a minor splash with the Dolphins last season, catching a touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in eight games for the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie from Colorado State, while drafted rookie John Nalbone languished on the practice squad.
That being the case, I'm not surprised to see him released here. The Dolphins obviously weren't happy with their young tight ends when they re-signed veteran David Martin after a year out of football, and Joey Haynos obviously had the edge for the No. 3 job.
While it is a bit surprising to see Sperry go before Nalbone, I don't think the move indicates the team likes Nalbone better.
They obviously liked Sperry more in 2009 and it was Sperry and not Nalbone who was working with Haynos in two-tight end sets with the second team against the Jaguars last Saturday.
But with neither player likely to make the final roster, it makes more sense to see what Nalbone could do given the larger investment the team had made in him.
In the end, Nalbone isn't likely to stick around either, so it really doesn't matter who went first.
As always, check out the updated projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.
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