After signing veteran running back Jordan Howard this offseason in free agency to a multi-year deal, the Miami Dolphins waived the back on Monday after a disappointing start to 2020.
Despite Big Cap Hit, Howard’s Goal Line Work Not Enough for Dolphins
Howard signed a two-year, $9.75-million dollar contract this offseason with Miami and came into the 2020 season expected to work in a committee with RB Matt Breida. However, he was a healthy inactive for the fourth time this season on Sunday, against the Los Angeles Chargers, and has struggled being anything but a goal line back for the Dolphins this season. He has 28 carries for just 33 yards and four touchdowns, averaging an abysmal 1.2 yards per carry.
Howard is guaranteed $4.75 million from his signing and will carry the same in a cap hit to Miami, but the Dolphins felt it was in their best interest to fill his roster spot with someone else.
Head coach Brian Flores said there was no ill will in the departure on either side and the move was due largely in-part to the success the Dolphins have found in other backs on the roster. Before Howard was cut Miami was carrying seven backs and he was the least productive of the group.
Six Other Miami Backs Providing More to Team than Howard
Additionally, starting RB Myles Gaskin is expected to be available Nov. 29 following his three-game stint on injured reserve and backup/committee partner Breida nearly played on Sunday, but Miami aired on the side of caution with his hamstring in hopes of having him healthy for the remainder of the season.
Salvon Ahmed, who has risen in ranks on the depth chart, led Miami in rushing for the second game in a row against the Chargers in just his second active game for the orange and teal and will stay on the active roster. He has now averaged at least four yards per carry in two games. Flores was also adamant post-game that Ahmed’s hard work in practice and during Sunday’s win will see him have his increased role with the team continue.
At the NFL’s trade deadline, Miami traded for Kansas City’s DeAndre Washington who was eased into a few snaps Sunday but is expected to aid Breida in the pass-catching duties. Washington had four seasons of success as the pass-catching back with the Oakland Raiders. Patrick Laird also saw minimal snaps like Washington but will be used in both the passing and rushing game.
Furthermore, the Dolphins drafted quarterback/running back/wide receiver Malcolm Perry in 2020 and traded for the Raiders’ Lynn Bowden Jr. who are both expected to remain on the roster despite their minimal usage. Bowden Jr. and Perry are expected to be used in the WR and special teams corps mostly for the remainder of 2020, but have still been more useful to the team than Howard has been, making the most realistic cut for the Dolphins being Howard.
“He’s a good back, he (has) definitely been productive. We had some other guys who stepped in and played well (and) for that reason, his reps were limited. When he did go in there, it felt like we had maybe a little bit better production from some other guys,” Flores said. “I don’t think that speaks to his talent level, I think he’s a talented young man. He’s been productive in this league and I wish him all the best.”
Could Howard Be On His Way Back to Chicago? Another NFL Team in Need of RB?
Howard’s salary and cap hit will likely allow him to clear waivers, but the move allows him to find work on another team. Before joining the Dolphins, he spent time with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
With Chicago struggling in the run game that already has Tarik Cohen on season-ending IR and Cordarrelle Patterson being a lackluster backup for David Montgomery who could use the help on a team in danger of missing the playoffs, the Bears could suddenly be a landing spot. Other teams with RB holes include the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Houston Texans, the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Miami Extends DE Zach Sieler
Miami also made news on the other side of the football on Monday when it announced it extended defensive end Zach Sieler through the 2023 season.
Sieler, who came over to the Dolphins from the Baltimore Ravens via waivers last December, has 1.5 sacks so far this season and 13 solo tackles as a rotational DE.
Despite the rotation and “next man up” mindset for the secondary, Flores gave Sieler the start on Sunday. Flores has credited Sieler with being one of the best 11 players on the field, hence his playing time, a scheme Flores has used since taking over in Miami of putting the best guys out on the field at any given time regardless of position.
– Kayla Morton is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins. She is also a co-host on the Full Press Fantasy Podcast. Like and follow on Follow @northdakayla74 Follow @FPC_Dolphins and Facebook.