The official 2021 NFL season is underway and teams have been reshaping their rosters. The Miami Dolphins made a splash over the last two weeks in free agency and with trades prior with the salary cap space they had, including making a surprise move at the punter position.
Palardy Signs with Miami, Haack Signs with Buffalo
Former punter Matt Haack was a free agent after the 2020-21 season and Miami was expected to re-sign him, per reports, but ended up bringing in former Carolina Panthers punter Michael Palardy prior to doing so. Either as insurance or as the plan to make him the starter, the Dolphins’ move became more beneficial after Haack signed with the Buffalo Bills once the free agency window opened up over this last week.
Following ACL Tear, Palardy Was Released From Carolina
Palardy was released by the Carolina Panthers back in February. He signed with the Dolphins on a one-year deal, giving Miami a new punter for the first time since 2017. On first glance some may not be impressed with the signing, especially because Palardy is coming off a ACL tear, but it could prove to be one that pays dividends in the end especially now that Haack is in a new home.
Palardy: Improving As Career Continues
Palardy is four-year NFL punter who comes to Miami averaging 45.3 yards per punt with a 40.3 net punting average. His best punting season came in 2019 when he was able to kick off 75 punts for 3,452 yards. His longest kick that season went for 62 yards.
2017 was his second best campaign where he punted 71 times for 3,269 combined yards for the Panthers. As each year progressed, he grew as a productive punter compared to the rest of his competition in the league.
Looking for Stability
This will be Palardy’s ninth team he has tried out for and the second team he will spend official time on. He has found stability as of late, with Carolina and Miami, but had stints trying to make the teams of the New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. He is bringing some veteran experience with him that can help put the Dolphins in a better position to succeed.
Prior to the NFL, he was a standout at the University of Tennessee though. He not only punted, but was the Volunteers’ kicker as well, and was an important piece of Tennessee’s program who was struggling. So it’s likely with consistency again, he will continue finding his groove and continue improving.
Small Risk in His Signing
There’s a risk that the Dolphins took in signing Palardy however. He tore his ACL and did not play during the 2020 season after the injury happened in the offseason.
Palardy has not had the greatest production in terms of both his punting and net punting averages, so at the moment it is not quite clear if the Dolphins plan to make him their week one punter. However, Palardy is expected to be healed from the tear in his punting leg and after the NFL Draft it will be better known if he will see any competition for the season.
Nevertheless, this will be a homecoming for Palardy because of his time at Fort Lauderdale Prep School as a standout in the classroom and on the field.