BREAKING DOWN THE MOVES

The Dolphins took care of some business on Sunday when they reached the NFL roster limit of 53 by getting rid of 11 players, including veteran wide receiver Jeff Ogden and veteran offensive lineman Leon Searcy. While they may not be done tinkering with the roster, it's still a good time to evaluate what and how well the Dolphins did.

To recap, the 11 players moved made Sunday involved the waiving of CB Cedric Donaldson, RB Leonard Henry, DT Ernest Grant, G Dwayne Pierce, S Jason Moore, LB Joshua Symonette and DE Rod Kelly; the terminations of the contracts of Ogden, DT Henry Taylor and FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo; and an injury settlement reached with Searcy.

Dolphins vice president/football operations Rick Spielman said the team worked the phone over the weekend to try to trade a couple of those players, and although he didn't mention any names, it's logical to assume the list included Ogden, Ayanbadejo and both/either of the defensive tackles.

Let's take a quick look, by position, at the roster moves.

Quarterback — As expected, the Dolphins kept Jay Fiedler, Ray Lucas and Sage Rosenfels.

Running back — The Dolphins wound up keeping five: halfbacks Ricky Williams, Robert Edwards and Travis Minor and fullbacks Rob Konrad and Deon Dyer. The halfback spot was pretty clear-cut once Edwards should health was not an immediate concern, but the choice at fullback was a little more difficult. In the end, it came down to the Dolphins deciding that Dyer's superior blocking ability more than made up for the fact Ayanbadejo is a better receiver. Truth is, the Dolphins probably wouldn't have gone wrong with either one.

Wide receiver — This one came down to Albert Johnson and Ogden for the final spot, and quite clearly Johnson's big-play potential won out. But we'll say here the Dolphins should have kept six wideouts because Ogden is a proven commodity and he will do the job in a pinch.

Tight end — Why is Shawn Draper still on the roster? Simple, because the Dolphins aren't totally sure yet that Jed Weaver will be ready for the start of the regular season. But Draper's spot on the roster is tenuous at best and he could be gone by the time you finish reading this story.

Offensive line — The Dolphins wound up keeping nine, which is one more that was expected, but that makes sense because two of the four backups (Troy Andrew and Greg Jerman) are unproven guys and this increases the margin for error. Searcy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says his client could be ready to play in about a month. If that's the case, then the Dolphins should have kept him instead of getting an injury settlement that makes Searcy ineligible to re-sign with Miami until the 10th game of the season.

Defensive line — The only suspense here was which of the three young defensive tackles would make the team, and Dario Romero wound up beating out Grant and Taylor. Grant has shown promise in the past but it appears he has maxed out his potential, but Taylor was the best of the three during this preseason, and that makes this move a little surprising.

Defensive back — This is an area that figures to change soon, but to get down to 53, the Dolphins decided to keep rookie Omare Lowe and disappointing Ray Green as the fourth and fifth cornerbacks. Until they get someone else, the Dolphins really had no choice, and they also were smart to keep five quality safeties in Brock Marion, Arturo Freeman, Shawn Wooden, Scott McGarrahan and Trent Gamble.

Kickers — That was a no-brainer from the start, with Olindo Mare and Mark Royals both proven veterans.


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