MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins made two roster moves Tuesday. They activated cornerback Nik Needham from the physically unable to perform list, and they placed left guard Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve.
Needham’s promotion to the active roster is a welcome development for a secondary dealing with injuries to two of its best players (Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland).
But the Wynn move is by far the more significant of the two. It not only takes away yet another starter on the offensive line, but it also ups the odds significantly that a teammate’s season has ended — no matter how healthy that teammate gets.
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Miami Dolphins Place Isaiah Wynn on Injured Reserve
By going on IR with a quadriceps injury, Wynn will be out until at least Week 13, when the Dolphins visit the Washington Commanders.
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel on Monday hinted at that possibility, saying that “it wasn’t a bump or a bruise. We’ll gather more for specificity, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing him for weeks.”
That impacts the Dolphins in both the short and long terms.
The immediate concern is deciding on his replacement. Lester Cotton was uneven in fill-in duty Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but based on McDaniel’s comments Monday, Cotton is still in line to start over Rob Jones and (potentially) Liam Eichenberg against the New England Patriots in Week 8.
Roster Moves | We have activated CB Nik Needham off the physically unable to perform list and placed OL Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve. pic.twitter.com/oTTI9LldJk
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 24, 2023
Eichenberg has filled in for Connor Williams at center over the last two weeks but seems likely to be headed back to the bench when Williams returns — which could be as soon as Sunday.
That’s not the only headache for McDaniel and GM Chris Grier, however.
The other? They are running out of roster moves.
Teams are allowed to designate eight players to return from injured reserve over the course of the season, and the Dolphins have already played that card three times with Jones, Jalen Ramsey, and Jeff Wilson Jr.
So Tuesday’s news means at least one (and probably two) of the following six players is done for the year: Wynn, running back De’Von Achane, tackle Terron Armstead, running back Chris Brooks, wide receiver River Cracraft, and wide receiver Erik Ezukanma.
Achane and Armstead are no-brainers. Both will be back as soon as they’re ready. Cracraft and Ezukanma seem to be dealing with more serious injuries and are the most likely to be done for 2023. Brooks is out for at least another three weeks with an ankle injury, but the roster math isn’t great for him, either.
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Complicating this calculus? The Dolphins almost certainly want to save at least one, and probably two, of their IR-return slots for a big star like Tua Tagovailoa or Tyreek Hill.
They absolutely do not want to be in a position where they need to carry an injured Tua or Tyreek on the roster for a month.
The Dolphins would have one more card to play if they get stuck: Cut third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson and, if he clears waivers, bring him back to the practice squad. (This plan only applies, however, if Tagovailoa isn’t the player who gets hurt.)
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