PHILADELPHIA–The NFL’s new roster cut rules create an interesting question for players on the fringe of making the team: Would they rather be cut loose earlier and have the chance to latch on somewhere else, or is it better to stay all the way to the Sept. 2 deadline when teams must slash their squad from 90 to 53?
Those in camp with the Dolphins will be there to the end. Miami coach Adam Gase is a fan of the new rule, which eliminated the annual August cut to 75. While it will create an incredible flood of roughly 1,200 free agents at once, Gase thinks it’s advantageous because teams sometimes have trouble filling out a playing roster for the fourth preseason game and it gives players an extended window to audition for the Dolphins or another team.
“That fourth preseason game, especially, you’re going to get a lot of guys that get more tape,” he said. “I was excited. It was really tough to play some of the fourth preseason games. I’ve been involved in games where you’re kind of hoping nobody gets hurt because you don’t have that many guys and it’s going to be new and it’s a great opportunity for a lot of guys.”
Gase said at the beginning of the month he intended to keep most of the group together until the end. Aside from some minor shuffling, the Dolphins have stayed around 90 since opening camp and are at exactly that number right now.
While the camp invitees aren’t exactly free to speak their minds on this subject, many of the Dolphins’ veterans were in that position under the old rules. Safety Michael Thomas, who was a late cut by the 49ers in 2012 and ’13, believes it’s always better for a player to stay as long as possible.
“It’s never great to be cut, so I feel like it’s a great opportunity for all those guys because you get more tape and more evaluation,” Thomas said. The longer you can stick around anywhere, the better it is for you. I think it’s great, especially for that last game.
“Obviously there are cases where it’s clear that it’s not a great fit for you or you’re clearly not gonna be on that team, then maybe (it’s better to be cut loose early), but for all these young guys that don’t have a role and they’re trying to get established, the extra time and that fourth game are huge for them.”
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