Miami Dolphins LG Josh Sitton faces life-altering decision on hair, beard

Josh Sitton (71) on Day 2 of Dolphins OTAs. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — One of the Dolphins’ biggest personnel moves this offseason was signing bear-in-a-man-costume Josh Sitton to play left guard. He’s a good get, and there’s a good chance he’ll help left tackle Laremy Tunsil improve.

Sitton. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

Sitton said today it was a tough decision coming to Miami because he knew the brutal heat and humidity would be far worse than the conditions in which he practiced while playing for Green Bay and Chicago over the past decade.

He might regret not thinking this through all the way, because after two days of Organized Team Activities in South Florida, he faces the possibility that he might need to shave his Thor-like hair and bushy beard. It was 84 and rising at this morning’s practice, and that’s made much more uncomfortable when it feels like there’s a ferret on the back of one’s neck.

“I’ve thought about it,” Sitton admitted. “I’m going to see how OTAs go and then it might be gone come training camp.”

He played with short hair at Central Florida and began growing it long in the woodsy, frigid climate of upstate Wisconsin. It’s been a trademark of his, and the decision on whether to clean it up isn’t one he’d make lightly.

“No, I would not,” he said. “I would probably cry.”

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2018 Dolphins schedule: Predicting wins, losses for every game

What are the Dolphins’ chances in 2018? (Getty Images)

The Dolphins’ season is five months away, but with the schedule being released tonight, it’s time to get a jump start on predicting how they’ll do.

At the moment, the 2018 slate looks like a major challenge for a Miami team that saw top-shelf talent in Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey depart this offseason.

Based on how the upcoming season stacks up, Miami has a chance to get some early momentum since that half of the schedule looks lighter than what lurks in November and December.

Here’s admittedly optimistic prediction for each game as the Dolphins try to surprise the NFL with a bounce-back season:

Week 1 vs. Tennessee: Loss (0-1)
The Titans, who look like one of the stronger non-Patriots teams in the AFC, are too much too soon for the Dolphins. Tennessee is rough opener.
Week 2 at New York Jets: Win (1-1)
This looked like a gimme last year, but Miami staggered around in a 20-6 loss at MetLife Stadium. It’s still hard to buy that the Jets are definitively better than the Dolphins.

Week 3 vs. Oakland: Win (2-1)
The Raiders edged Miami last year, but it’s going to be a big disadvantage for them playing a 1 p.m. game on the East Coast.
Week 4 at New England: Loss (2-2)
The Patriots’ dominance at home against Miami has to end eventually—maybe—but it won’t be this year.

Week 5 at Cincinnati: Loss (2-3)
For some reason this already feels like it’s going to be a really ugly game. The Bengals aren’t anything special, but they’re playing at home against what figures to be a so-so Dolphins team.
Week 6 vs. Chicago: Win (3-3)
The big, bad Bears are still bad. Adam Gase pounded on one former team in the Broncos last year and will do the same against Chicago this season.

Week 7 vs. Detroit: Win (4-3)
The Lions are a little unpredictable, but the Dolphins should be able to handle them at home.

Week 8 at Houston: Loss (4-4)
Every team has to play one Thursday night game, and this is the fourth straight time the Dolphins will do it on the road. That means they get three full days between games, one of which includes travel to Houston, and won’t be able to have a single normal practice.
Week 9 vs. New York Jets: Win (5-4)
Maybe the Jets have Baker Mayfield and he’s setting the world on fire for them by this point in the year, but more likely, they’re probably still the Jets.

Week 10 at Green Bay: Loss (5-5)
As long as Aaron Rodgers is playing, there’s not much to say about the Dolphins’ chances in Green Bay in November.

Week 12 at Indianapolis: Win (6-5)
Remember how bad the Dolphins’ minus-112 point differential looked last year? The Colts were even worse at minus-141.

 

Week 13 vs. Buffalo: Win (7-5)
Were the Bills actually good last year? Are they good now? Is A.J. McCarron an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor? With all the uncertainty, the Dolphins get the benefit of the doubt at home.

Week 14 vs. New England: Loss (7-6)
Last year’s Monday Night Football surprise was fun, but it’ll be nearly impossible to duplicate.

Week 15 at Minnesota: Loss (7-7)
The Dolphins’ great ambition for 2018 is to sneak into the playoffs. Minnesota’s is to win it all.

Week 16 vs. Jacksonville: Win (8-7)
The Jaguars have a terrific defense, but they’re a shaky team to believe in with Blake Bortles at quarterback. This will be a winnable game for Miami.

Week 17 at Buffalo: Loss (8-8)
The stadium in Orchard Park might look like something out of bad sci-fi movie this late in the year. There could be 3 feet of snow. There could be sub-zero temperatures. There could be unbearable wind-chill. Good luck, Dolphins.

[A look inside the Dolphins’ process for making draft picks and who makes the final call]

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[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

2018 Dolphins schedule: Miami hoping for ‘normal’ season after last year

The Dolphins are hoping for a “normal” season in 2018. (Bill Ingram/The Post)

The travel won’t be as brutal as last season, but the Dolphins’ degree of difficulty will still be high in 2018.

The NFL released their schedule for the upcoming season tonight, and it includes no games outside of the Eastern and Central Time Zones, no international games, no crazy road swings and, wonderfully, an actual bye week.

Now Miami just hopes the plan doesn’t get reshuffled like it did last year, when Hurricane Irma’s approach changed the course of the season.

“We’re just looking forward to, hopefully, just having a normal season,” team president Tom Garfinkel said recently.

The upcoming campaign begins with a rarity. The Dolphins will host the Titans on Sept. 9 for their first home opener since 2014. Thanks to last year’s Week 1 game against Tampa Bay being moved to November and the team starting with trips to Los Angeles, New York and London, Miami opened on the road in five of the last six seasons.

This season the team gets its bye in Week 11, giving it a rest before the final six games.

It’s a balanced schedule in terms of home and away, with the Dolphins playing only one stretch of back-to-back weeks on the road.

Seven of their first nine games are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year, which could be important for a roster that needs time to solidify itself. The flip side is that Miami faces a three-game run in December against teams that were in the conference title round last season: home against the Patriots in Week 14, at Minnesota in Week 15 and home against Jacksonville in Week 16.

The exact date of the Jaguars game is yet to be determined. The Dolphins will host Jacksonville on Dec. 22 (a Saturday) or Dec. 23 depending on television considerations.

The opener is usually the No. 1 concern when the schedule comes out. After that comes the fretful search for cold-weather games.

The Dolphins’ three AFC East road games set up reasonably well for them with a visit to the Jets in Week 2 and Patriots in Week 4. Likewise, those teams don’t come to Miami Gardens in the first half of the season when the local weather is at its muggiest.

Their annual trek to Buffalo comes in the season finale, Dec. 30, in part because Miami asked to close the season on the road. The Orange Bowl is a college football national semifinal this year and will take place at Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 29.

Last season, the stadium hosted the Orange Bowl the night before Miami’s Week 17 home game against the Bills, and the tight turnaround is something the organization would like to avoid if possible—especially it being part of the college playoffs this year.

The Patriots come to South Florida on Dec. 9, the Jets arrive in Week 9 and the Bills get off easy with a Week 13 trip.

Then there’s the rare appearance at Lambeau Field, which falls in Week 10. The Dolphins will play at Green Bay in mid-November, which isn’t the worst outcome, but it’s certainly late enough in the year for it to be nasty up there. The average low in Green Bay that time of year is 29 degrees.

The only other outdoor road game is Week 5 at Cincinnati, which should be comfortable. When the Dolphins play at Minnesota (Week 15) and Indianapolis (Week 12), both of those are dome teams. The Houston game in Week 8 will also be indoors.

The matchup with the Texans is also the Dolphins’ only planned primetime appearance. They’ll play in front of a national audience as part of the NFL’s mandate that each team does one Thursday night game. Their Sunday games can be flexed based on how compelling the matchups are late in the season.

Miami gets some nice perks at home with Oakland having to travel cross-country in Week 3 and a back-to-back against the Bears and Lions (Weeks 7 and 8). Chicago and Detroit will learn the hard way that October is still considered summer down here.

If South Florida has hurricane issues in September and October, it won’t be as easy to reschedule as last year. None of the four teams the Dolphins host in the first half of the season share their bye week.

Here’s the Dolphins’ full 2018 schedule:

Week 1: Sun., Sept. 9, 1 p.m. vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 2: Sun., Sept. 16, 1 p.m. at New York Jets

Week 3: Sun., Sept. 23, 1 p.m. vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 4: Sun., Sept. 30, 1 p.m. at New England Patriots

Week 5: Sun., Oct. 7, 1 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 6: Sun., Oct. 14, 1 p.m. vs. Chicago Bears

Week 7: Sun., Oct. 21, 1 p.m. vs. Detroit Lions

Week 8: Thu., Oct. 25, 8:20 p.m. at Houston Texans

 

Week 9: Sun., Nov. 4, 1 p.m. vs. New York Jets

Week 10: Sun., Nov. 11, 1 p.m. at Green Bay Packers

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: Sun., Nov. 25, 1 p.m. at Indianapolis Colts

 

Week 13: Sun., Dec. 2, 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo Bills

Week 14: Sun., Dec. 9, 1 p.m. vs. New England Patriots

Week 15: Sun, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings

Week 16: Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 17: Sun., Dec. 30, 1 p.m. at Buffalo Bills

The Dolphins also have a tentative schedule for the preseason:

Week 1: Aug. 9-13 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2: Aug. 16-20 at Carolina Panthers
Week 3: Aug. 23-26 vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 4: Aug. 30 or 31 at Atlanta Falcons

[A look inside the Dolphins’ process for making draft picks and who makes the final call]

[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Miami Dolphins’ exodus continues with K Cody Parkey going to Bears

Cody Parkey, from Jupiter, is headed to the Bears on a new deal. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

The Dolphins are saying goodbye to the man who gave them arguably the best season by a kicker in their history. Cody Parkey is headed to the Bears, a source confirmed.

Parkey, from Jupiter, came to Miami a week before the start of last season and hit a 54-yard game-winner in his debut. That was just the beginning. He made 21 of 23 attempts on the season, missing only from 48 and 50 yards, and became the first kicker in documented NFL history to convert four onside kicks in a season.

He was also at the center of the best kickoff unit in the league, with Dolphins’ opponents getting an average starting field position of their own 23-yard line.

Miami is letting that talent walk out the door and will search for a kicker once again. Since the Dolphins cut Dan Carpenter in 2013, no kicker has lasted more than two seasons.

They drafted Caleb Sturgis in the fifth round that year and cut him in 2015 in favor of Andrew Franks. Franks was set to kick for a third season last year before the Browns put Parkey on waivers and the Dolphins claimed him.

His lone season in South Florida was a dream come true for a lifelong Dolphins fan. After his game-winner against the Chargers in the opener, he made the game-tying and game-winning field goals at Atlanta and a 39-yarder with 22 seconds left to beat the Jets.

Parkey, 26, was thought to be far better than Franks in every department, and it appeared the team had finally found a long-term answer at kicker. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi called him “an upgrade across the board” in December.

“He’s really been what we expected: He’s a consistent guy, he’s got a great approach, he has a professional approach,” he said. “He’s a very good self-evaluator and a lot of times, it might sound simple; but as a kicker, that’s a big thing. He’s got a great demeanor.
“He’s been consistent since he got into the league, and hopefully that continues. I’ve had a pleasure working with him. He’s been really good, not only in the field goal area but also on the kickoff area. We ask him to do a bunch of different things between deep kicks, short kicks, onside kicks. He’s been a great welcome addition.”

Known locally as The Jupiter Juggernaut, Parkey had an excellent career at Auburn before making the Eagles’ roster as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He made the Pro Bowl that year by hitting 32 of 36 field goals and setting the NFL’s rookie scoring record with 150 total points.

He was injured for most of the 2015 season and waived the following summer. Parkey got another chance in September 2016, when the Browns needed a kicker on short notice before their game against the Dolphins.

Parkey signed with the Browns the day before the game and made 3 of 6 field goals against the Dolphins. He missed a 46-yarder to win it at the end of regulation, and Miami won 30-24 in overtime.

[Ndamukong Suh was a luxury the Dolphins could never afford]

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[Miami Dolphins master the art of wasting their best draft picks]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase explains why he needs new OC Dowell Loggains

Adam Gase intends for Dowell Loggains to make his workload lighter. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS—It turns out being a mind reader is an essential qualification for being the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator.

Adam Gase didn’t necessarily go into the offseason thinking he needed help running the offense, his specialty, but when former co-worker Dowell Loggains became available, he saw a great benefit in adding someone who knew him so well.

“Dowell can really jump ahead,” Gase said at the NFL Combine today. “He seems to have a good knack for knowing what I’m thinking before saying anything. That’s always something that is a good thing to have when you’re a head coach and you have a lot of things you have to accomplish.”

The translation is that Loggains is familiar enough with Gase’s thought process that he can handle some things for him, making Gase more efficient in his broad responsibilities.

Gase also illustrated some of his rationale for the hire when discussing what first-year Lions coach Matt Patricia will encounter as he makes the transition from coordinator to the head job, as Gase did two years ago.

“The hardest thing in that first year is just managing your time, because you want to be involved in the side of the ball that you’ve been working on for your entire career,” he said. “You’re trying to manage your time between offense, defense and special teams. It depends on if you’re calling plays or calling a defense. That’s going to occupy more of your time. You’re more involved in personnel and more involved in so many decisions, and then you’re dealing with a lot of managerial-type things. You have to manage your time extremely well, because next thing you know, you’re not hitting things you need to hit.”

Gase will retain play-calling duty, which he has had since coming to the Dolphins in 2016, but Loggains will have a meaningful voice in the game plan. He is expected to have more input than former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen, who described himself as more of a sounding board for Gase.

Christensen is remaining on staff in an advisor role that doesn’t seem drastically different from what he was doing the last two years.
Loggains was the Bears’ quarterbacks coach when Gase was their offensive coordinator in 2015. He took over for Gase in Chicago and was the coordinator the last two seasons before being dismissed when the team fired coach John Fox.

Loggains, 37, was also the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2012 and ’13.

“Dowell knows how I think and we’re able to communicate very easily,” Gase said. There is just something about our connection that it works well, me and him.

“As soon as I heard that he was moving on and I knew that he was interviewing… I knew that was really the fit that I was looking for. Being back around him has been great for me… You’re around guys that you’ve worked with before and they know the system. It felt like he never left.”

Gase also brought in offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, who worked for him in 2016, and running backs coach Eric Studesville. Studesville was an assistant with Gase in Denver for five years.

The new staffers are charged with helping Gase fix an offense that has been “garbage” for most of his time running the team. The Dolphins were 29th in yards rushing last year, 18th in passing and 28th in points scored.

Loggains comes in from a Chicago offense that actually gained fewer yards and scored fewer points. His job could get even more difficult, too, if the Dolphins do not hang on to leading playmaker Jarvis Landry.

He’ll also be working with a rebuilt quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who has never been better than league-average but showed promise under Gase in 2016 before suffering a season-ending knee injury that season and another one in the ensuing training camp.

[The Dolphins claim they want Jarvis Landry back, but do they really?]

[The latest on where the Dolphins stand with RT Ja’Wuan James]

[Miami Dolphins DE Charles Harris gets a chance at a starting job in 2018]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Jay Cutler gives Dolphins dismal ending they should’ve seen coming

Jay Cutler wasn’t the only thing wrong with the Dolphins, but he was a big part of the problem. (Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—The laziest scriptwriter could’ve laid this out for the Dolphins the moment Jay Cutler arrived. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and it’ll all end in crushing disappointment.

That’s how it always ends with him.

The Broncos and Bears know it, and now Miami’s had a turn. Cutler wasn’t the only problem in this afternoon’s 24-16 loss to the Bills, but he was a total mess as the Dolphins’ already tenuous playoff hopes crumbled at New Era Field.

He opened the second half with an interception. He threw another one in Buffalo territory on the next drive. He also, fittingly, ended the game with one when the Dolphins (6-8) astoundingly gave themselves a chance to tie it in the final minute after their punter recovered an onside kick.

Cutler also fumbled four times, though he was courteous enough to recover each of those himself. When pressed, he admitted there was one play where he had trouble gripping the ball in the 25-degree winter weather.

Even Adam Gase, who has bowed up against Cutler criticism throughout the season, had a hard time defending this one.

“I have to go back and look at what was going on with that,” he said when asked about Cutler’s inaccuracy on a 28-for-49 day. “There was a couple of them where I thought we had some chances (if) he threw a good ball. I felt like we were on the same page. We just didn’t hit them.”

Coming off his most impressive performance of the season, Cutler could barely do anything right against Buffalo (8-6).

The one thing he deserves credit for is being accountable for those miscues. For Cutler’s part, he hasn’t passed the blame whatsoever during his maddening, one-and-done season as Dolphins quarterback.

“I’m not going to make excuses for the way I’ve played or the three turnovers,” he said. “I’m responsible for all three of them no matter what the situation was. I mean, we’ve talked about inconsistencies all year.”

All career, really. The turbulence South Florida endured over the last six days is nothing new to previous fanbases that placed their hopes in Smokin’ Jay.

There’s been precisely two wins this season when it felt like the Dolphins couldn’t have done it without Cutler and those were the rally in Atlanta and Monday night against New England. He was dynamite, thoroughly outgunning Tom Brady, and got everyone’s hopes up before knocking them down again Sunday.

In that respect, he fits into the franchise’s recent history quite well.

The Dolphins have done it this exact way three times now. They put themselves in the postseason mix with a big win over the Patriots late in 2013, then got shutout 19-0 at Buffalo. Same dance at the beginning of the next season, when they whipped everyone into a frenzy with a season-opening win against New England, they fell on their faces 29-10 in this stadium.

This season, Cutler started with a nice game to beat the Chargers, then went an entire month before summoning one half of viable quarterback play in the comeback at Atlanta. That was the start of a strong three-week stretch, followed immediately by a three-game nosedive.

Cutler was never going to be the hero Miami needed when it lost Ryan Tannehill for the season in training camp. He was the most sensible choice among available free agents, firstly because of his compatibility with Gase and his offensive system, but expecting him to be any different than he’s been throughout his 11 years in the league was illogical.

He was such a wreck in his final season with the Bears that nobody wanted him when he tested the market early this year. His flight to New York was cancelled, and the Jets curiously never made the effort to reschedule. They were happy to take Josh McCown instead, and he’s been significantly better.

The loss Buffalo drops Cutler’s record as a starter to 74-77 and it makes this 11 out of 12 years that he won’t see the playoffs.

The last two games are a formality as he prepares to call it a season, and probably a career. There have been some good moments, but just as many exasperating ones. His infamous stance at wide receiver in the Wildcat qualifies as both, perhaps.

But the end is a relief. This hasn’t been a fun ride for Dolphins fans and it’s hard to believe it’s been fun for Cutler, either, but he’d never say that.

“I think anybody that loses games gets frustrated,” he said. “I think it’s hard not to say that.

“I love playing with these guys. We have a great coaching staff. We have a lot of talent here, and it makes it fun to go to work. Even though we lost, the guys were out there fighting to the last play.”

[How the Dolphins’ 30-somethings are still getting it done–and what that means for the young guys]

[When Adam Gase gets upset with Jakeem Grant, he threatens to call his mom]

[Ndamukong Suh played every single snap in the win over New England]

[Have a look at our Dolphins-Bills photo gallery]

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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser | Version 2.0

Haason Reddick could be a good fit for the Dolphins at linebacker. (Getty Images)

The NFL Combine is behind us, and most players have moved on to pro days and individual team visits. With the draft about a month out now, here’s The Post’s second NFL mock draft for 2017:

Here’s a look at The Post’s first NFL mock draft for 2017:

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett remains by far the most coveted player in the draft, and picking up a ferocious defensive end is a major step for the Browns.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
The combination of no trade working out for Kirk Cousins and Trubisky continuing to impress solidifies him as the choice for San Francisco.

3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Bears suddenly feel “fired up” about their quarterback position, to use general manager Ryan Pace’s words, so look for them to take Adams and draft a quarterback later.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Any defensive players that come out of Alabama have instant credibility, and Allen will be a great addition to Jacksonville’s defensive line.

5. Tennessee Titans (via Rams): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Tennessee had one of the shakiest pass defenses in the NFL last season, and Lattimore would immediately improve its secondary.

6. New York Jets: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Jets will have a hard time passing on Leonard Fournette, but they need a quarterback. They are thought to be interested in Jay Cutler, but that’s a short-term answer at best.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Thomas would be a candidate to go No. 1 in many draft classes, so getting him seventh overall would be huge for the Chargers.

8. Carolina Panthers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette is probably the offensive player most ready to make an impact out of this year’s draft class, and Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is about to hit his dreaded 30th birthday.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Bengals could help in the pass rush, so even though Charlton is a minor reach at No. 9, that’s likely worth it to them if they can’t trade down a few spots.

10. Buffalo Bills: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Bills just watched top cornerback Stephon Gilmore bolt for the Patriots, making their secondary even more of a priority than it already was. Hooker has high potential.

11. New Orleans Saints: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Saints have added to their defense through free agency and have an opportunity to add an explosive threat in Williams.

12. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles): David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Browns still need a quarterback, but this isn’t a good spot to take one. Instead, they’ll go for Njoku with the thought that he’ll help anyone they line up at QB.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
While he’s a little on the short side for a corner, Jones helped himself significantly by running a 4.47 40-yard dash at the Combine.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Eagles won the coin toss with the Colts and took hold of the No. 14 pick, where they’ll bring in a dynamic runner in Cook.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Out of the mix for the top two running backs, Indianapolis will fortify its offensive line by added the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Bolles.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
The Gators were full of talented defensive players last season, and Tabor will be the first one off the board. He ran a disappointed 4.6 40-yard dash, but has great man-to-man skills.

17. Washington Redskins: Rueben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Foster was higher in The Post’s initial mock draft, but had a bizarre episode in Indianapolis that resulted in him being dismissed. He’ll slip, and Washington will be happy to scoop him up.

18. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Watch out for the Titans. They were on the cusp of the AFC playoff field last season and should land two great talents in the draft.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
If Tampa puts McDowell and Gerald McCoy in the middle of its defensive line, that’s a big problem for opposing offenses.

20. Denver Broncos: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Broncos have more pressing needs, including quarterback unless they make a move for Tony Romo, but Howard would be a great pickup.

21. Detroit Lions: John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross broke the Combine record by posting 4.22 in the 40-yard dash and could help the Lions as a return man, too.

22. Miami Dolphins: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
There might be slightly better players available here at defensive end, but the Dolphins need a starting caliber linebacker immediately.

23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Giants are in relatively good shape overall, and Ramczyk would solve short- and long-term issues.

24. Oakland Raiders: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Jones has excellent ball skills, and the Raiders could use a top-line cornerback out of this year’s draft.

25. Houston Texans: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
The Texans always need o-line help, and Lamp is very polished. He should be ready to start right away.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Seattle needs major offensive line help, but with the best linemen gone by now, they’ll have to wait until the later rounds. White fills a need as well.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
Easy pick for the Chiefs. McKinley is immensely talented and fits their scheme.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett had 32 sacks in three seasons and will be a welcome addition to Dallas’ defensive line.

29. Green Bay Packers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
The Packers would be downright irresponsible to take anyone but a cornerback in this slot. Fortunately for them, there’s an excellent option available.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis would be a quality pick this late in the first round and would help Pittsburgh manage the departure of Lawrence Timmons.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Brantley is a fringe first-round pick, but he’s what the Falcons need. Their defensive line is ready for a rebuild.

32. New Orleans Saints (via Patriots): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Peppers would add great talent and attitude to a New Orleans secondary that hasn’t been swaggering much lately.

[Michigan’s Jake Butt could be high value in a late pick for Miami Dolphins]

[A look at which 2016 Dolphins remain unsigned and which are possibilities to return]

[A few things to know about Dolphins free agent target Dontari Poe]

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Source: Miami Dolphins working on 3-year deal with guard Ted Larsen

Ted Larsen can fill one of Miami’s two vacant guard spots. (Getty Images)

Veteran offensive lineman Ted Larsen is closing in on a three-year deal to join the Dolphins, a source confirmed. The negotiations were first reported on by the Chicago Tribune.

Miami has two guard spots to fill after rearranging its offensive line, and Larsen started eight games at right guard for Chicago last season. He has also played center and left guard over a seven-year career that has included 65 career starts and stops in Arizona and Tampa Bay. He spent one year with the Bears and has never played for coach Adam Gase or offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen.
Continue reading “Source: Miami Dolphins working on 3-year deal with guard Ted Larsen”

Ex-Dolphins TE Dion Sims reportedly nearing deal with Chicago Bears

Dion Sims is close to leaving the Dolphins for a bigger opportunity in Chicago. (Getty Images)

Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Dion Sims can do more than he showed last year, but it looks like Miami won’t be the team to enjoy that success if he’s right.

NFL Network reported that Sims, an unrestricted free agent, is close to a deal with the Chicago Bears. His opportunity with the Dolphins was in question because of the soon-to-be-official trade for Julius Thomas, though Gase wanted to keep him and believed there would be a fit for him in the offense this season.

“Dion did exactly what we needed him to do,” he said last week. “I think we held him back a little bit and didn’t let him do some of the things that he probably could have done. We’ll see what goes on moving forward. I’ve got an idea of what we want to do… There’s a good plan in place.”

Sims led all Dolphins tight ends with 26 catches, 256 yards and four touchdown receptions last year. He made $1.8 million last season, and Spotrac estimated his market value at $24.5 million deal over five years.

[Kenny Stills says money didn’t drive his free agency process]

[Inside the Dolphins: Three good stories from Chris Grier reveal how they make their picks and why this time of year matters so much]

[Linebacker Koa Misi might actually be a factor this season]

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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser | Version 1.0

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett looks like a lock to go No. 1 overall. (Getty Images)
Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett looks like a lock to go No. 1 overall. (Getty Images)

With the Super Bowl over, draft season is officially underway. Teams have about two months to firm up their draft boards, and they’ll be heading for the Combine at the end of February.

Here’s a look at The Post’s first NFL mock draft for 2017:

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This team needs all kinds of help after going 1-15, and a game-changing pass rusher like Garrett is a smart use of the top pick.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
It’s been a while since the 49ers had quarterback stability, and this is their chance to get it with the consensus best passer in the draft.

3. Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
This is a shaky choice with such a valuable selection, which is why it fits Chicago’s approach to the draft so well.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Allen was arguably the best defensive player in college football last season and comes from a program every NFL team trusts.

5. Tennessee Titans (via Rams): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Titans are a team on the rise, but need to shore up the third-worst pass defense in the NFL. Picking up a pro-ready safety like Adams is a good start.

6. New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Many believe Fournette is talented enough to have the type of immediate impact Ezekiel Elliott had for the Cowboys as a rookie.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Hooker has some polishing to do, which makes him a questionable pick for a Chargers team that can’t afford to be too patient on a draft project, but his upside is too high to bypass.

8. Carolina Panthers: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Carolina suffered big time after losing Josh Norman and can get back on track in pass coverage by taking the best corner in the draft.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Bengals’ defense needs a talent infusion up front and would benefit from adding Foster to the likes of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills might reach for a quarterback here, but if not, Williams would be an explosive addition to an offense that needs it.

11. New Orleans Saints: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Saints keep trying to get by with an overwhelming offense and a virtually nonexistent defense, and that’s not working. Time to get some pass rush help.

12. Cleveland Browns (via Eagles): David Njoku, TE, Miami
It’ll be interesting to see which tight end ascends to the top of the rankings by April’s draft, but Njoku is the No. 1 target at the moment.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Arizona has nice pieces on offense, but they’re aging. After losing Michael Floyd last year and having uncertainty about Larry Fitzgerald’s long-term future, Davis is a sound pick.

*14. Indianapolis Colts: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook might be almost as good as Fournette, but teams don’t value running backs like they used to. Still, he’s too talented to skip past at this slot.

*14. Philadelphia Eagles (via Vikings): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett was an animal in college with 32 sacks for the Volunteers over the past three seasons.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
At 6-foot-6, 314 pounds, Ramczyk is believed to be the best offensive lineman in this class and could be an anchor for a decade in Baltimore.

17. Washington Redskins: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
One thing that kept the Redskins out of the playoffs last season was their mediocre pass coverage, and Peppers can help change that quickly.

18. Tennessee Titans: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Things change quickly in the draft process, and Howard is a candidate to rise to the top of his position group by April.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
This would be tremendous value for Tampa Bay because it fills a need and many analysts believe Charlton is on the fringe of being a top-10 pick.

20. Denver Broncos: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Kizer isn’t thought to be this high of a pick by most, but Denver has no clear quarterback of the future and should strongly consider making this move.

21. Detroit Lions: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor has the talent to go much higher than this, but some off-field red flags and questions about his consistency will hurt him.

22. Miami Dolphins: Jarrad Davis, OLB, Florida
The Dolphins need help at linebacker and tight end in this draft, and at this point Davis would be the best option at one of those positions.

23. New York Giants: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
McDowell’s stock has dropped a little since declaring for the draft after his junior season, and there are injury concerns.

24. Oakland Raiders: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Jones needs to bulk up a little bit for the NFL, but clearly has the speed, mentality and coverage skills to hang with top receivers.

25. Houston Texans: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Texans have needed help on the offensive line seemingly since they came into existence in 2002.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Garett Boles, OT, Utah
The Seahawks had the cheapest offensive line in the NFL last year and got what they paid for, so Boles would be an easy choice if he’s still here.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
McKinley is exactly the kind of pass-rushing outside linebacker the Chiefs like in their 3-4 defense.

28. Dallas Cowboys: John Ross, WR, Washington
Dallas doesn’t need to add much, so getting a quality young receiver for Dak Prescott to grow with makes sense.

29. Green Bay Packers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Green Bay had a dreadful season with cornerbacks and didn’t have any ranked in the top 50 by Pro Football Focus. This is an emergency pick.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
The Steelers have everything pretty well covered offensively, but would benefit from adding a presence like Harris in the front seven of their defense.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn helped recruit Brantley when he was the Gators’ defensive coordinator and could use him now as well.

32. New England Patriots: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Patriots got away with some underwhelming offensive line play last season, and Lamp looks ready to start immediately.

* – The Colts and Eagles are tied for the 14th draft slot, and the tie has yet to be broken

[The top 10 NFL teams with a chance to win Super Bowl LII]

[Bad news for the Dolphins: Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere]

[Reworking offensive line a top concern in Dolphins’ offseason]

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