‘It’s Going To Be Tough’ – Miami Dolphins Star Reacts to Significant Roster Moves

Pass rusher Jaelan Phillips reacts to the involuntary departure of Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah from the Miami Dolphins roster.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Until last week, Miami Dolphins pass rusher Jaelan Phillips only knew the NFL with Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavien Howard as his teammates.

But that changed Friday, when the word emerged that the Dolphins are cutting Ogbah and Howard to free up more than $30 million in 2024 salary cap space.

Howard was five years into his career when the Dolphins drafted Phillips in 2021. Ogbah led the Dolphins in sacks (9) during Phillips’ rookie season, just as he did the year before.

And while both 30-something players probably are a bit past their prime, there’s no doubt that their exit diminishes Miami’s defense.

Miami Dolphins’ Jaelan Phillips Talks Emmanuel Ogbah, Xavien Howard

“It’s going to be tough,” Phillips said here Saturday during the 14th annual Dolphins Cancer Challenge.

“Emmanuel was somebody who had me under his wings since I came in as a rookie. It’s really unfortunate to see him go, but the team’s going to rally around each other. Definitely going to miss my brother.

“Same thing with X. Those two were staples on this team for quite a while.”

They might also prove difficult to replace, even with a $30 million jump in salary cap in 2024.

Since Howard is being designated as a post-June 1 cut, the Dolphins still need to shed nearly $25 million in cap space in the next two weeks just to be compliant.

That means Miami still has the third-worst financial situation in football. Even when they do get cap compliant with additional roster moves (including restructures), they will have less purchasing power than one might expect because every new contract will rise with the roughly 13% increase in salary cap.

Instead of, say, $50 million annually, Tua Tagovailoa might now be looking for a contract extension that pays $55 million or more per year. That’s how inflation works.

So it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if the Dolphins’ 2024 roster looks a lot like Miami’s 2023 roster. The players they currently have under contract are for the most part good value, since for the most part the contracts they would sign as free agents this year would be bigger than the ones they signed under a smaller cap.

Put another way: For the Dolphins to take the next step in 2024, their returning players will need to find a way to play better than they did in 2023, particularly late in the season.

KEEP READING: Miami Dolphins News — Latest Injury Update Surrounding Jaelan Phillips

It’ll be up to the Dolphins’ coaching staff, including new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, to make that happen.

“He’s a great guy,” Phillips said of Weaver. “Really down to earth, family guy, and we’ve had some great conversations so far, just getting to know each other. Anytime you get a coach that’s a former player, you have that perspective that’s hard to have unless you really lace up the cleats.”

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