Dolphins continue to trim payroll and gut defense in the process, more cuts lie ahead

Crossen and Baker cut in cost cutting moves, leaves tremendous holes on defense

Jerome Baker, shown here last season in a game at Philadelphia, was waived by the Dolphins on Tuesday.
Jerome Baker, shown here last season in a game at Philadelphia, was waived by the Dolphins on Tuesday. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins trimmed approximately $13 million in cap space by waiving another defensive starter and a key member of the secondary Tuesday afternoon

It was moving day at the Miami Dolphins practice facility on Tuesday as they waived two players, with more lurking in the weeds. The Grim Reaper came calling for two veterans as the Dolphins attempt to relieve themselves of cap burden so that they can acquire new talent in free agency, which starts next week.

The Dolphins said goodbye to popular linebacker Jerome Baker on Tuesday and in the process saved $9.8 million in cap space. They saved an additional $3 million by cutting cornerback Keion Crossen.

Miami's secondary will look a lot different next season as general manager Chris Grier and defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will be looking for players who have cap-friendly contracts. Expect more undrafted free agents to make the club in 2024 as the Dolphins' scouts clearly have their work cut out for them with only six draft choices.

Crossen was expendable due to his cap number and became a casualty. He can be replaced in free agency or in the draft for less money. Crossen becomes the second member of the secondary to be cut in recent days as it was previously announced that Xavien Howard would be a post June 1 cap casualty. The two starting safeties Brandon Jones and DeShon Elliot are both unrestricted free agents and are likely to be playing somewhere else next season.

Baker is the cut that the Dolphins needed to make, but the one that hurts the most. Baker, a third-round selection in the 2018 draft started 82 of 94 games that he participated in. The Dolphins lose a player that can not only put pressure on the passer, but also drops into pass coverage extremely well. Baker suffered a knee injury against Washington last season, only to return against Buffalo where he broke his hand.

Next up on the chopping block could be linebacker Duke Riley who will count for $2.5 million against the cap in 2024. He could be replaced by someone younger and cheaper. Miami still must trim approximately $18 million in cap space to participate in free agency and sign their six draft choices.

The Dolphins could save another $3.5 million by waiving backup quarterback Mike White, who has not lived up to his expectations as the Fish continue to groom Skylar Thompson for the number two role behind Tua Tagovailoa.

Nov 19, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Mike White (14) warms up prior to a game last season.
Nov 19, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Mike White (14) warms up prior to a game last season. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami could also look to add a quarterback during the draft process. Speaking of Tagovailoa the Dolphins will look to offer him an extension with an average annual value of approximately $50 million per season. That cap space has to come from somewhere.

I also look for the crowded running back room to get less crowded as the Dolphins say goodbye to running back Jeff WIlson, Jr. as he and his $2,89 million cap number have become expendable due to the emergence of De'Von Achane and fellow rookie Chris Brooks.

Adam Schefter is reporting that the Dolphins and Baker were working on a new restructured contract, but could not complete it. Whether the two sides can work on a new contract during the free agency process remains to be seen. Baker is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who represents many players on the Dolphins and has a good working relationship with Grier.

The Dolphins potentially lose two more starters via free agency as they opted not to give defensive tackle Christian Wilkins the franchise tag and edge rusher/outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel is an unrestricted free agent who is rumored to be linked to being reunited with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in Philadelphia. Van Ginkel is another client of Rosenhaus Sports and the agent has gone on record that he will make every effort to keep AVG in Miami.

The Dolphins also announced that they signed journeyman defensive tackle Isaiah Mack, who has bounced around the league and is considered a street a free agent. Get to know him now because once the final cuts are made in August, I do not anticipate him being around.

According to ESPN, the Dolphins hosted former Florida International standout Jonnu Smith on a visit Tuesday, and are negotiating contract terms with the tight end who has started 78 games in his seven seasons in the NFL.

From Omar Kelly, of, Smith caught 50 of the 70 passes thrown his way last season in Atlanta, and turned those receptions into a career-high 583 yards and three touchdowns.