Dolphins release Ogbah, inform Howard that he will be a post-June 1 cap casualty

Miami will have a need for edge rushers and cornerbacks this offseason. Look for Miami to go after free agents and utilize the draft to bolster the trenches and the defensive backfield. IOL Connor Williams and Robert Hunt could also leave via free agency.

Xavien Howard shown here against the Dallas Cowboys guarding CeeDee Lamb, will not be returning to Miami as he was informed that he will be trimmed from the roster on or after June 1 due to salary cap constraints.
Xavien Howard shown here against the Dallas Cowboys guarding CeeDee Lamb, will not be returning to Miami as he was informed that he will be trimmed from the roster on or after June 1 due to salary cap constraints. / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins said goodbye to familiar faces on Friday as the team announced that it waived Emmanuel Ogbah and that it would release former Pro Bowl corner back Xavien Howard after June 1. Howard is free to take his wares to another team in the league.

This means that two more starters for the Dolphins will disappear and they have that even more holes now that they are going to have to plug in free agency and the NFL Draft.

By releasing Ogbah, the Dolphins will save $13.7 million in cap space. With Howard's departure after June 1, Miami will save another cool $18 million in cap space.

For a team that started the day about $40 million over the newly-minted salary cap number of $255 million for the 2024 season, these cost cutting measures help the team free up space to sign Tua Tagovailoa and Christian WIlkins to long-term extensions.

Look for the Dolphins to restructure some additional contracts and free up money to be players in free agency.

Ogbah was the recipient of a four-year, $65 million contract in 2022, but was never able to duplicate the back-to-back nine sack seasons that he had in 2020 and 2021, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Dolphins now face playing without their top-four edge rushers to start the season. That means that they will have to look for replacements either in free agency or via the NFL Draft. Ogbah was just released and it is extremely possible that Andrew Van Ginkel could leave via free agency. Rumor has it that he might go to Philadelphia to reunite with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio who helped make AVG a household name last season when Phillips went down with a torn Achilles tendon.

Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips are both expected to start the season on the PUP list from serious injuries that they sustained last season.

Super agent Drew Rosenhaus also signaled that this might be the end of the line for center Connor Williams in Miami. The former starting center is an unrestricted free agent and is also coming off of a season-ending injury. Rosenhaus said that Williams might wait until he is completely healed to sign a contract and test the waters and see what kind of offers he gets once healthy.

MIami will not stand pat and wait for Williams to either make a decision or come back from his injury. I look for the Dolphins to draft a starting center in the draft, and maybe go after Jackson Powers-Johnson from Oregon, who can start at center or contribute at either guard position.

The versatile athlete could be Miami's top pick in 2024 as it looks to rebuild its offensive line. Look for Miami to replace its entire starting interior offensive line, center, and both guard positions, either in free agency or through the draft. The team could also lose starting right guard Robert Hunt, who is an unrestricted free agent. As much as Miami would like to have him back, it might not be able to compete with free agency-type offers that Hunt is expected to garner.

Rosenhaus also represents Van Ginkel, who will undoubtedly receive significant offers after blossoming on the edge after Phillips went down in mid season. However Rosenhaus did say that the Dolphins and Van Ginkel have expressed on interest in having the player return this season. He is also on the mend as he suffered a catastrophic knee injury against Buffalo in the season finale last season.

By designating Howard a post June 1 casualty, the team will maximize its savings under the cap. Miami will eat $7.4 million in dead money this season with more money next season.

The former second-round pick will go down as one of the best Dolphins to ever play the position was an All-Pro in 2020, but could never regain that form that made him one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Howard had 10 interceptions and made the Pro Bowl, but his play steadily declined once he got a new contract extension in 2021. He held out for a new contract and did not live up to it with his play. He was badly beaten by the opposing team's top receivers.

Fellow corner Jalen Ramsey took to the platform formerly known as Twitter to announce his love and affinity for his fellow defensive backfield mate. He also took a shot Fangio for not utilizing the two players to their fullest last season.

Look for Howard to sign a cap-friendly deal somewhere in the league as he is still a serviceable corner, but is no longer the powerhouse that he once was.