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The Miami Dolphins named eight team captains in 2020. Most of them are gone now.
Safety Bobby McCain was a captain, but he has been informed this week by the team he’s being cut.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was a captain, but he was cut in March.
Center Ted Karrass was a captain, but he was not re-signed as an unrestricted free agent.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was a captain, but he was not re-signed as an unrestricted free agent.
Safety Kavon Frazier was a captain, but he has not been re-signed as an unrestricted free agent.
That leaves safety Clayton Fejedelem, offensive lineman Jesse Davis and linebacker Elandon Roberts as the only captains returning from last season’s 10-6 Dolphins.
And this brings up a question:
How will the Dolphins fill their new leadership void?
The club has replaced the departed players on the roster and believes it has in several cases upgraded following the exchange of old players for new.
But that doesn’t address leadership at all.
Because maybe the new guys are leaders or develop into leaders. But that’s something that they will have to prove this offseason, in training camp, and in the preseason behind the Miami locker room’s closed doors.
So where will Miami’s new wave of captains, of leaders, come from?
▪ Cornerback Byron Jones: He’s a thoughtful, bright, hard-working, good player. He doesn’t mind being out front as he has proven with his community outreaches and the fact he was the team’s choice to announce one of its draft picks on national television during the NFL Draft.
▪ Linebacker Bernardrick McKinney: He was a captain for the Houston Texans last season so no reason he cannot take up that mantle in Miami. Coach Brian Flores has big plans for McKinney and has a good line of communication with the new player, so that greatly helps.
▪ Cornerback Xavien Howard: He’s the team’s best player. That automatically makes him a candidate. The question with Howard is he’s requesting a raise and there being some chances of contract drama with that.
▪ Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa: It’s time, young man. The offense is on his shoulders and the front office and coaching staff believe in him. Plus his position is a natural leadership position, and he has a good relationship with his teammates. He was kind of quiet last year, but he was also a rookie. Frankly, it might raise eyebrows if he’s not a captain in 2021.
▪ Linebacker Duke Riley: He joined the Eagles in 2019 and quickly asserted himself as an excellent special teams performer and team leader. And so he was a special teams captain for the Eagles last year. This makes too much sense.