Barry Jackson

Sources: Dolphins uncertain if starting safety will be able to play next season

Miami Dolphins Isa Abdul-Quddus fails to stop Cleveland Browns Gary Barnidge as he catches a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, Sept. 25, 2016.
Miami Dolphins Isa Abdul-Quddus fails to stop Cleveland Browns Gary Barnidge as he catches a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, Sept. 25, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Dolphins are preparing for the possibility that they might need to play next season without safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, according to multiple industry sources.

Abdul-Quddus sustained an injury in the neck/shoulder region in the team’s 15th game of the season at Buffalo and was placed on injured reserve.

At this point, there’s uncertainty whether he will be able to play. He hasn’t given up hopes of playing and continues to go through medical tests. Swelling in the region has been among the issues that have caused concern, according to an associate of his.

The Dolphins have a plan in place to cover themselves at safety in case Abdul-Quddus cannot play, but the details of that are not known.

Abdul-Quddus, 27, who signed a three-year contract last offseason, played well and seemed the ideal fit alongside Reshad Jones before Jones’ season-ending injury. Pro Football Focus rated Abdul-Quddus 24th among all safeties last season.

The need to cover themselves in case Abdul-Quddus cannot play means the Dolphins have yet another issue to address on defense in free agency and the draft.

The Dolphins plan to add defensive linemen and linebackers in the offseason — both are priorities — and also might add another corner.

Restricted free agent Michael Thomas, special teams ace Walt Aikens and developmental players Jordan Lucas and A.J. Hendy are the other safeties on the roster beyond Jones and Abdul-Quddus. Aikens didn’t play a defensive snap during the regular season last year.

Bacarri Rambo, who appeared in nine games and started five, is a free agent. The Dolphins signed Rambo after Jones’ season-ending rotator cuff injury that limited Jones to six games last season. Jones said he will be ready well before the start of next season.

Safety is a deep position in free agency, a group including Jacksonville’s John Cyprien, Dallas’ Barry Church, Indianapolis’ Mike Adams, San Diego’s Jahleel Addae, Arizona’s Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger and Houston’s Quintin Demps.

Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins coach, talks to the media about how the team grew over the season and became more unified as the season progressed.

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