Barry Jackson

Where the Dolphins stand on decisions about Gore’s future and Fitzpatrick’s position

Miami Dolphins RB Frank Gore becomes fourth leading rusher in NFL history

Miami Dolphins RB Frank Gore puts doubters aside as he becomes the fourth leading rusher in NFL history in the Fins victor over the Jets.
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Miami Dolphins RB Frank Gore puts doubters aside as he becomes the fourth leading rusher in NFL history in the Fins victor over the Jets.

The Dolphins haven’t conveyed to impending free agent running back Frank Gore whether they intend to re-sign him, but Gore intends to continue his career regardless, according to a source briefed on the situation.

According to a team source, the Dolphins have been weighing whether to keep Gore as they embark on a rebuilding project.

But Gore intends to keep playing whether the Dolphins retain him or not. Though the former UM standout and South Florida native loves playing for the Dolphins, he’s willing to play elsewhere if the Dolphins decide to move on.

Gore, who will turn 36 on May 14, started 14 games for the Dolphins and rushed for 722 yards (4.6 per carry). He missed the final two games with a sprained foot, an injury sustained in the Week 15 loss to Minnesota.

That injury snapped Gore’s streak of 126 consecutive games, which was the longest active streak among NFL running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

He also had started 122 games in a row, which was the longest streak for any NFL running back since Eddie George started 130 in a row from 1996 to 2004.

Gore’s 14,748 yards rushing place him fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, behind Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).

FITZPATRICK UPDATE

The Dolphins haven’t told Minkah Fitzpatrick whether he will play safety or cornerback this season.

But they have decided that they would prefer he be a full-time safety long-term, according to a team source.

Whether that happens in 2019 will depend on looming roster decisions, including what the team does with veteran incumbent safeties T.J. McDonald and Reshad Jones.

Fizpatrick told the Miami Herald in late December that he “would like to know by January or February” whether he would play safety or cornerback in 2019 after being used at both positions as a rookie.

Why? Because Fitzpatrick says his offseason training program and approach with his weight will be dictated by what position he plays.

“I lost 10 pounds playing cornerback because I moved faster, chasing guys around,” he said. “If I’m playing safety, maybe 8 to 10 pounds more [is better] so I have a little extra thud.”

Overall, Fitzpatrick allowed a catch rate of 56.5 percent and a passer rating of 69.0, which were excellent. Fizpatrick had a 74.3 passer rating against in his snaps at free safety, but most of his targets came when he was at slot cornerback or boundary cornerback.

Fitzpatrick was excellent at slot cornerback and pretty good at boundary cornerback. The Dolphins have Bobby McCain at slot corner and are expected to explore adding a cornerback to pair opposite Xavien Howard on the boundary unless they end up playing Fitzpatrick there again.

Cutting or trading McDonald would save only $1.4 million in cap space with $4.6 million in dead money, and $3.6 million of his $5 million salary is already guaranteed.

Jones is already guaranteed $11 million next season.

What’s more, if the Dolphins released Jones, that would save only $2 million against the 2019 cap and have $15.2 million in dead money in the scenario that would be friendliest to its 2019 cap. So that isn’t an appealing option.

Nevertheless, the Dolphins must decide whether to move on from one of their veteran safeties to create an opportunity for Fitzpatrick to play every down at safety.

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