The Dolphins had defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick practice on Friday — hours after his trade request became public — and he likely will be needed for an even more significant role Sunday than he had in Miami’s opener.
With Reshad Jones missing a third consecutive practice with an ankle injury, Fitzpatrick likely will be needed primarily at safety in Sunday’s game against the Patriots, opposite Bobby McCain.
[UPDATE: Brian Flores said Fitzpatrick will have a significant role Sunday. He declined to say if Fitzpatrick would be traded and Fitzpatrick declined to discuss the matter.]
Last Sunday, the Dolphins gave 59 defensive snaps to McCain, 49 to Fitzpatrick, 22 to Jones, 18 to Walt Aikens and 16 to Steven Parker. That group likely will lose Jones this week.
Elsewhere in the secondary, the Dolphins will have Xavien Howard and Eric Rowe on the boundary to defend Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown (if Brown plays), and former Patriots practice squad player Jomal Wiltz potentially playing in the slot, against Julian Edelman. Fitzpatrick also could be used some on Edelman.
Miami also has two other young, inexperienced cornerbacks on the roster: Chris Lammons and Ken Webster, as well as veteran Johnson Bademosi, who has mostly been a backup in his career.
Fitzpatrick has asked for a trade and the Dolphins have given his representation permission to seek one. But a trade was not imminent as of Friday morning, and the Dolphins — barring a change of heart — would be willing to trade him only for high value in return, according to sources.
Fitzpatrick, selected 11th in the 2018 draft, hasn’t been told what the Dolphins would accept for him, according to a source.
Fitzpatrick is upset about how he has been used this season. He was required to learn six positions during the offseason, and he told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that he was told his role will change every week.
Asked twice Wednesday if he has peace of mind about how Miami plans to use him, he said each time: “Just got to do my job.”
Fitzpatrick said Wednesday afternoon that he had not requested a trade as of that point, but that changed Thursday.
Fitzpatrick was used just 49 of Miami’s 77 defensive snaps in the opener and met with coach Brian Flores at least twice this week to discuss his role. Fitzpatrick played only 12 snaps Sunday at slot cornerback, the position where he was statistically best in the league last season.
There is considerable interest in Fitzpatrick around the league, according to a source, but it remains to be seen if it’s at the value Miami seeks.
Besides Jones, receiver Albert Wilson (calf) also missed practice Friday. Wilson’s injury could leave Miami with four receivers Sunday: DeVante Parker, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant and Preston Williams. Isaiah Ford and T.J. Rahming are the two receivers on Miami’s practice squad.