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Miami Dolphins release veteran linebacker who spent much of training camp as a starter

Miami Dolphins release veteran linebacker who spent much of training camp as a starter

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After making him take a $4 million pay cut and slicing the final two years off Benardrick McKinney’s contract, the Miami Dolphins delivered the final kick in the pants to the veteran linebacker on Monday evening by releasing him.

McKinney’s release, first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, was a mild surprise, because he was a Pro Bowl player in 2018 and had some good moments defending the run early in training camp.

He was a starter at inside linebacker, alongside Jerome Baker, for the first three weeks of training camp, but struggled some in pass coverage.

Elandon Roberts – who came off the physically unable to perform list recently -supplanted McKinney as a starter last week, and the Dolphins ultimately decided to pay McKinney $750,000 to leave as opposed to $3 million to be a member of the team.

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As of Monday evening, the Dolphins still had Baker, Roberts, Sam Eguavoen and Duke Riley under contract at inside linebacker.

The last three of those players are options to play alongside Baker at middle linebacker, but Roberts appears the front-runner after starting 11 games last season and playing well in November and December.

He sustained a serious knee injury in Week 16 against the Las Vegas Raiders but is now fully recovered.

The Dolphins acquired McKinney from the Houston Texans in March in exchange for linebacker Shaq Lawson, who was traded to the New York Jets for a sixth-round pick on Sunday.

McKinney averaged 88 tackles per season over his six NFL seasons and arrived in Miami due $7 million in 2021, $8.75 million in 2022 and and $9 million in 2023. He ultimately will receive only $750,000 of that $24.8 million.

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That means the Dolphins have essentially nothing to show for three of their top free agent pickups in March 2020: Kyle Van Noy (released, now with the Patriots), Lawson and guard Ereck Flowers (traded to Washington for a seventh-round pick).

Per sources, the Dolphins on Monday also released center Matt Skura, running back Jordan Scarlett, cornerback Tino Ellis, defensive lineman Tyshun Render, safety Nate Holley, tight end/fullback Carl Tucker and receiver Khalil McClain.

Skura started 51 games at center for Baltimore but never seriously challenged Michael Deiter for the Dolphins’ starting center job.

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