If the Miami Dolphins are hoping to find some diamonds in the rough this spring, those odds just got a little bit longer. The 2021 NFL Draft, which takes place next week, will provide the team with an influx in talent and secure another annual draft class for Miami to continue to reshape their roster with. The team will also have the chance to sign undrafted free agents — players who slip through the cracks and find themselves available after the final picks are made.
But if the Dolphins are looking to kick the tires elsewhere with tryouts? Those options and opportunities will be limited. This news comes as the NFL provides notice to all 32 NFL clubs that tryouts will be limited to five per team at rookie minicamps — a measure taken with COVID-19 protocols and safety in mind.
This will be the second consecutive offseason cycle that undrafted rookies and street free agents are hindered by the pandemic. Last season’s impact was obvious: everything teams did was virtual until the opening of training camp. As the league wrestled with the new reality brought by COVID-19, all 32 teams took as conservative of an approach as possible.
There’s some signs and glimpses of a return to normal. But it will be phased and incremental. The league mandate on tryout restrictions is a good example. Last year, no opportunities were available to make a lasting impression via tryout during the spring, ass there were no minicamps at all. This year? Teams will be afforded a handful of slots to fill. Next year? Who knows. But hopefully it looks more and more like the status quo that so many were acclimated to before the pandemic.