The Miami Dolphins made a big splash up front last night with the news that offensive lineman DJ Fluker was South Beach bound — the team has not confirmed the signing as of late last night but both Fluker and his agent have confirmed the agreement on social media. But the Fluker deal wasn’t the only business the Dolphins were able to attend to on Monday as the team enters their last full week ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft at the end of the month.
Miami, according to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, managed to get a deal signed with exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) Nik Needham, ensuring that the former undrafted free agent defensive back will be back with the team for a third season after serving as Miami’s primary nickel throughout each of his first two years with the Dolphins.
Exclusive-rights free agent signings: Trystan Colon-Castillo, Kristian Welch (Ravens), Matt Nelson (Lions), Dare Ogunbowale (Jaguars), Nik Needham (Dolphins), Jeff Smith (Jets), Bryan Mone (Seahawks)
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 19, 2021
Needham, who has logged 4 interceptions and 18 career passes defensed throughout his first 28 games with the Dolphins, has been a productive but erratic presence on the field. Having over 1,350 defensive snaps over the last two seasons, Needham is undeniably a big presence in the secondary and Miami will look to push him into added growth and development after signing veteran cornerback Justin Coleman to the roster this offseason to contend for the nickel role. With 12 penalties credited over the last two seasons, Needham has been giving opposing teams first downs with mishaps — an issue that must be amended sooner rather than later.
Needham absolutely has a place in this Dolphins’ secondary. The team clearly trusts him to a certain degree to perform — but getting less panic with the ball in the air and trusting his technique will go a long way in seeing that trust rewarded on an annual, weekly and quarterly basis.