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Dolphins say goodbye to pricey cornerback Maxwell

Courtesy: Sun-Sentinel

The Miami Dolphins released veteran cornerback Byron Maxwell and signed quarterback David Fales on Tuesday.

Fales, who was with the Dolphins for all of training camp, will serve as Matt Moore's backup until Jay Cutler recovers from the rib injury he suffered in Miami's, 31-28, win over the New York Jets last Sunday.

Maxwell had fallen out of favor in Miami the past couple of weeks after being benched in favor of rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersley a month ago.

The Dolphins are moving forward with Tankersley and Xavien Howard as the team's two starting boundary cornerbacks. Because Maxwell wasn't a solid special teams contributor, he wasn't active for the past four games.

“We had a lot of young guys and had to shake the roster spot, for now and down the road,” Gase said, referring to young defensive backs like Maurice Smith, Torry McTyer and Jordan Lucas, who could have been released to make room for Fales, then added to the Dolphins’ practice squad. “I don’t think anything went wrong. We have a lot of good players, a lot of guys we like.”

Maxwell was working with Miami's scout team until suffering a foot injury two weeks ago.

Granting Maxwell his release allows the cornerback Miami traded for in the 2016 offseason to sign with another team, and the Dolphins can actually save money if that happens because his $8.5 million salary will be offset by his new deal.

The Dolphins were expected to release Maxwell next offseason to avoid paying him his $10 million salary in 2018.

When the Dolphins traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire Maxwell and Kiko Alonso, they restructured Maxwell’s contract, guaranteeing him $5 million of his 2017 salary. That full allotment hasn't been paid yet. Since Maxwell is a vested veteran, Miami would owe him roughly $5.3 million for the rest of this year if he isn’t signed by another team.

With Maxwell gone, Miami will have to rely on Alterraun Verner as the primary backup for Howard, Tankersley and Bobby McCain, the team's starting nickel cornerback. However, Michael Thomas has experience playing the nickel position and could move inside allowing McCain to handle some boundary work.

As for the decision to sign Fales instead of promoting Brandon Doughty, who is in his second season as Miami’s practice squad quarterback, Gase insinuated that it came down to how long Miami would need an extra arm.

“We felt this is the best decision for the organization,” Gase said, indicating that Fales’ understanding of Miami’s offense exceeds Doughty’s at this point.

Fales produced a 99.6 passer rating in the four preseason games he played for Miami this summer, completing 27-of-54 passes for 424 yards and five touchdowns.

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