It raised eyebrows when Dan Carpenter struggled last season. Then the Dolphins drafted kicker Caleb Sturgis out of the University of Florida in the fifth round and that led to whispers. And those whispers got louder when Sturgis went nuts the other night in the preseason game against Jacksonville, connecting on a 58-yard field goal and booming all six of his kickoffs into the end zone.
Well, today the move that has been coming for months happened as the Dolphins terminated the contract of Carpenter and, in so doing, awarded the kicking job to Sturgis.
"On behalf of the Miami Dolphins, I would like to thank Dan for his contributions he has made as a member of the organization," GM Jeff Ireland said in a statement.
"For the past five years seasons Dan has been a tireless worker on the field while devoting countless hours of his time off the field to the beterment of the South Florida community. He has been a productive player and an outstanding citizen and we wish him and his wife Kaela all the best."
All the service Carpenter gave the Dolphins ultimately was overshadowed by two factors:
1. Sturgis was simply better this preseason, connecting on a higher percentage of long field goals than Carpenter.
2. Cutting Carpenter means a significant cap savings. The Dolphins save $2.675 million by cutting Carpenter in the final year of his contract although they will carry $337,500 in dead money as a result.
Sturgis will cost the Dolphins $441,140 against the cap.
So the actual cap savings of keeping Sturgis over Carpenter is $1,896,360.
Carpenter connected on 22 of 27 kicks in 2012 for a success percentage of 81.5, which is the second-lowest mark of his career and marked his second disappointing season since 2010.
It's unclear if Carpenter requested his release but the Dolphins apparently did right by letting him go this early. It gives the five-year veteran a better chance to get picked up by another team. On the other hand, Carpenter's wife is expected to give birth today or tomorrow. So that timing is interesting.
Among the team looking for kickers?
The Cleveland Browns ... Miami's opponent in the regular-season opener.