Make it three elevations in three weeks for Miami Dolphins wide receiver River Cracraft.
The Dolphins announced Saturday they have elevated Cracraft and offensive tackle Larnel Coleman from the practice squad to the game-day roster for Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium.
NFL rules in 2022 allow a team to bring a practice-squad player up three times, so Miami uses its final free call-up on Cracraft and has one remaining for Coleman.
If the Dolphins want to promote the same player beyond the third occasion, they have to sign him to the active roster. Should the team then want to send him back to the practice squad, it would have to release him first, making him eligible to be claimed by other clubs.
“You make these decisions every week for what’s the best thing for the football team that week in the given matchups,” coach Mike McDaniel said on Friday about a potential looming decision with Cracraft. “If we get to that point where he’s lost all that eligibility, then we have to cross that bridge.”
Cracraft, who is in his sixth NFL season, mostly on practice squads of the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, is coming off a Week 2 outing where he scored his first NFL regular-season touchdown. The 2-yard score early in the fourth quarter at the Baltimore Ravens sparked a comeback from down 21 points to win, 42-38. Cracraft played 16 offensive snaps in Baltimore, many while Tyreek Hill was off the field dealing with cramps.
Elevating Coleman gives the Dolphins an eighth offensive lineman for Sunday against Buffalo as the team is currently only carrying seven on the active roster with starting right tackle Austin Jackson on injured reserve.
The fact Miami only elevated one lineman, like last week when Coleman got his first call up, might bode well for three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead and his availability to play. The veteran Armstead hasn’t practiced all week, nursing a toe injury, but coach Mike McDaniel expressed confidence on Friday in being able to play him without practice.
Reserve tackle Greg Little is already filling in for Jackson at right tackle. Bringing up Coleman gives the Dolphins a tackle available off the bench. Should a tackle go down on Sunday, Miami is likely to first insert Robert Jones at either guard spot while kicking out either left guard Liam Eichenberg or right guard Robert Hunt to the respective tackle position.
With Cracraft getting a third elevation and Coleman a second, the only other Dolphins practice-squad player that has received a game promotion has been safety Verone McKinley, called up for the opener against the New England Patriots.