After missing out on a couple of players last season in order to upgrade their pass rushing situation, it seems the Miami Dolphins have enough money to spend this time on a defensive lineman, possibly someone like Dwight Freeney, with Super Bowl experience but who won’t come at an expensive price.
The Dolphins had other issues they dealt with first – They gave Randy Starks the franchise tag, and gave wide receiver Brian Hartline the extension he was looking for. Next on the list? Possibly securing new deals for Jake Long, Sean Smith and trying to convince Matt Moore to remain with the team.
After that, with the money that’ll be left, is looking to help Starks in getting after quarterbacks. The Dolphins recorded 42 sacks last season, 7th in the NFL, but they’re looking to keep upgrading in that aspect, hopefully with a defensive end who won’t be costing too much.
Freeney has been released by the Indianapolis Colts after 11 seasons with the team. At 33, he’s no longer one of the best pass rushers in the business, and finished last season with only 5 sacks and 12 tackles; his lowest career numbers in a season without a serious injury, after he recorded double digit numbers in seven of his first nine seasons.
Still, the Colts played a lot of 3-4 last season, which isn’t exactly Freeney’s strong suit, playing as the outside linebacker in that formation. A move back to a 4-3 defense can do him a world of good, and being used as a situational pass-rusher instead of an every down kind of guy might give him a few extra years on the football field, and not look like the tired, no-gas-left-in-the-tank player he did for many moments last season.
Freeney isn’t the only veteran DE out there to sign, but John Abraham, recently released from the Atlanta Falcons, probably doesn’t defend well against the run as others do. Osi Umenyiora is probably a better option, but his price might deter the Dolphins from going after him.