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NFL Free Agents 2017: Nick Williams - Tender, tag, walk

The NFL’s free agency period opens officially on Thursday, but the “legal tampering” period begins on Tuesday, which means we need to get through the rest of the “Re-sign, tag, walk” series of posts before things start happening. That means, we are going to add another post for today. You can check out this morning’s Dominique Jones post by clicking the link in the “related” box below.

This series breaks down each of the potential free agents coming from the Miami Dolphins’ roster, allowing you the opportunity to decide whether the team should bring back the player, tag him in order to make sure no one else signs him, or allow him to leave for a new club.

And, yes, I know the deadline to franchise tag a player passed while I was not around, but I am leaving it as an option to see what you would have done as the Dolphins’ GM.

We continue now with the last of the restricted free agents on the list of Miami Dolphins pending free agents. Restricted free agents are players the Dolphins can add compensation requirements from other teams should the player sign with a new team. This is done through placing a qualifying tender on the player.

Tenders are guaranteed one-year contracts, but are relatively low-salaried amounts for the season. Basically, restricted free agents are able to move to a new club like an unrestricted free agent, but there is compensation that may restrict a new club from making an offer.

NFL free agency begins at 4pm ET on March 9. Anyone who is not under contract for the 2017 season will be able to begin signing with new teams - barring any restricted free agent tenders that have been placed on players with less than four years of service time in the league. Over the next few weeks, teams all across the league will be trying to re-sign their own players to new contracts in an effort to prevent players they want to keep from testing the open market.

The Dolphins have 20 players about whom they need to make decisions. We have been asking you as fans of the team to provide your thoughts on what the Dolphins should do for each of their upcoming free agents. We break down the history of the player, what they did for the team in 2016, the terms of their expiring contract, the estimated value for the franchise tag, and then as you to vote on the decision the team should make.

The amounts for each tender for 2017 have been set at $3.91 million for the first-round tender, $2.746 million for the second-round tender, and $1.797 million for the low/original round tender. (via @FieldYates)

Time to take a look at defensive tackle Nick Williams.

Player history

Williams, who is listed on the Dolphins’ roster as Nick, but is usually Nicholas whenever you are reading about him, entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Samford in 2013. He spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list, then was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad in 2014. The Kansas City Chiefs poached Williams in late 2014, with him appearing in two games that season, then 14 in 2015. He started last season with the Chiefs, appearing in five games before being released.

2016 Season

Miami signed Williams a day after the Chiefs released him, adding defensive line depth, both at defensive end and defensive tackle. He played primarily as a rotational option for the team, appearing in five games, with two recorded tackles.


Williams’ expiring contract is a one-year, $600,000 contract (via The salary cap number was prorated to $388,235 for the year.

Franchise tag

The franchise tag is not a reasonable option for a restricted free agent.

The Phinsider thoughts

Williams provided solid depth option for Miami, with the flexibility to play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Guaranteeing his contract might be the sticking point in whether or not to tender him. Re-signing him as a free agent might be the easier move, but the Dolphins do need depth and could offer him a low-tender so they at least get a first right of refusal option for him.

Fan vote

What should the Dolphins do with Williams? Vote below and feel free to discuss in the comments.

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